Savaterre Chardonnay Beechworth
The fruit is a field blend of clones in the vineyard (8,000 vines per hectare, planted in 1996) and is handpicked, whole-bunch pressed and fermented with wild yeast, then the wine matures in French oak for 18 months. The wine is frisky (of course, at this early stage) and shows its oak at this stage, but it is already flowing in a cascade of almond meal, crushed nuts, briny acidity and salted peach. Through the finish, the phenolics tighten up and pull the fruit into line, dragging it out to a long finish. It is lovely, complex and tense and will soften in time
Keppell Smith, has long had a passion for fine wine. After a few years spent in the money markets "fine tuning" this passion Keppell knew he needed to express this on a more fundamental level and his quest to find a site and become a winemaker was born.Leaving the money markets Keppell roamed Australia looking for the perfect site whilst working with key figures in winemaking. In Beechworth, he wondered with such an icon of Australian wine, Giaconda, located here why there were not more vineyards. He figured the decomposed granitic loam soil, the microclimate of the region and vineyard aspect were key elements to creating a great wine.After many months of talks with a local farmer, the Savaterre site was purchased and a vineyard planted in 1996.Keppell's winemaking technique is a minimalistic, hands-off approach. "It is all about the quality of the fruit from the fantastic site we have here at Savaterre." His approach to winemaking is in the tradition of the fine wines of Burgundy.