.. it was the worst of years. I'm not referring to COVID, the war in Europe, the global economic crisis or the rise of autocracy. And I have been forbidden on pain of marital termination with extreme prejudice to breathe a word about the ship of fools pretending to govern Britaly, as The Economist is now calling the UK. I'm just exercising every Pom's birthright and whingeing about the weather. First a summer of bushfires, then three La Ninas in a row?
OK, let's get the worst bit over. 2020 had been hot, and sinisterly smoky. For all my early hopes the wine we made is Not Good Enough to be Terrible. We have decided not to release it. I toyed with a cadet label:
but the other members of the Coop said it was a stupid idea.
2021 was a wet year but the grapes didn't seem to mind and we're preparing to bottle what's looking like a pretty good vintage. But as the rain dripped on into 2022 I was getting nervous. We'd planted a couple of acres of Chardonnay for our neighbours, Marion and Grant McRostie and Jules and Russ Bryant, in 2019. This was to be our first crop. I didn't want to let them down.
I'd made Chardonnay before from grapes we'd bought, but I'd never been completely happy with it. This time there could be no excuses. Ripening was slow towards the end. In the third week in March we picked a bit under a tonne at 12.5% sugar, crushed whole bunches and cold settled the juice before barrel fermenting with no malo in two French barriques. All went well, though with the new barrels there was the constant risk of over-doing the oak and I had to keep a sharp eye on the wine's progress. Come bottling, I was quietly pleased with it, but it was not until we received this from James Halliday I dared to say it.
2022 Mount Terrible Chardonnay
This inaugural release is a triumph. Its purity, focus and length hasn't been achieved by cutting down every facet of the wine. It has all the inicia of cool-grown chardonnay, starting quietly but accelerating continuously to the intense, classic white peach and grapefruit duo on the long palate and lingering, fresh aftertaste. Only 45 dozen produced. 12.7% alc, screwcap. 97 points, drink to 2037.
As Sydney Carton might have said (if they hadn't chopped his head off): "It is a far, far better Chardonnay than I have ever made before." I only wish we had more of it. For purchase details for the Chardonnay and our most recent Pinot (95 pts) and Rose (94 pts)
please see www.mountterriblewines.com.au In a sneaky attempt to disguise the loss of our 2020 and eke out our dwindling supplies of the other vintages, in addition to the usual cases and half-cases, we have started offering pairs of wines in various combinations in wooden gift boxes.
FYI Mt Buggery (1,598 m) is real. Located NE of Jamieson in the Alpine National Park it was named in 1934 by a bushwalker, either because its terrain is difficult, or as a result of an encounter he had up there.