Applecross 2018 Release

Dave Bicknell’s 2018 Applecross Release – Quickly becoming one of the most anticipated local releases each year

Any discussion of the exalted state of Australian chardonnay today will include Dave Bicknell. Oakridge 864 chardonnays are among the best in the land as well as being at the stylistic cutting edge. HUON HOOKE

Winemaker and CEO David Bicknell has proved his worth time and again as an extremely talented winemaker. JAMES HALLIDAY

2017 WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR – Bicknell has distinguished himself especially with chardonnay, but also with pinot noir… His exploration of individual vineyard sites in the Yarra is second to none… GOURMET TRAVELLER WINE

Ok everyone, strap yourselves in, this is going to be a ride.

So, most people getting this will have heard my rant about who I think is the best Chardonnay producer in Australia, probably a few times. Maybe too often? Before I move on I do like to point out that what I have said over the years has been qualified with “If I had to pick one” or, when feeling a little more feisty “in my not so humble opinion”.

There are a lot of incredible Chardonnays being produced in this country today. It is staggering really. To think of where we have come to in such a short period of time. Today I think this country produces some of the finest examples of the variety on the planet (outside of Burgundy) and, in my not so humble opinion, Dave Bicknell is leading the way still in terms of style.

Qualitatively his wines are in the very small top handful of producers over the last decade or so, with only a few people rivalling him for the crown. Stylistically they slip right in to the zone for me and that’s what dumps him on top of the pile, if I had to pick one, as this country’s top Chardonnay producer. Wines that match great fruit/vineyards with super sophisticated winemaking that does not overwhelm the fruit nor does it shy away from adding substance and interest. It is a winemakers grape and the difference between great Chardonnay and GREAT Chardonnay is those subtle touches of the person crafting the wine.

Now, with that being said, it is incumbent upon me to also point out that the boy is no slouch with his reds either. In fact there are plenty of people who would say that he makes some of the best examples of Pinot in the Yarra. It’s true! He also grows a gnarly beard when the mood takes him. Talented people are very frustrating to me. That’s why I tend not to hangout with many of them.

So, let’s get serious for a minute. Some of you may remember me offering these last year? For those who don’t then a quick recap. Applecross is the passion project of David Bicknell, who is the chief winemaker at Oakridge. The wines carry all the gravitas of his top offerings from his day job and at only $40 each. I genuinely can’t think of another Yarra producer making chardonnay as good as applecross at this price, except Oakridge… The pinot too is an absolute belter for any price.

I genuinely think that these are on their way to becoming one of those must have releases every year. Think back to something like A. Rodda (who worked under Bicknell before starting his own gig), now they sell out in moments and we have to fend off the hordes to ensure loyal customers can get them. This is going in that direction. People are catching on quickly and the wines have begun to garner a very strong following with lots of people coming back to buy more each release. One day, in the not too distant future, you will look back and say “man, I used to be able to buy as much of that as I wanted and it was only $40 a bottle”.