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by Fred McMillin
for October 16, 2000

 

Down Under There's 
A Chardonnay Shock


Prologue

Jacob's Creek Reserve Chardonnay 
1960s—Coonawarra was filling up. There wasn't room for many more vines in the tiny premium red wine district of southwest Australia. What to do? Start planting 50 miles away around the town of Padthaway. Blessed with the same climate as Coonawarra (aboriginal word for wild honeysuckle), the expectations were for more outstanding red wines.


The Rest of the Story

What happened? Aussie expert James Halliday tells us. "There is no question that the quality of white wine produced in Padthaway came as a great suprise...It became one of Australia's great Chardonnay districts...In blind tastings it can be recognized by its consistent aroma and taste of grapefruit, with a great length of flavor." If you want to see what Padthaway Chardonnays are all about, my panel just tasted a fine example. It is our...


Wine of the Day

1998 Jacob's Creek Reserve Chardonnay
Padthaway, South Australia
Winemaking—Only free-run juice used in the Reserve. Fermented in French oak barrels located in a cooled cellar.
Winemaker—A leader, Philip Laffer started making wine about the same time the first Chardonnay vines went into the ground in Padthaway. Just wait until you taste what he's done with them in this, his 33 vintage down under.
Rating—Highly recommended. (and look for that grapefruit flavor)
Importer—Austin, Nichols & Co , NYC
Contact—Vickie Bello or Marc Gerrone, (973) 233-0990, FAX (973) 233-0901
Price—$15 range


Postscript

Back to the Chardonnay Suprise at Padthaway (pad-a-way)— author Halliday conducted a tasting of a cross section of the area's wines just 18 years ago. Out of the twenty bottles, how many were Chardonnay? ONE!

 

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.

 
 


 
 

This page created October 2000

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