7 Vintages of Reserve Bin A and Yattarna
- The thing to note before all else is the relative uniformity of colour across all vintages. Quite remarkable. The 08 Yattarna has more colour than its peers, but otherwise they are pretty difficult to tell apart.
- I understand that these scores are extremely high. I can’t change that. These wines are impeccable examples of what is possible in Australian chardonnay, and I was more impressed than I expected (and I expected a lot), by what they have to offer.
- The following tasting notes are the notes I took prior to the tasting for the video. Link to the video below.
A quick overview of style:
Reserve Bin A: Adelaide Hills fruit. Vineyards and therefore clonal materical vary over time, depending on the season. The 10A was largely comprised of the I10V1 clone, while the newer vintages are predominatly the Dijon clone 96. 9 months in oak with regular battonage. Of the two wines, the Res Bin is often flintier, funkier, more boisterous, salty and fleshy. Less tension than the Yattarna, more flamboyance. Complex, worked and salty. An exciting wine with personality.
Yattarna: A regional selection based on top-grade fruit. Like Grange, this is made from many vineyard sites, and is directed by quality of fruit selection rather than region, however the best fruit often comes from Tasmania, followed by Adelaide Hills, and then NSW (Tumbarumba, Henty etc)… however the regional map changes due to seasons.. Hand picked, whole bunch pressed, full (natural) malo, inoculated with cultured yeast, and French oak for 9 months (regular battonage). The only sulphur added is at bottling. Of the two wines, the Yattarna is sophisticated, sleek, polished and typified by lingering length of flavour… this is long and languid and elegant. Restraint. Controlled, taut, persistant.
Crushed and toasted cashew, five spice, tamarind, yellow peach, salty, worked, complex, exciting. A green banana character on the nose – likely due to young age? The length of flavour tells a story all of its own. Energy and verve. Love this.
Immediately more restrained and relaxed, more rumblings of power too, somehow. In comparison to the 2019 this misses the top levels of complexity and nuance but that could be down to the 19 being very very young – it replaces these top notes with integration and seamlessness. Very savoury. Great length. Restraint.
In stasis. Restrained, languid, classy, fine… This is a beauty. There’s an ashy smoked character midpalate, the length draws out long past the fruit flavours… extremely tight and elegant… one for the ages. It’s on another level.
Impossible to pick an age on this. Incredibly tight yet rich, the palate moves into a Burgundian space… spicy and toasted… creamy. This is another cracker. And ageing extremely slowly. Jesus. Super impressive. Incredibly appealing, immediately. This isn’t waiting, there’s hardly any restraint, but like that loud friend with the wicked sense of humour, you’d rather them around than others… this is a wild ride.
A totally different shape and style, this is all class, length, it is languid and fine… very long, almost imperceptible. Truly, one of the greats. I would put this ahead of the 2008 Yattarna, and even though the points match at this stage I would qualify with this: If I was to compare solely on what is in the glass today, I would stick with my points, as is. If I was to cast ahead, and predict how I THINK the 17 is going to end up, V where the 08 has landed, I would point the 17 slightly ahead. They are both exceptional, make no mistake, but the 17 is the wine I am buying and cellaring, the 08 is the wine I am seeking out and drinking. And I love them both.
The nose is far more open somehow…Wow. Powerful, and all up front, but it doesn’t taper off like I expected it to. It hits you like a wall upon getting it in your mouth. Then, instead of peaking early and dissipating, it proves it was merely setting a tone. The length of flavour prodigious and pretty much insane. It’s more obvious, and less nuanced than the 17.
The nose moves from cashew to pistachios and walnuts, the stone fruit is ripe, grilled, salted… it is unbelievably insanely fresh… and I can see why it is mistaken for Burgundy – it ripples and morphs over the palate… the acidity keeps all things in check… some chardonnays are released showing this aged character, now. At 12 years old, this is only getting started…. Holy frick.