2008 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay, Yarra Valley/Tasmania. 13.1%

Eileen Hardy Chardonnay

Was I An ABC Wine Drinker?

In truth I think I still am (anything but Chardonnay), but occasionally you get to drink something like the 2008 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay that changes your thinking.

There was a great deal of hype about this wine at release; 97 points from Halliday and other rave reviews raised my wine antennae. So I duly purchased some (at more $ than Leeuwin Estate Art Series).

I have to say that when we opened the first bottle a couple of years ago we were slightly underwhelmed, it was just so understated, so elegant, though perhaps with more expertise we might have understood the secrets that awaited below the surface. So I left the rest in the cellar to see what time might do.

In the 2011 edition of the Australian Wine Companion James Halliday writes:

“Can fairly be said to represent the state of the art of Chardonnay in Australia today, without in any way diminishing the stature of single-vineyard wines such as Leeuwin Estate and Giaconda; has exceptional focus and intensity without sacrificing elegance; fruit, oak and acidity are seamless, the palate of extreme length. Three trophies Sydney Wine Show 2010. Screwcap, 13.1%. 97 pts.”

The wine has now substantially developed since we last tasted, and perhaps again shows why I continue to trust Halliday’s ratings. The colour has deepened, the flavours intensified, now showing toasty, buttery complexity, grilled cashews and ripe stone fruit. That all sounds like full-on flavour, but it is not; it still retains an aura of elegance, under which lies it’s concentration and power. The finish is exceptionally long and carries all the flavours with it down the aisle. A compelling wine that we will now be looking for the mildest excuse to revisit.

What dish to serve with such a wine – I really do not know, and does it matter?

However, we had our minds made up to try a Kylie Kwong dish of steamed white fish with Chinese wine, ginger, soy, sesame, Chinese cabbage and a few other surprises. It was a completely captivating dish, and seemed to team up with the wine very well, with no party looking to overpower the other.

But much as we loved the food, we could not stop talking about the wine, the remaining bottles appear to have little chance of making it far into 2014.

If any of my wine readers have a special Chardonnay they would like to compare, I would be very happy to look at it against this great Australian wine.

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