Saturday, July 4, 2009

Lethbridge Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Lethbridge is a relatively new winery in the Geelong region which I had not heard of until now. As it turns out, they produce highly individual and interesting single vineyard wines reflecting their specific terroir.

The 2008 Lethbridge Chardonnay is wild yeast fermented, undergoes malolactic fermentation and sees 100% new oak. Despite this, it does not feel heavily worked or dull. It has citrus flavours, an elegant texture, sufficient acidity for aging and a clean finish - a good example of a modern Chardonnay.

The 2007 Lethbridge Allegra Chardonnay comes from an older vineyard. The treatment is pretty much the same, but I taste a bit more fruit concentration and oak. This makes it a bigger wine, but I had a slight preference for the first.

The Pinot Noirs include more than 50% whole bunches. The 2008 Lethbridge Pinot Noir has a good structure, and is medium weight. It tastes predominantly of strawberry, but shows some forest floor characteristics as well, before it finishes with a tannic backbone. This was my favorite wine of the four reviewed.

The 2006 Lethbridge Mietta Pinot Noir is also of medium weight, but darker, with cherry flavours. There is a bit of a gap in the middle palate, the wine is more savoury overall, yet elegant with a dry finish.

I would be happy to drink any of these wines and I now understand why Maree Collis and Ray Nadeson, coming from relatively nowhere, have been nominated as winemaker of the year in this year's Australian Gourmet Traveller awards.

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