An evolution of Chardonnay

19 March, 2020 by Deborah Jackson

In the March issue of National Liquor News, our wine tasting panel sipped and swirled their way through a selection of Chardonnay. They were pleasantly surprised by the evolution of Chardonnay since the 1990s, finding some lovely and well-made wines from right around Australia.

As you can see, our judges comments were overwhelmingly positive, and speak highly of the quality of wines being produced out of the 2018/2019 vintages.


“The wines have some lovely layers. Cool climate is where Chardonnay seems to be finding its home.” – Christine Ricketts

“The commercial wines showed restraint and balance and there were some great value / well-made wines in the under $15 bracket.” – Renee Foster

“The Adelaide Hills and Western Australian wines were the strongest.” – Mark Bradstreet

“Most of the Chardonnay I tasted was in a lighter more modern style. It has been fascinating watching the evolution of style in Australia since the 90s. Even the heavy styles are more elegant and refined.” – Tom Lynar

“On the whole, Australian Chardonnay is in a good spot currently – the blousy 90s were overcorrected to lean and mean, austere offerings. But the current trend of more generous fruit held in check by good acidity, when done well can be a real crowd pleaser for all palates.” – David Wright

“Strong varietal characteristics. Many wines lacked strong acidity making them more suited to drink now with subtle flavoured foods.” – Nigel Burton

Here are some of the highest scoring Chardonnays from the March Wine Tasting Review.



2017 Pooles Rock Premiere Chardonnay (95 points)

Region: Hunter Valley

Distributed by: Agnew Wines

“Great mouthfeel, very pleasant and layered.” – Christine Ricketts




2018 Rob Dolan White Label Chardonnay (95 points)

Region: Yarra Valley

Distributed by: Nelson Wine Company

“Gold in colour with a big buttery nose. Weighty mouthfeel with well-balanced fruit and a medium finish.” – Emma Fogarty





2019 Brokenwood Chardonnay (94 points)

Region: Beechworth

Distributed by: Samuel Smith & Son

“Intense nose, bold tropical fruits, good balancing acid, excellent depth and length.” – Renee Foster




2018 Giesen Estate Chardonnay (92 points)

Region: Hawkes Bay

Distributed by: Oatley Fine Wine Merchants

“Creamy, green apple skin, ruby apples, nashi pears and a subtle hint of oak. Lovely firm but elegant finish.” – Andy Milne




2018 Devil’s Lair Margaret River Chardonnay (95 points)

Region: Margaret River

Distributed by: Treasury Wine Estates

“Mineral and flinty but balanced with weight and texture.” – Andy Milne




2017 Brockenchack Charli Jaye Chardonnay (91 points)

Region: Eden Valley

Distributed by: Brockenchack Wines

“Cheesecake on the nose. Very unique flavours, palate is very bright and acidic.” – Emma Fogarty



2018 Taylors Jaraman Chardonnay (94 points)

Region: Clare Valley / Margaret River

Distributed by: Taylors Wines

“Nice acid balance, fruity peach, pear, creamy cashews, balanced and lingering.” – Christine Ricketts



2018 Patritti Merchant Chardonnay (89 points)

Region: Adelaide Hills

Distributed by: Vinsight (NSW/ACT); Put a Cork in it (VIC); Wine Solutions Australia (SA); Patritti (Rest of Aus)

“Rich nose, robust yet balanced flavours. This one is for the old school Chardonnay drinker.” – Mark Bradstreet

The full National Liquor News wine tasting review can be viewed here.