Sixty-Second Swirl by Brent Lello, Yass Valley Times Wine Columnist

Chardonnay is the staple white variety at Chateau Lello.  We enjoy all white wines on occasion, but our points go to the rich and round smoothness and complexity of a good “Chardy”.  The best wines of the Chardonnay breed come from the cooler climates around Australia – think Margaret River, Tasmania, Mornington, Yarra Valley and closer to home, the Lake George and Tumbarumba areas.  But there are some excellent examples grown and produced right here in the Yass Valley region too.  

Wimbaliri Wines Chardonnay

One such wine is the subject of this week’s “swirl” – the Wimbaliri Wines “35th Parallel” Chardonnay 2019. 

Scott Gledhill is owner and winemaker and is waving his winemaking wand to produce quality cool climate styles with fruit sourced from their own vineyard, situated on a north-easterly facing slope overlooking the vineyards of Clonakilla.  The Wimbaliri vineyard location is cool climate prime time and there are some exciting new releases coming out soon – stay tuned!

Scott and Sarah Gledhill Photo credit Adam McGrath

This Chardonnay is a bright, pale gold colour in the glass with a brilliant light from within.  A swirl produces aromas of ripe, yellow-fleshed peach and white nectarine with crushed hazelnut and cashew.  The palate is rich, luscious and mouth-coatingly smooth.  The palate is loaded with delicious flavours of ripe stone fruit and a hint of roasted nuts with a lovely line and length of harmonious acidity.  The finish is fine and lingering.  This is top-class cool climate Chardonnay – complex and complete.

We enjoyed our bottle with a home-egg frittata embedded with roasted home-grown pumpkin and truffle-infused cream cheese – a sublime combination.  This would also be a ripping choice with roast chicken with honey mustard gravy.  I sourced mine direct from Scott at the winery, the cellar door is open by appointment only.  You can find Wimbaliri wines on good restaurant wine lists around the region, or you can buy their wines online.

Wimbaliri is owned and operated by Scott and Sarah Gledhill.

Scott is winemaker, born in Wallsend, Newcastle NSW, a 6th-generation descendant of German vinedressers who emigrated in 1855 to work for Dr Henry Carmichael at Porphyry Estate in the Hunter Valley. One of Australia’s first vineyards and known for its Porphyry ‘Sauternes’, Porphyry later became part of Lindeman’s.

Scott believes that every wine has a distinctive flavour and aroma, the inherent result of the vineyard site and the growing season. Showcasing distinctive and individual character in a wine is his ongoing quest as a winemaker.

Sarah draws upon her science background when at work in the vineyard and winery. She holds an Honours degree in Plant Biochemistry from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand and a PhD in Medical Sciences from the Australian National University. Travel through Europe while completing a postdoctoral fellowship at King’s College London provided the opportunity for Sarah to experience traditional viticultural practices in some of the oldest winemaking regions in the world. She has been profoundly inspired by the respect held by continental vignerons for their terroir and finds the greatest pleasure in growing grapes in one of the world’s emerging viticultural regions, right on her doorstep.

Vineyard

The vineyard lies at a latitude of 35 degrees south, near the NSW village of Murrumbateman. The vineyard blocks are some of the highest in Murrumbateman at an altitude of 620m and well positioned on a north-eastern slope overlooking a small valley. Warm days and cool nights at this altitude produce elegant wines with distrinctive flavours and intense aroma.

The Wimbaliri name comes from local Ngunnawal language meaning to drink.