Tuesday, April 26, 2011


- Padthaway, SA
- $16-$25
- Screwcap
- 13.5%alc

As I scan the front label of Orlando's St Hilary, I notice the fine print; 'St Hilary is an elegant dry wine vintaged from grapes grown in Padthaway, a region which has earned an international reputation for premium Chardonnay.' If that's the case, then I hope Orlando continue to release a Padthaway chardonnay; namely St Hilary, which, if anything, has shown itself to be appropriately valued over the years.

Typical of the label, there's a sly yet clear whiff of human intervention evident from first sniff. There are cheesy touches of malo, as well as spicy vanilla oak and yeast on the nose, with its fruity interweaving supplied by aromas of candied white peaches and melon, in a slightly brassy manner that does require more lift and fruit freshness. The palate is medium-full and fractionally round, yet it just seems to cower away when it counts, leaving the mouth feeling fairly nonplussed. Unfortunately, it finishes a little loose, brassy and perhaps warming to boot, as its buttered popcorn-like oak coated flavours of sweet green melon fruits lack the definition, shape and tightness of Australia's pace-setting $20 chardonnays. Overall balance is an issue, although it seems marginally better by night's end.

X For a label and a brand some might consider 'lost', this wine seems just that (and I normally like St Hilary). Drink to 2013.
86 points

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