2018 was another idyllic vintage in Margaret River. The season began with a nice even budburst after average winter rainfall. A mild spring followed ensuring good flowering and fruit set. A moderate start to summer, with no heat extremes, set up the harvest well with white varieties displaying flavour intensity and bright acidity. There was an abundance of Marri blossom which meant bird pressure was practically non-existent whilst the whites were harvested. In summary 2018 will be remembered as an outstanding, if not great, Margaret River vintage!
For the 2018 Embers Chardonnay we have blended Gin Gin, clone 5 and clone 3 fruit from the Wallcliffe, Treeton and Wilyabrup sub-regions of Margaret River. These sub-regions have a long history of producing wonderful, fine Chardonnays with all the underlying power we have come to expect from Margaret River.
Individual machine and hand harvests were crushed, chilled and pressed into tanks for a 3-4 day settling. All batches were then racked and warmed before either going into barrel or tank to undergo wild/ inoculated fermentation. Some batches were fermented with higher grape solids to promote a savoury element in the overall blend. The barrel fermented portion was fermented in 3-4 year old puncheons, we wanted the fruit to shine through and not be inhibited by oak flavours. In contrast to the other Chardonnays in the Flametree range, 50% of the Embers Chardonnay was inoculated for MLF, giving the wine greater softness and texture.
The nose displays nectarine, pear and melon fruits that combine with honeysuckle notes derived from the older oak and lees. The palate is full flavoured with ripe tropical fruits and butterscotch notes. Extended lees contact in barrel and tank has added weight and mouthfeel to the palate. A nice cross section of fruit flavours, texture and hints of creamy lees are the hallmarks of a very strong 2018 Embers Chardonnay.