For Atlas to regularly offer a particular wine, year in, year out, it really has to be noteworthy for both its quality and consistency. Well, the 2014 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Curly Flat certainly tick that box. Simon's offer, below.
As I have commented before, there is an uncommon precision and poise to the wines of Curly Flat; they have real definition and age incredibly well. Situated near Lancefield in the Macedon Ranges, Victoria, altitude is a key determining factor for the quality of the wines, with the vineyards ranging from 400 to 700 metres above sea level. The cool temperatures delay maturity and consequently the harvest in the Macedon Ranges is one of the last to take place in all of Australia. Such conditions are ideal for Pinot Noir, which benefits from a longer season, and for creating restraint in Chardonnay.
I would also add that winemaker Phillip Moraghan insists on exacting standards, ever keen to edge quality higher, whether it be by fruit selection, or the implementation of biodynamic principles. I first encountered his wines in 2004 and they have impressed me ever since. Since then I have had the chance to taste stunning, mature examples of both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and they have repaid the faith in storing them.
Comparatively few critics have tasted the Curly Flat range – they are not far off a well-kept secret given that production volumes are understandably small. However, Jancis Robinson is one critic who has tasted the range and has even become something of an advocate for Curly Flat. She once commented of an early vintage of the Chardonnay, that it was ‘an absolute dead ringer for mature white Burgundy’ and that ‘the French should be force fed with this (Curly Flat Chardonnay)’. Not confining her praise to the Chardonnay, Jancis also added that Curly Flat produced ‘some of the finest Australian Pinot Noir’.
I know I have used the comments above previously, but they stand true with the 2014s.
The 2014 vintage was by no means straight-forward. Frost is a potential problem in spring, which was comparatively cool, delaying flowering. Summer was characterised by a heatwave with drought-like conditions – Curly Flat’s poor soils, forcing the vine to sink its roots deep, and targeted irrigation were considered key in the vineyard to avoid heat-stress. After the heat-spike, temperatures cooled allowing gradual ripening and good acidity levels to be retained. Some rain at harvest posed little by way of problems after a fairly tumultuous year. The resultant wines are fascinating, showing good generosity but also very fine poise…the 2014s continue a rich vein of form for this superb estate.
Please see below for my full tasting notes.
2014 Chardonnay, Curly Flat
£340 per 12 bottle case in bond
Typically pale in hue, with coaxing the aromas here reveal characters of citrus-oil allied to riper, juicier more exotic fruits. The first impression of the palate is one of admirably ripe, stone and orchard fruits with a distinct stoney, mineral-like quality in the background. This has that complexity borne of judicious use of oak and extended lees ageing that adds intrigue. As ever with a young Curly Flat Chardonnay, the palate tightens to the finish, leaving you with a mouth-watering, limey finish that refuses to fade. A little patience here will be rewarded. An excellent Chardonnay. Drink: 2019 to 2025. (SL)
2014 Pinot Noir, Curly Flat
£375 per 12 bottle case In bond
There are such appealing, fresh red berry nuances on the nose of the 2014 Curly Flat Pinot Noir, with a lifted, floral intensity. Given the summer conditions, the palate shows outstanding balance; yes, there is that generous, silky, plush texture that is common to so many vintages of this wine, but there is a more brooding quality to the 2014, suggesting a vintage that will age well. Juicy notes of spiced raspberry and summer berry compote start to fan out but this is a vintage that shows restraint. The freshness shown is a key facet of this wine and will ensure that it has a long life ahead. A very fine vintage with such a fine textural impression. I wouldn’t be surprised if this warrants further praise after time in bottle. Drink: 2020-2028. (SL)
Please let us know of your interest. Please also note that volumes are limited and this is an avidly followed estate chez Atlas.
To request a wine, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Atlas team. We can be reached on +44 (0)20 3017 2299, email@example.com or by submitting the form below. Please note that stock may be limited and is always sold on a 'first come, first serve' basis.