Recently I spent a couple of days in the Yarra Valley, something I have not done for a number of years. Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It is quite clear now which style suits the area best, and with many vineyards 30 years old now, and great vintages from 2012 and 2013, it is all coming together nicely.
My first stop was Coldstream Hills. It was established in 1985 by James and Suzanne Halliday and acquired by Treasury Wine Estates in 2005. In most cases, boutique wineries do not hold their quality and positioning when they are gobbled up by large multi-brand corporations, but in the case of Coldstream Hills, it may even have gotten better.
I tasted first the fleet of Chardonnays.
2013 Chardonnay: this is the standard Estate wine, a blend of various vineyards. The wine undergoes no malolactic fermentation. The fresh apple and citrus flavours are pleasant on the palate. The wine has good acidity on the finish (90 points).
2013 Dear Farm Chardonnay: Coldstream Hills now bottles some single vineyard Chardonnays, in line with other producers. This wine comes from a vineyard in the East of the valley, at higher altitude. It is a cool site. This wine saw 52% new oak. It has a similar flavour profile to the Estate wine, but it has much more definition. This is a lean, but elegant wine, with good acidity, and citrus and minerality on the finish. I loved this wine (94 points).
2013 Rising Chardonnay: this wine comes from a Northern vineyard. It has some elevation, but is a warmer site. 42% saw new oak. The stone fruit is more pronounced in this wine. It is a bit broader on the palate, but with a firm finish (92 points).
2012 Reserve Chardonnay: this is a 'best of' wine from the different vineyards. 44% new oak. This is a richer wine. Red apple fruit dominates. The wine has an excellent structure and an appealing lingering finish (93 points).
What impressed me most overall was that each wine tasted according to what it should, in line with its terroir and winemaking objective. Classy stuff. You will not be disappointed if you try these.