I’ve just come back from spending a solid week in the Hunter Valley during Vintage 2013, volunteering with Thomas Wines. Thommo very generously allowed me to ask lots of questions and pad after him like a puppy. In turn I learned how to hose out grape bins, sweep up a winery floor, cook a BBQ for the real workers and wash glasses. I also learned that it takes a lot of beer to make great wine. But a little more of that later…
As it has been a little while between posts, the tasting bench is starting to back up. I thought it appropriate that I break the drought with a Hunter Valley wine. Not a Semillon that the Hunter is so famous for, but maybe the Prince of Hunter Valley white wines, Chardonnay from Bilgavia Estate.
Yes, thats’s right: Bilgavia Estate, not Belgravia Estate.
One is a youngish label from Orange NSW. The other is a much younger label from the Upper Hunter Valley, NSW. When I first saw the name of the winery tweeted, Winsor Dobbin (wine/food/travel journalist) and I both expressed some concern of an obvious confusion with the naming. Google’s pre-emptive search tries to suggest Belgravia. Even my wife, who isn’t great with remembering all the wine we drink asked me if we’d visited their Cellar Door in Orange over 12 months ago. I had to explain the difference. A new business starting out should probably do all they can to ensure that their business stands out, but I’m not comfortable with the closeness of the naming convention considering they’re both New South Wales brands. I do wish them every success though!
It’s a shame to start out with a slight detraction regarding the label and naming because the wine is quite drinkable. Bilgavia Estate is the production label of Parson’s Creek Farm, planted to Shiraz, Chardonnay, Semillon & Verdelho. The label itself is new to the market, whilst other outputs are sold off, leaving a selected tranche to be released under Bilgavia. I’m a sucker for good packaging and this one is pleasing to the eye and feels good in the hand.
A lovely light blonde gold in the glass. Sniffs of subtle white stone fruits and soft lemon when cool. The nose crescendos to baked peach and vanilla cream when warmed up a little. There’s a little bit of lees work with drifts of light biscuit/water cracker. Quite round and smooth on the palate without sticky-out oak treatment; plenty of soft tropical fruits and preserved lemon to give a nice line of fruit.
The acidity for a young white wine was kept well in check and along with that oak treatment, there’s good balance with the fruit. All of this leading to a drinkable young Chardonnay with a medium full palate. It’s not going to be considered in the upper echelons of Australian Chardonnay, but there’s nothing wrong with it either.
Easily drinkable, naming confusion notwithstanding
Sample wine courtesy of Define Wine.