Up the Tamar River in northern Tasmania, Joe and Lou Holyman’s gently sloping vineyards, overlooking the idyllic waterway, are turning out some beautiful wines under their Stoney Rise and Holyman labels.
Besides some of Tassie’s finest Pinot Noir, there are a couple of Chardonnay offerings in the range and it was the 2015 Holyman from a mere 0.75ha of estate–grown, Chardonnay vines that struck a particular note with me.
For starters, 2015 was an excellent vintage in Tasmania and this particular wine, from just 30 rows of vines, could well be mistaken as the work of some of the posh French jobs that weigh in at three times the price. Its whole–bunches are pressed into new 500 litre French oak puncheons where it undergoes a long, slow fermentation.
The result is a captivating, textural wine that reinforces just how far we have come with Chardonnay since the overblown, jumbled wines of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Pale straw in colour with beautifully defined aromas of ripe citrus and stone–fruits; lime, grapefruit and nectarine immediately vie for the drinker’s attention along with hints of soft spice, struck match, almond paste, clotted cream and deftly judged vanillin oak tones. It’s on the palate where the wine takes off.
Stone and citrus fruits are underscored by spice, oatmeal, creme fraiche, struck flint, nougat, white floral notes and dead–sexy oak. Its flow across the palate is crisp, precise and shows great detail and restraint. Mouth–filling and textured, there is pitch–perfect tension between the fruit and acidity and the finish is long and moreish. Bang on.
HOLYMAN 2015 Chardonnay