Murdoch Hill 2019 Chardonnays
2017 was a big year for Murdoch Hill’s Michael Downer. He took home both the Young Gun of Wine and the Gourmet Traveller WINE Young Winemaker of the Year on the back of a string of excellent releases from his family owned estate in Oakbank in the Adelaide Hills. There was a lot of press and hype, as there always is around ‘up-and-coming’ winemakers, but it always comes with that caveat that if you drop the ‘young’ or ‘up-and-coming’ where do they really sit in the landscape.
Which is why this week, now three years on, when Downer’s 2019 Chardonnays landed on the tasting table, which is more like a wine stained narrow ledge at the back of the store to be honest, I was excited to take stock of these wines crafted by someone who many regard as one of the country’s brightest talents. Did they deliver? Has Michael Downer moved from being a ‘Young Gun’ to simply a ‘Gun’? That would be an absolute resounding YES!
I can’t recall a producer of late that has delivered three tiers of Chardonnay of the quality that Michael Downer has produced with these Murdoch Hills wines. It is no easy feat to knock it out of the park from your flagship wine to your estate range, while over-delivering on price along the way. Great producers might do one, or two, but a trio is feat of epic proportions.
The estate Chardonnay is going makes some waves. Nick Stock hit the nail on the head when he said it ‘…delivers a brand of intensity, purity and subtle complexity that outguns many wines twice the price’. The Tilbury steps things up a gear and delivers a wine that Ned Goodwin calls ‘Confident, unfettered and finely tuned’ and Nick Stock remarked was ‘impressively pure and powerful’. All this before you arrive at Murdoch Hill’s flagship Chardonnay aptly named ‘Rocket’. Stock and Goodwin again trade superlatives on this one including ‘impeccable’ and ‘thrilling’ but to keep things light on the adjectives let’s just say this a seriously impressive wine that could trade blows with the best in the country and will only look even better with a little cellar time.
The Adelaide Hills currently does not hold the cache for Chardonnay like the Yarra Valley or Margaret River, but the quality of wines like those in this line-up from Downer is going to change that quick smart. Gary Walsh was right when he said, ‘There’s gold in them thar Hills!’.