Dawson and James Chardonnay 2016
Availability: 95 in stock
Bright lemon and grapefruit with flinty notes on the nose, tightly woven citrus and minerally characters on the palate. Pale yellow with green hues.
In 1976, Peter Dawson and Tim James met while they were both working at Thomas Hardy & Sons in Adelaide. Peter was a science student who was working as a cellar hand, and Tim was the production winemaker. They worked there together for 20 years before moving on to new ventures, yet both knew that at some stage they would end up collaborating. Peter and Tim shared a love of pinot noir, and were drawn to the Derwent Valley in Tasmania, where the cool climate allows pinot to ripen slowly and develop its flavours. In 2010 they released the first vintage of pinot noir and chardonnay, which was highly anticipated by many in the wine industry, due to Peter and Tim’s reputations. So far, only one vintage has been missed- in 2012, due to a fire which caused smoke taint in the grapes, a particularly off-putting quality. The vineyard, Meadowbank, produces fruit which is highly sought-after by brands such as Brown Brothers, Arras, and Glaetzer Dixon.
In counterpoint to some wineries that offer dozens of different wines, Dawson & James’ offerings are very modest: one pinot noir and one chardonnay, with multiple vintages occasionally available (until sold out). The pinot noir consists of the popular MV6 clone, as well as Pommard, which is generally seen to give wines a gamey/meaty edge. The pinots are regularly classed as among the best in Australia, such as the 2015, which was given 98 points by James Halliday and described as ‘sumptuous and svelte’, with ‘layers of flavour play[ing] out across an expansive palate.’ The chardonnay also deserves a mention, as critics have compared them to some impressive premier crus from Burgundy, though often fruitier and softer.
Tasmania is an island lying to the south of the Australian mainland at 42 degrees. Being an island, the Australian state experiences a maritime weather environment, and many of the vineyards have to put up wind blocks to shelter the vines. Although Tasmania’s wine output only accounts for 1% of national wine production, it more than makes up for it in quality, with the state’s wines accounting for around 10% of Australia’s premium wine segment.
The area primarily grows Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, with some smaller plantings of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Cabernet Sauvignon. As global warming slowly roasts the planet, the prospect of increasing the production of red wine using Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz is being explored.
The lower slopes of Tasmania enjoy a rich soil profile and are a mix of ancient sandstone/mudstones and newer river sediments/igneous volcanic rocks. The combination of soil profile and cool climate results in Tasmania being a fantastic region for the production of sparkling wines. Frequently being compared to Champagne, it’s widely agreed that Tasmania’s sparkling wines go head to head with its French competitor. In fact, one producer has even made the tongue and cheek move of dubbing their wine Méthode Tasmanoise.