I think this wine represents the best Chardonnay that I have tasted (to date). I first tried it at Guillaume at Bennelong back in October 2006, and I have been looking forward to drinking it again ever since! Here's what I thought back then:
Our glasses were now filled with a 2005 Shaw & Smith M3 Chardonnay which excited
me to no end. It was like a new direction in Australian chardonnay - there was oak, but
almost as soon as it began it was over, rather than leaving a long, sharp note in the mouth
as is so often the case with oaked wines.
It was also served when we dined at Quay. (Thanks to gigglznwrigglz for the reminder.)
After a great start, our group was energised for the next dish, incidentally served with what
I considered to be the wine of the night, a 2005 Shaw and Smith M3 Chardonnay from the
Adelaide Hills, South Australia. We first tried this wine when we dined at Guillaume at
Bennelong, and it is simply the softest (lightly) wooded chardonnay I have ever tasted.
I was curious as to know why it is so good. The first answer is that it is handpicked from a single vineyard, in one of my favourite regions for Australian wine - the Adelaide Hills. The vineyard is called M3, and it looks like this:
The second reason involves the way the grapes are crushed - these are pressed on the whole bunch. Generally I like wines that are made from free-run juice (that is, the juice that just runs out, with just the weight of the grapes pressing it, rather than juice that is forced out by pressing processes). So it makes sense to me that whole bunch pressed would be better than single grape pressed.
The third reason is that it involves a secondary fermentation process called malolactic fermentation. It is basically where tart apple flavoured malic acid breaks down into a more buttery flavoured lactic acid. So it is desirable in wines like Chardonnay, but would ruin a nice crisp Riesling for example. This probably all points to a skilled wine maker, and in the case of this baby, there are two - Michael Hill Smith and Martin Shaw.
All these things come together to make the 2005 Shaw & Smith M3 Chardonnay my favourite ever Chardonnay - and what's more, this is far from my favourite varietal of wine, so it's got to be bloody good to make me go wow! Drink some today and see for yourself!
Shaw & Smith
Lot 4 Jones Road, Balhannah, SA 5242
Ph: +61 8 83980500
Fax: +61 8 8398 0600