Petaluma's second label was once famed for possessing one of the Adelaide Hills' most exciting sauvignon blancs, but personally, I view chardonnay as Bridgewater Mill's trump card. The ludicrously over-achieving 2004 (93pts) was a standout example of what should be a 'mini-Petaluma' chardonnay.
Brightly lit and cleanly scented in a carefully fruited fashion that might lack forthright complexity, Bridgewater Mill's 2009 nonetheless reveals a citrus driven fragrance of nectarines and melons with a slightly spicy touch of nutty vanilla oak and perhaps a note of soap for varietal funk. Palate-wise, it's juicy and fleshy enough to begin, as it softly unfolds a glossy statement of bell-clear white/yellow chardonnay fruits and creamed nuts that develop pungency down the palate, where notes of sweet white peach and grapefruit emerge. It's well backed by a spotless formation of refreshing, balanced acids, making the whole package look remarkably well made and considerately crafted in the winery. Basically, it isn't gonna set the world on fire, but it's exactly the type of 'built-for-the-now' chardonnay that could (and should) muscle in on the pinot grigio/sauvignon blanc obsessed lunchtime crowd. Full marks to Petaluma for hitting the mission statement right on the head here.
ü Charmingly balanced, elegant and subtle, yet proudly varietal, the 2009 is easily the best release since 2004. It's a real step in the right direction for Bridgewater Mill - precisely the sort of chardonnay they should be releasing under this label. Drink to 2013.