A Rodda 2019 Offer

Adrian Rodda has been winemaking since 1998, originally working with David Bicknell at Oakridge. He was involved in the development of the superb Oakridge 864 Chardonnay, his final contribution to 864 coming in 2009. At the start of 2010 he and wife Christie, a doctor, moved to Beechworth and co-lease Smiths Vineyard with Mark Walpole of Fighting Gully Road. Smiths Vineyard, planted to chardonnay in 1978, is a veritable jewel. More recently the two have set up their wineries in the historic Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum, a win on all fronts. JAMES HALLIDAY’S WINE COMPANION

This has become one of my favourite releases every year now and certainly one of the most anticipated from our customers. We have been working with Adrian’s wines since his first release when he came in to the store to show us his wines, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, so excited to be out and about (this may be a slight misrepresentation of the truth).

In the years since Adrian has firmly cemented himself as one of this country’s top Chardonnay producers. The press and reviews keep mounting up. He won the most coveted prize for the variety in Australia with his 2017, the James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge which I think really drove the point home to a lot of consumers and, I think, demonstrated what we had been saying for years, Adrian is a master of his craft.

While his story is probably pretty well known by a lot of our customers I think it is worth, as quickly as I can, reiterating it. Adrian worked alongside Dave Bicknell at Oakridge where he helped shape the wines they make there today. As I have said many times before I think the 864 Chard is the best in the country and that is, in no small part, due to Adrian’s input. Today he is based out of Beechworth where he has teamed up with one of Australia’s most renowned viticulturalists to form a team that has become something of a powerhouse in terms of quality.

He releases three individual Chardonnays each year, from three difference regions and each has its own unique quality and Adrian carefully coaxes out that vineyard imprint in every vintage. While it is inevitable that someone will ask which wine is the best or which is my favourite, my answer this year is that I don’t have one. In 2019 Adrian has released a universally great bracket of whites and the differences are site specific not qualitative.

The wine that is most overlooked, his newest addition, is the high altitude Baxendale vineyard. This year it once again shows this wonderful red apple character and, what I am coming to realise is directly related to that vineyard, this almost waxy note and texture. It is the most well rounded and easy natured of the three.

Smiths, the vineyard planted in 1979 in Beechworth and the source of some of its best Chardonnay fruit, is the densest and most inherently powerful. Here the wafts of matchstick and smoky elements are all bundled up in to an almost muscular expression of Chardonnay. It is outstanding.

The Willow Lake, one of my favourite Yarra Vineyards, is still youthfully imploded with a sense of tension and built up power. It is the least immediately pleasurable of the three but I also think that, given time, will be the most complete of the bunch.

Across the range I would say that, once again, Adrian has delivered fantastic expressions of Chardonnay with three very different characters that are each great in their own right.

As I do every year I would also like to point out that these wines are only a touch over $36 each in a six pack or dozen, making them insane value for the price.