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2012 Craiglee Vineyard Chardonnay, Victoria
Craiglee Vineyard is located near Sunbury which is about 40km northwest of Melbourne on the edge of the urban sprawl. It is owned and operated by the Carmody family.
Pat Carmody farms sheep and cattle as well as grapes on his property which was a successful 19th century vineyard site. He is about as far removed from the typical new world winemaker as you could imagine, and has a healthy contempt for a fair number of his competitors in the industry.
Pat planted vines on the site of the original vineyard in 1976 and processed the first wine in 1979. The first commercial quantity was released in 1982 with the 1980 shiraz. Pat continues to make wine from the fruit grown at Craiglee, and is assisted by his wife Dianne and sons David and Tom.
All Craiglee wines are made from estate grown fruit, hand picked from vines that are hand pruned and carefully tended here on our family farm.Craiglee has an enviable reputation as a producer of fine table wines made to reflect local conditions and show vintage variation. Varieties produced include Shiraz, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.
After South Australia and New South Wales, Victoria is the country's third most important viticultural state, responsible for 23 percent of the vines. Notable fine wine regions include the Yarra Valley (a prime spot for Pinot Noir), Sunbury (Chardonnay, Shiraz), Heathcote (Shiraz), Macedon Ranges and Rutherglen (Liqueur Muscats).
Victoria has a long history of vineyard settlements, although much was destroyed by Phylloxera in the late 19th century. Apart from hot Rutherglen, the Victorian viticultural regions are generally the country's second coolest after Tasmania. Victoria is the source of excellent sparkling wines, as well as being a great area for sweet, fortified wines such as liqueur Muscat from Rutherglen in north-east Victoria.
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