Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay - how long does it age?

Friday, 10 May, 2013
Hamilton Russell Vineyards
Using our 3 harvest interns to supplement our team’s palates, we recently tasted every vintage of Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay, from 1982 to 2012 (31 vintages) – with the aim of revisiting the condition of some of our older vintages and seeing if we could say with some confidence how long our Chardonnay ages. 
We are so often asked how long our wines keep and it is hard to answer, given that people react differently to the characteristics of bottle age – particularly in white wines. One person’s deep-coloured, rich, nutty, treasure is another’s tired, oxidized, lost opportunity. We do however have many fans of our aged Chardonnay and we hoped to provide them with some guidelines.

Briefly, our findings on the day were as follows: 

From the current vintage back to 1995, our Chardonnays were attractive and “together” with brightness and liveliness. You could generalize that a life of 18 years in the bottle can be taken for granted, given decent storage conditions and an intact cork. The one exception post 1995 was the 2007, where we had a degree of premature oxidation. The wine is lovely and will last for many more years, but it shows more age than it should for its vintage.

Prior to 1995, things depended on the vintage. 1992, 1990, 1988, 1983 and 1982 were all highly regarded by us and our interns. So 30 years in the bottle is possible for certain vintages.

To appreciate our really old wines, one needs to look past the deep colour to the aromas, flavours and palate structure. 

We hope this is of some interest to those of you who have cellared our Chardonnay.
Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay
Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay

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