Shaw & Smith Adelaide Hills M3 Chardonnay 2018  £29.95

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Established in 1989 by Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith MW, Shaw + Smith's aim is to make contemporary, high quality wines that stand among the best of their type in Australia. The wines are made exclusively from fruit grown in the Adelaide Hills, one of Australia's coolest and most exciting regions. Shaw + Smith specialise in grape varieties suited to cooler climates, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, and also make outstanding wines from Shiraz and Pinot Noir.

Fruit was predominantly sourced from the Shaw + Smith vineyard at Lenswood, which was planted in 1999 and purchased by Martin and Michael in 2012. Undulating with east and west facing aspects at 455 - 500 metres above sea level, the soils are brown loams over clay with broken shale on the ridges. Low yields were achieved by aggressive pruning and pre-harvest bunch thinning. All fruit was hand picked to avoid any fruit damage.

2018 was a season that, at times, threatened to be tricky. After hot conditions in January, the moderate, dry and sunny months of February and March delivered beautifully balanced fruit. Crop levels were slightly below average, enhancing flavour concentration and intensity. Winemaker Adam Wadewitz says, “2018 was a standout year. The growing season weather behaved well overall, giving well-balanced acidity and good flavour development.”

The grapes were chilled overnight, whole bunch pressed, and then fermented in new and used French oak (one third of which was new). The wine was matured for nine months in oak with some lees stirring, then two months in tank on lees prior to bottling

This vintage has great presence, with intense aromas of white flowers and lemon blossom. Typically, the 'M3' shows citrus and nectarine notes. Aiming for elegance, restraint and the ability to age, the acidity is bright and there is generosity of flavour.

92 Points - Huon Hooke - The Real Review

Light to mid-straw-yellow colour. Subdued almond, nutty and faintly sulfidic bouquet - the fruit somewhat reserved and unevolved, perhaps relegated to the background by artifact characters at this stage. The palate is likewise lean and restrained, tight and not quite ready. It's quite a pared-back style, nervy and tight today, although there is flavour and subtle complexity. Cellar. It showed better the next day.

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