Ngeringa says “A blend of our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, both of which are planted on our steep easterly facing Summit Vineyard at 380m above sea level on a delicate soil of sandy loam. In the distance, this vineyard overlooks Lake Alexandrina and the mouth of the River Murray, lending strong, cooling breezes on summer evenings and preserving our fruit acids and flavours through the critical weeks of ripening. A non-vintage sparkling made using the ‘méthode traditionelle’ with a 50/50 blend of the 2012 and 2013 vintages. The base wine blend is made up of 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir and was fermented using endemic yeast and aged on lees for one and two years respectively in 6 to 10 year-old French barrels. After final blending and tirage each bottle spent a further year on secondary fermentation yeast and was disgorged mid-January 2015. Zero dosage to maintain a dry, crisp fresh palette.”
I say this is a stunning sparkling. All the care of their growing and winemaking is shown in this wine. Beautifully aromatic, crisp and clean on the palate. It is engaging and refreshing. Éclat has been bottled under a crown seal so there is no issues with faulty corks.
Erinn Klein’s parents started Jurlique and when they sold this was the new project. With his wife Janet they make thoughtful, perfumed wines from their Mount Barker base in the Adelaide Hills. They have five hectares of vineyards across three different sites that are, of course, biodynamic. The wines are well made and there is a refreshing pragmatism to their philosophy. Ngeringa are one of my favourite Australian producers.
This is a big and varied region that basically stretches from the top of the McLaren Vale all the way to the bottom of the Barossa. This means there is a big scope for climatic conditions. In the central part where its altitude is quite high you can get some of the best sites in the world for Sparkling wine. In the slightly warmer parts of the centre, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme with Riesling, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc worthy of honourable mentions.
This is the most elusive grape. It is relatively early ripening and extremely sensitive to terroir. Its perfect place on earth is the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. So haunting are great red Burgundy’s charms that growers everywhere try to emulate them. Pinot Noir is not just a one trick pony, it can make great reds, rosé, sparkling and even sweet wines, whites on occasion and I’ve tasted a decent fortified Pinot Noir too. Adding body, perfume and richness to Champagne it also adds red berry and floral/rose petal notes along with spice and subtle layers.
The grape that you can plant anywhere, in any climate and do anything to and it will still taste like an OK wine. When people hit the sweet spot of site, climate, cropping and winemaking, Chardonnay becomes a magical wine that will age gracefully but charm you at any age. Chardonnays can range from cool climate lean and citrusy to warmer climate tropical and overt. Oak and lees can add flavouring as can malolactic fermentation. In a Champagne context Chard can add mineral flavours, stone fruits and acidity along with some weight of fruit.