Murdoch Hill, Micky D and the Queen: Chardonnay. Everyone curtsy.

Murdoch Hill, Micky D and the Queen: Chardonnay. Everyone curtsy.

Murdoch Hill, Micky D and the Queen: Chardonnay. Everyone curtsy.

Micky D, or Michael Downer by his official name, winemaker at Murdoch Hill has been a vinous crush of mine since 2015. In fact, I delved into my personal Instagram archives and found a post from July 2nd, 2017, where I declared that Murdoch Hill's The Tilbury, The Phaeton, and The Landau - had become my three new best friends, a public proclamation of my adoration.

During a recent visit to the Murdoch Hill cellar door, I was met with an exceptional Chardonnay experience. The 2022 Murdoch Hill Chardonnays are truly a masterclass in deliciousness and deft wine-making.

Here are the details:

  • 2022 Murdoch Hill Chardonnay: $36
  • 2022 Murdoch Hill The Tilbury Chardonnay: $53
  • 2022 Murdoch Hill Rocket Chardonnay: $91

The French term "terroir" aims to encompass all the elements that shape a wine's character: the grape variety and clone, the location of cultivation, soil type and orientation, and the prevailing climatic conditions. There is a human aspect to terroir, especially in the case of Chardonnay, where human decisions and craftsmanship play a definitive role.

This is why Chardonnay can express itself beautifully across the world. It's a grape variety exceptionally responsive to the winemaker's touch. Chardonnay as a grape offers winemakers creative freedom, allowing them to establish a distinctive house style. Chardonnay tends to mirror the winemaker's or winery's unique personality and can be moulded in a plethora of styles. This is why many winemakers become obsessed with working with Chardonnay—it presents numerous wine-making possibilities that can drastically alter the wine's profile, structure and style in response to the decisions you make. You are in service to the Queen.

I personally appreciate the complexity and finesse of the modern Australian style of Chardonnay, which I find quite captivating and oh so delicious. However, I have a friend who adores the California Chardonnay style (akin to the 1990’s Australian style), characterised by pronounced oak, butteriness, and richness. For her the bigger the better. More oak? Yes. More butteriness? Yes. More peaches? Yes.

For all wines including Chardonnay beauty is on the tongue of the taster.

So I introduce the concept of CMI, or Chardonnay Mass Index, akin to BMI (Body Mass Index) reflecting the balance of fruit weight and concentration in the wine to the structure of the wine. Just as BMI gauges whether our weight aligns with our physique, CMI evaluates Chardonnay's fruit weight and concentration relative to its structural elements. Using a similar scale, to the BMI with 18 indicating severe underweight and 30 signaling overly proportioned, CMI values of 18.5 to 24.9 are considered in balance, while 25 to 29.9 suggests a heavier weight than the structure should be carrying.

Here's how the Murdoch Hill Chardonnays fare on the CMI scale:

  • 2022 Murdoch Hill Chardonnay: CMI = 22 (Lovely, but I wouldn't want it any leaner or lighter)
  • 2022 Murdoch Hill The Tilbury Chardonnay: CMI = 27 (Generous, well proportioned and full of flavour)
  • 2022 Murdoch Hill Rocket Chardonnay: CMI = 24 (Absolutely perfect in terms of weight for its structure, with room for even more generosity to develop, much like many of us as we age).

All three wines are exceptional, and, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Because we each have our own preferences, these Chardonnays exhibit distinct CMI’s. It's a matter of personal taste rather than quality, as all three are genuinely outstanding.

For me, my preference leans towards The Tilbury; I appreciate its fuller, rounder character possibly because its a reflection of my own BMI.

You can currently taste all three 2022 Chardonnays at the Murdoch Hill cellar door. I encourage you to visit and experience the triumphant expression of Chardonnay by the same winemaker, from the same vintage, and sourced from the same terroir. Discover your CMI preference.

Address: 260 Mappinga Road Oakbank South Australia


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