Tuesday, April 5, 2011


- Adelaide Hills, SA
- $35-$53
- Screwcap
- 13.5%alc

Shaw and Smith's M3 sits confidently at the fashionable end of Adelaide Hills chardonnay. The top vintages are wines of immense character, combining genuinely ripened cool-climate fruit with well balanced winemaking tricks. Personally, I consider the style to reflect a happy middle ground between worked and restrained, although a winery employee recently told me the M3 is more about typically modern, cool-climate restraint and refinement. Judging by the 2009, he's right.

The fruit aromas within Shaw and Smith's 2009 appear consciously restrained, or minimal even. Frozen bananas and grapefruit? Maybe. But what is there is savoury, nutty and lightly spiced, like hazelnuts and nutmeg, with wild yeast/barrel ferment influences depositing the most fragrant tones. The palate is marked by Shaw and Smith's typically creamy announcement and a pleasing length drawn out by polished, brisk acids, concealing a rather delicate, savoury flavour profile also reflective of lees and nuts, with a quick spark of mineral tinged white nectarines barely turning on a light. Initially, there's a lack of oomph on the mid-palate, which could've been brought out by a bolder fruit component, but it does flesh out over the course of a bottle.

O Because I have such high standards for the label, I'm marginally in two minds here. Either way, the 2009 is clearly not as spectacular in its youth as recent M3s, but I'd still love to see it in a couple of years. Drink 2013-2015.
91 points


  1. hmmm, interesting. I agree that previous vintages of this wine have struck a very nice balance between elegance and power, but this sounds like its caught the lean and mean trend that many Oz chardonnays are displaying at present.

  2. Aye. For $20-$25 I'd actually be quite happy with this though, but for $40...