Oakridge 864 Aqueduct Block Henk Vineyard Chardonnay 2018

Winemaker and CEO David Bicknell has proved his worth time and again as an extremely talented winemaker. At the top of the Oakridge brand tier is 864, all Yarra Valley vineyard selections, only released in the best years JAMES HALLIDAY

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, Gourmet Traveller Wine

So, that time of the year again. I may as well start this the same way I always do. In my opinion Dave Bicknell is the most gifted Chardonnay producer in the country… now, I am not saying he is the only great producer. I am saying that he makes a range of Chardonnay and all of them, over a period of time, wind up in my top Chards of the year more regularly than anyone else’s.

A couple of quick, but important, points to make. Those keen eyed collectors may note that there is a change in vineyard this year. This was something Bicknell flagged a couple of vintages ago, hence when they began to get some fruit from the younger vine patch of the Henk Vineyard. Bicknell tells me it’s “One of those sites you go to and you can immediately see/sense huge potential”. Certainly the releases of Henk have demonstrated that clearly enough. This first 864 is from the older vine patch called the “Aqueduct Block”. The vineyard was established on the advice and council of none other than Yarra viticultural guru and legend Ray Guerin.

The other point to make is that they have produced something like 1/4 of their usual 864 production this year. For us that translated to a lot less wine to be able to offer the rather large Oakridge fan base.

As to the wine, well, it’s a tremendous effort and demonstrates, again, why Bicknell is the master of his craft. It’s a different shaped beast to the Funder and Diamond vineyard. It feels more robust, concentrated and fleshier but it’s all focused inwards at the moment. I tasted it a week or so back and my notes say “impeccably balanced and with huge power but bundled up in a tunnel of flavour”.

Once again the 864 showcases Australian Chardonnay as it can be and why we are now making some of the greatest examples of the variety anywhere.