Murdoch Hill Artisan Series Rocket Chardonnay 2019
Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Murdoch Hill has been in the Downer family since 1939 but vines were first planted here only in 1998. The farm is on the eastern side of the Adelaide Hills in the Onkaparinga Valley, with 21 hectares of vineyard on shallow red loam soils packed with schist and limestone and up to 516 metres above sea level. Since taking over the winemaking reins in 2012, Michael Downer has taken the farm’s wines to similar heights.
The 2019 Artisan Series Rocket Chardonnay comes from the best parcels Michael can lay his hands on across three vineyards: two high in the Piccadilly Valley from 35-year-old I10V1 and C76 clones, directly below Mt Lofty summit, the other from a 20-year-old vineyard in Lobethal planted to the Bernard Clone 76.
2019 was a dry and warm year with low yields. Whole berry pressed, wild fermentation in tight grain French puncheons and roughly two-thirds went through malolactic fermentation. Matured for 10 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
It is a forceful, driven and elegant wine, displaying the trademark natural acidity of the Adelaide Hills, showing a lime and melon fruit profile and a saline, nutty complexity with a fine mineral finish.
Michael names his Artisan Series wines after different carriages in tribute to his grandfather T.E. Downer (1913-1984), a passionate collector of horse drawn vehicles. Each wine is named after a carriage type that reflect's the style.