Almost three years ago I reviewed the 2004 Bridgewater Mill Chardonnay, finding it assertive but stylish and one of the best value chardonnays around. Three years on and a lot's changed for Petaluma's second label; new ownership (hello Kirin), new winemaker (bye bye Croser) and new labels which I don't quite comprehend (supposedly lining up their entire range gives you a landscape sketch of the Adelaide Hills). To be blunt, I think they've been on a downhill slide since peaking with this wine.
Mid yellow/straw, it's scented with a nutty, oily, layered fragrance of wheatmeal, melon, quince and grapefruit aromas, displaying good lift, clarity and integration of fruit and oak. Evenly developed and luscious yet fresh and inviting, there's suggestions of pungency along its melted butter texture, which unloads a savoury edged expression of bright, quirky chardonnay character with hints of toast and flint, all wrapped in soft, creamy, refreshing acids.
ü+ Generously worked and deeply flavoured, this superb little wine states the benefits of short term aging for some of our better, more affordable chardonnays. It's still easily the best wine I've had under this label. Drink to 2010.