Applecross Chardonnay 2016 offer
David Bicknell is an exceptionally gifted winemaker who exemplifies all that is admirable about the movers and shakers of Australia's wine artisans. JAMES HALLIDAY
Bicknell's chardonnays are beautifully composed, made with hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed grapes, minimally handled, and employing extended lees maturation and careful oak handling. They have restrained stone-fruit flavours, bright acidity and moderate alcohol with subtle savouriness, impressive depth and texture. TONI PATERSON MW
Wine-lovers will certainly find lots to love in a bottle of Applecross Chardonnay, but dedicated terroiristes should seek it out. The label is a labour of love for viticulturist Nicky Harris and her husband and winemaking legend, David Bicknell. Many of you will no doubt be familiar with Dave, he is architect behind Oakridge's ascension in the wine-world which lead to him being awarded Wine Maker of the year in 2017 by Gourmet Traveller WINE
Whilst he steers that ship, he also produces Applecross, a tiny project that focusses this husband and wife teams joint skills into a single 2.5 hectare vineyard. Of this, 1 hectare is planted to chardonnay, the remainder to Pinot Noir. It is one of the coldest and highest sites in the Yarra Valley, sitting between 332-363m above sea level, where it snows each winter. Before their tenure the fruit from this vineyard was used exclusively for sparkling wine. Dave & Nicky took over the lease in 2014, retraining the steep vineyards to suit their desire to express the site through quality table wines.
It's illuminating to talk to Dave about Applecross. In relation to the Chardonnay he cites the two most important tasks for him to to get right is when to pick and pressing the fruit. The grapes are whole bunch pressed quite firmly into 500 litre puncheons, choosing to cut it when the must is 'al dente'. The solids adding to the overall texture and feel of the finished product. Apart from some sulphur, there are no other additions to the wine.
Given the site, this wine maintains that cool-climate feel in what is generally a warm year for the valley. Crisp green-apple and fresh herbs drive it, backed by creamy-leesy texture and fresh pink-grapefruit. Leave it in the glass and it will reward with volume and clarity.