2019 Hoddles Creek Syberia Chardonnay
Let’s raise a glass to another year of One Wine! If your goal for the New Year is to drink better bottles, then you’re in luck. We’ve got an incredible selection of 12 new wines, sourced from near and far, to see you through 2023. We’re kicking things off with a straight up stunner: the ‘19 Syberia Chardonnay from Hoddles Creek. (Hey chardy fans, we see you!) This glorious, handcrafted white hails from one of the highest, coolest vineyards in the Yarra Valley. Brought to life by winemaker Franco d’Anna, this cool-climate chardonnay is a fun, sophisticated wine with oodles of complexity and vibrant flavours, sure to have you reaching for another glass. Made in extremely small quantities, we’ve secured a stash of this now limited back vintage just for you.
"Hand picked and sorted, whole-bunch pressed direct to barrel; a superfine Yarra Valley chardonnay. Finesse, purity and the certainty of a long and prosperous life in bottle are its calling cards."
Welcome to Syberia, Yarra Valley
Nestled in the hills of the Upper Yarra Valley, Hoddles Creek Estate is a family-owned and operated winery with a reputation for elegant, estate grown wines. The steeply sloping blocks means that pruning and harvesting are done by hand. This attention to detail extends to the winery, where winemaker Franco adopts a considered, light-touch approach to winemaking that allows the sites, soils and varieties to shine through in the wines.
Located on their steepest, highest block at Hoddles Creek, the Syberia vineyard is quite a unique site. As the name suggests, this parcel of vines is significantly cooler than the estate's other vineyards. The block is planted entirely to chardonnay, with ten acres comprising five different chardonnay clones, carefully chosen from Hoddle Creek’s other blocks. And unlike these other vineyards, the vine rows in Syberia run East-West rather than North-South. All together, these are ideal conditions for growing clean, complex fruit and making truly delicious chardonnay.
Lees? Yes, lees!
All you need to know to pour this wine like a pro:
- Putting the cool in cool climate, this wine is named Syberia because it’s located on the highest and coldest block at Hoddles Creek.
- According to Franco d’Anna, Hoddles Creek’s winemaker, Syberia is made in a Chablis style. This refers to the Chablis wine region in north-east France, celebrated for its elegant, minimally oaked chardonnays with zesty acidity.
- Hoddles Creek Estate is located in the Upper Yarra, where the soils comprise more red, volcanic earth and the vineyards are higher and cooler than the valley floor. As a result, wines from this part of the region tend to be fresher, with lean acidity and a tangy minerality.
- You might detect flavours and aromas of bread, cream, even some oatmeal in this wine. Well, that comes from time maturing on lees. Lees? Yes, lees! They’re the leftover yeast particles that result from alcohol fermentation. Winemakers can choose to remove these yeasty solids following the ferment, however, in chardonnay they often add textural weightiness on the palate as well as savoury, bready characters.
D’Anna describes the Syberia Chardonnay as more of a Chablis style, which refers to the French wine region north of Burgundy famous for its fresh, elegant chardonnays with citrus notes and tongue-tingling acidity. The winemaking tends toward minimal intervention: the fruit is picked early in the morning to keep it cool, then pressed as whole bunches into tanks where the must (unfermented fruit juice) is left to settle overnight. The next day, the juice and lingering solids (that’s where the flavour is) are transferred into seasoned barrels the following day, where it will ferment and mature for six to eight months before bottling. But the journey is far from over - the wine spends almost two years ageing in bottle before it is released. It’s a long process, but well worth it when the result is a wine that tastes this good.
The nose is brightly perfumed with fresh citrus and fleshy stone fruit, apricot blossom and savoury hints of almond meal and cream that translate naturally to the palate. Its like biting into a ripe, yellow nectarine - so fresh, juicy and tangy it makes your mouth water. The wine is beautifully textured and mouth-filling, its richness kept in check by a bright seam of acidity. Time spent on lees provides pops of savoury intrigue, however, it is the crescendo of limestone salinity and mineral finish that perfectly rounds out this wine.
"From the highest Chardonnay block at Hoddles Creek. And also nice to see a wine that’s not 13.2%.Fine and fragrant with white flowers and mint, toasted hazelnut, pink grapefruit and white peach. It’s tight, but kind of juicy with pear and citrus, and a saline ‘mineral’ character. There’s a firm grip to texture, and a sort of clean intensity to acidity and flavour, but it’s the length here, that marks it out as a special wine. Outstanding."
"A very pale lemon-yellow hue in the glass. Lemon zest, toasted nuts and oyster-brine aromas. Tight and refined across the tongue. Fruit sits in the lemon and peach spectrum with a saline minerality and some smoky-reductive notes accentuating its focus. Acidity remains tightly-coiled around the fruit intensity at its core, compressing and driving it long to a crisp dry finish. Has many years ahead of it."
You'll find us on the couch
After a busy December socialising with loved ones near and far, Januaray for us is all about soul feeding downtime. Grab your chard and order your favourite takeout, or better yet – hit your secret BYO spot that ticks all the boxes for summer comfort food.
You'll find us snacking on Asian noodles, watching the tennis finals, and saviouring these balmy summer nights with this delicious bottle.
Is it even the start of a new year if you're not kicking back listening to the Triple J Hottest 100 with your best mates? Take a trip down memory lane with the top track of 2019.