Collector Tiger Tiger Chardonnay 2018
Owner and winemaker Alex McKay makes exquisitely detailed wines, bending to the dictates of inclement weather on his doorstep, heading elsewhere if need be. He is not known to speak much, and when he does, his voice is very quiet. So you have to remain alert to appreciate his unparalleled sense of humour. No such attention is needed for his wines, which are consistently excellent, their elegance appropriate for their maker. JAMES HALLIDAY
The best of these Tumbarumba Chardonnays were just right: whistle-clean, well constructed for several years’ development in bottle, and packed full of interesting, savoury flavour. Oh, and cheaper than comparable white burgundy. JANCIS ROBINSON
Is this the best value Chardonnay in the country?
I can definitely make a strong case for Alex Mckay’s Tiger Tiger Chardonnay taking out that title. From their modest home base just outside of Canberra McKay’s Collector wines has been slowly but surely gathering steam for a number of years now. I am an enthusiastic fan of their perfectly pitched cool-climate Shiraz and their lip-smacking Sangiovese Rose – is Canberra/Tumbarumba now the home to the best Sangiovese in the country?, but it is their Tiger Tiger Chardonnay that continues to be the high achiever in the line-up. The just released 2018 vintage now marks a third year in a row where the wine has torn through the pack at the prestigious Canberra Wine show and racked up scores in the mid to high nineties from heavyweights such as James Halliday and Campbell Mattinson. This overachieving Chardonnay has even drawn the attention of Jancis Robinson who was enamoured with the wine in her latest write up of the Tumbarumba region.
The wine itself is celebrates Tumbarumba’s signature stone fruit and citrus characters but does so with a little more bravado than most. On the nose those reductive wisps of struck match dance with grapefruit pith and lemon flowers before the wine floods the palate with new season stone fruits and a kiss of oak. It is intense and focused and drives surprisingly long.
This is a great Chardonnay in anyone’s language but the fact that today it will only cost you $30 in a dozen is slightly insane. Good, cheap Chardonnay is very hard to find and winemakers fall into many traps when chasing this elusive animal. I usually stick to Riesling or aromatic Italian whites when looking for value at this price point but the 2018 Tiger Tiger Chardonnay knocks it out of the park and this is definitely the type of wine you want at hand for everything from a post work mid-week glass to weekend gatherings. At this price you can even bring it out guilt free when those Yellowtail swilling relatives drop in around at Christmas.