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Bannockburn S.R.H. 2009

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Bannockburn S.R.H. 2009
Producer Bannockburn
Region, Country Geelong, Australia
Bottle Size 750ml
Product Code 10262-750

Bannockburn's tête de cuvée, the S.R.H. comes off the oldest Chardonnay vines in the Olive Tree Hill vineyard and is named in recognition of Bannockburn's founder, Stuart Reginald Hooper. These twelve rows of 37 year old vines are dry grown with roots well embedded in the ancient marine sediments that form the bedrock in the area. 2009 was the polar opposite of the 2011 vintage: the very dry conditions resulting in the lowest yields ever seen at Bannockburn. Michael still counts it as a miracle that the vineyard produced any grapes at all. While the old close-planted vines in the Serré vineyard succumbed to the feral conditions (no Serré was produced in 2009) the Stuart and S.R.H. parcels managed to squeeze out a nominal 500g per vine. Glover picked pretty early and fermented "wild" in 1/3 new barriques (lightly toasted Tronçais) and left the wine on gross lees, in puncheon, for a full two years. It was then transferred to tank for a further year on its fine lees. This three-years-on-lees method (trialled on the 2008 Three Years on Lees Chardonnay) is a first for this cuvée but it's a practice that has secured its place in future releases of the S.R.H. Michael believes the natural austerity of the S.R.H. fruit not only favours such treatment, it positively warrants it. The evolution in the élevage of this cuvée in recent years seems to be emphasising more of the overt saline/mineral characters that the site's unique terroir brings to the wine. Earlier picking - searching for weight and texture via low-yield fruit rather than alcohol - and extended lees ageing are only partially responsible. The 2009 also sees return to a full malo (the 2008 was half malo). We agree with Michael that these 'tweaks' are responsible for showcasing an ever more vivid and authentic expression of place in this wine. From 2010 S.R.H. onwards the wood regime takes in two 1200 litre ovals - Mamut and Vesuvio, as Glover calls them - with more truly exciting results.

Bannockburn S.R.H. 2009

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