When it comes to maintaining a high standard of quality, across an entire range, year in, year out, Stefano Lubiana is one of Australia's strictest. Mediocre clearly isn't in the man's vocabulary. Atop his whites sits the Collina, a 'best of the best' chardonnay produced only in exceptional seasons (2003 was the only release prior to 2008). When Mr Lubiana says 'best of the best', you know he means business...
The first thing you'll notice about the Collina is its gorgeous label, and then, of course, what an equally gorgeous wine it is. It's savoury and stylish foremost, yet refined and intricately detailed, unfolding a clean and clear whiff of biscuity oak bitten by pure, mineral scents of grapefruits and lemons, with carefully placed suggestions of white flower, nougat, hazelnuts and cinnamon adding real pizzaz in a wonderfully controlled way. For a fleeting moment, my mind is cast to Champagne. That thought clearly dissipates in the mouth, where it bedazzles with an arrestingly complex yet perfect marriage of intense, penetrative structure and texture, the latter of which reveals an ethereal suppleness and fragility. To say elegant might be understating its smooth, seamless movement of restrained flavour, which slowly unravels pear, crisp vanilla biscuit, apple and citrus, all checked by stunningly clean, mouth-watering, racy acids that match its textural touch for sheer thrill. Contrasting notes of nuts and lemon sherbet in the aftertaste only add to its pleasure. I could write an essay on this, but common sense says no...
ü+ I've been wondering who's going to step forward and claim the as yet undecided crown of Tasmanian chardonnay - one of Australia's most underrated and promising modern styles. Stefano Lubiana's Collina steps forth like a casanova at a hen's party. I've never had a Tasmanian chardonnay like it. Let's just hope it's not another 5 years till the next one comes round. Brilliant. A real keeper. Drink to 2018.