The Chardonnay Comparative

Wine / Wednesday, September 29th, 2021

Our brand new 2020 Reserve Chardonnay has arrived!

It’s the second Reserve Chardonnay Rob has made and it’s sensational (as you could probably have guessed!).

I asked Rob how it differs from our regular 2020 Chardonnay and how it compares to the 2016 Reserve.

Here’s what he had to say…


The Chardonnay Comparative

With all three, I’m not chasing extra ripeness in the fruit to start with. They’re all maybe 12.5% alcohol – meaning that they are gentle, fine wines with nice natural acidity.

This is key when thinking about oak.

Leaving the fruit on the vine to gain extra ripeness will generally lead to a higher alcohol wine with lower natural acidity (acid starts to drop the longer the grape is on the vine). We avoid this because it creates a fairly aggressive wine, especially when combined with oak.  

So picking early for a delicate wine with good levels of natural acid is particularly key with the two Reserves, as they are aged in new and near-new oak.

The Reserves have both had the same amount of time in barrel – roughly 15 months. This longer time in barrel really fast forwards the development of the wine beautifully.   



This is our current pouring vintage. It’s one of my favourites of the Somerled Chardonnays. It’s modern, refined and elegant and treated with less new oak than the Reserves. Rather delicate when compared alongside the 2020 Reserve – a great comparison to do!



This wine is heavily oaked, at a soft 12.5% alcohol. The oak and malolactic fermentation makes for a really heady nose – it’s getting richer and richer all the time. I can’t really fault this wine and its structure and complexity, there’s nothing more that I could ask of a chardonnay!



Already showing fabulous creamy, complex characters. Its lovely pale colour will deepen over time, and the richness and headiness will become more obvious year after year. It could go for another 10 easily! A great wine to compare with our Somerled 2020 Chardonnay, which had a more gentle oak treatment. These two wines were picked simultaneously from the same single vineyard!


Don’t like Chardonnay?

Check out this blog for why that might be.

Like to do your own comparative tasting?

If you’re a club member, we sent you an email on September 21st to let you know about three special comparative packs  (and more opportunities to earn credit against your membership!). Email me if you’d like a reminder or can’t find the email.



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Before I go…

Reader contribution

Inspired by my recent post titled “The weird and wonderful world of wine” a long-time reader and faithful Jockey Club member sent me this article…


Click on the image and zoom in to read the full article, but essentially it describes how three bottles of Australian red were flown 18,000 miles (almost 30,000 km) from England to Australia.

These wines were tasted side-by-side with the same three wines which remained in Australia. The tasting panel (which included said club member’s father!) agreed that the wines which had been shipped to England and then flown back to Australia “were further advanced and slightly softer in the palate with improved bouquet”.  

So, as we discovered with wines aged under the sea, it seems that increased pressure really does increase the speed of maturation.

Now, if only we could fly around the world with our bottles of Somerled Shiraz…

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