the lane 2015-Beginning-Chardonnayweb

The Lane Vineyard, Adelaide Hills – a focus on Chardonnay

The Lane Vineyard at 450m, Hahndorf, Adelaide Hills

I wasn’t in the least surprised to read that The Lane Restaurant in Hahndorf, Adelaide Hills has been included in The Australian Financial Review’s list of top Australian restaurants (the top 100 will be revealed in June).  The place and the dishes are as stylish and fresh as the wines which, from entry-level up, are made with food in mind.  Me and my Arblaster & Clarke tour group had a terrific long lunch there last year.

Ocean trout ceviche, coconut, basil, nam jim at The Lane Restaurant, 2016

I caught up with the latest (UK) Chardonnay releases at this year’s Australia Day Tasting.  Block 1A and Beginning in particular offer terrific bang for their buck.  Here are my notes:

The Lane Vineyard Block 1A Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2015 (Adelaide Hills)

Despite the name, this entry level cuvée is a blend of parcels across the property, which is located at 450m above sea level on gravel/limestone topsoil over red clay.  This restrained Chardonnay features silky white orchard fruits with flint and subtle oyster shell/leesy flavours and texture.   Made from free run juice, it has the elegance, purity and brightness of fruit I associate with this estate.  It’s a clever blend of 50% stainless steel fermented fruit and 50% fermented in French oak barrels (15% new) for structure. 13% Impressive refinement for £13.25 at Corney & Barrow 

The Lane Vineyard ‘Beginning’ Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2013 (Adelaide Hills)

Stepping up a notch, Beginning delivers great intensity of flavour and focus with super persistent lemon and lime fruit, a lick of savoury sour dough, lovely mouthfeel and depth of flavour, whilst retaining a lightness of being.  With a deft touch of nutty, spicy oak, it was 100% barrel fermented and aged (French oak) for nine months on lees (30% new). 13% Another smart buy which impressed me all over again at £18.25 at Corney & Barrow

The Lane Vineyard ‘RG’ Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2010 (Adelaide Hills)

From the top tier ‘Heritage’ range, ‘RG’ is named after Reginald William Germein, co-founder Helen Edwards’ father.  This is a complex, naturally fermented Chardonnay which was pressed straight to barrel (100% new French oak).  As you might expect given the ambition behind this wine (and its maturity), this cuvée has greater girth, concentration and complexity. And it is achieved without losing sight of this wine’s Hill’s provenance – a persistent backbone of acidity teases out its layers of stone fruit, oak and fruit spice (I detected a distinct note of fresh ginger – exotic, even with a bit of ‘heat’).  It’s a characteristic which I’ve picked up in The Lane wines before, so nice to see this spicy thumbprint here – a lift in the tail of this textural, expressive and expansive wine.  In its prime now.  13% £37.95 at Corney & Barrow

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