Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay 2015
Australia is a warm country which developed a reputation for rich, fruity Chardonnays lacking finesse. All that has changed in the last ten years or so, as producers have sought cooler locations to make more food-friendly, elegant wines from Chardonnay. There are some world-class wines now being made, particularly in Margaret River, Tasmania, and Adelaide Hills.
The latter region is to the east of Adelaide, rising away from the city and the sea. Altitude is 450-550m, which cools the climate considerably. The sea also has a cooling influence, particularly to the south of the region. It's still warm - this is Australia after all - but the acidity is still high enough in these wines to make them refreshing and balanced.
Shaw + Smith are a fantastic producer focusing solely on Adelaide Hills, making Shiraz (at lower elevation), Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. Michael Smith and Martin Shaw are two cousins, Smith being Australia's first ever MW. The Chardonnay is planted between 450 and 500m elevation, where the cool, wet conditions result in refreshing, structured wines. I love this wine: it's rich with stone and tropical fruit aromas, oaky, but vibrant and light. This is the type of Chardonnay Australia is capable of producing and which ought to make drinkers rethink their perception of the country.
Grape Variety: Chardonnay
Region: Adelaide Hills
Ageing: 30% new French oak for 9 months on the lees
Food pairing: white fish