Luke Lambert 2020
The Crudo range, quite possibly, offers the most sophisticated and high quality drinking available at its price point in this country. GARY WALSH, The Wine Front
[Lambert’s is] the truest, most honest expression of Nebbiolo that I’ve had from outside northern Italy. ERIC ASIMOV, The New York Times
Luke Lambert is one of Australia’s most formidable wine making talents. This humble boy from Brisbane has emerged to become the master of minimalism, crafting a superb range of wines from pristine Yarra Valley vineyards that are unadorned by oak and winemaking finery. Instead, they offer mid-weighted, fresh, perfumed and pure wines that mirror their sites with crystalline brilliance.
Luke was a forebear to Australia’s now plethora of minimal intervention and natural wine producers, but unlike some of his modern-day compatriots, Luke has always been a perfectionist when it comes to the quality of what is bottled and sold. Where less skilled and more brazen winemakers might be happy to buy sub-par fruit and bottle and sell wines brimming with volatile acidity and funk if they can hang their hats on their minimalist approach, Luke sets the bar much higher.
The 2020 vintage is a perfect example of Luke’s uncompromising vision. There will be no Syrah available this year as Luke felt that the fruit off the site wasn’t going to ‘hit the level’ he wanted. He would rather go without, than produce a wine that didn’t mean his standards. Given the financial strains of the winemaking business alone, this is a decision that carries with it some serious weight, but it also speaks volumes for his unwavering drive for quality at all costs.
So Syrah aside we have just three wines on offer today. The Crudo chardonnay, a perennial contender for best value chardonnay in the country, comes from the Denton’s block. If you picked up some of the Denton chardonnays we offered a few month back you will appreciate the excellent terroir this granitic site offers. It’s made in a juicy and approachable style with ripe stone fruits played off against zippy acidity. Always a winner.
The Yarra Valley chardonnay is always polished, chiselled and elegant but this year in addition to the parcel on the rugged, windy east-facing slope of the Tibooburra vineyard, there is a parcel of fruit taken from the densely planted, sunnier north-west facing slope. This gives the wine an extra layer of texture and flesh to it’s diamond cut frame and looks to have added another dimension to what already was a standout Yarra chardonnay.
Lastly, we have Lambert’s Nebbiolo. Likely Australia’s finest expression of this much lauded Northern Italian varietal. This wine is also made from fruit sourced from the Denton’s block and 2019 marks the 10th harvest of the original plantings. The vines are now hitting their straps giving this wine more depth and power, while maintaining the trademark finesse for which this wine has become known. This is THE benchmark for Australian nebbiolo and it has grown in quality in just about every vintage.