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2018 Voyager Estate MJW Chardonnay - 'Sophisticated winemaking and top-notch fruit selection come together in this perfect vintage'

September 2021

2018 ‘MJW’ Chardonnay, Voyager Estate
£325 per 6 bottle case in bond

 

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I have been fortunate enough to access a very small number of cases of 2018 Voyager Estate ‘MJW’ Chardonnay. The allocation is small as the volume produced is tiny – in fact in 2017 they made about 80 cases!
 
This estate has been on my radar for a while as I recall their wines showing well several years back. Add to that the fact that I consider 2018 to be a very good Chardonnay vintage across various major Australian regions, and I consider our purchase something of a result!
 
This Margaret River estate is based around 14 hectares of original vineyard planted by Peter Gherardi in 1978 when the estate was known as Freycinet. It only took on its modern-day form when it was sold to Michael Wright in 1991. Today the estate has expanded to encompass 112.5 hectares in the Wallcliffe subregion, including plantings of Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion and Chenin Blanc. Michael could easily see the potential of this site in the Stevens Valley and his foresight has led to the estate’s continued success.  Today, Voyager remains an independent, family-owned estate, run by Michael’s daughter, Alexandra Burt. Sustainability is more than a watchword for Alexandra and under her guidance the estate is on the cusp of organic certification. In the process, they have planted over 70,000 trees to bring back to life cleared farmland and to slow surface water run-off. Water management is taken seriously here and the estate employs a state-of-the-art irrigation system that conserves precious water resources.
 
I was so impressed by the 2018 ‘MJW’ Chardonnay and could easily see why it was rated so highly in James Halliday’s influential Wine Companion, where it scored a whopping 98 points placing it right alongside the much better-known Leeuwin Estate Art Series. When you read the note from the Wine Companion, please be assured that the reviewer is not a relative of whom I am aware, though hopefully wine credentials do go with the surname!
 
This is undoubtedly a Chardonnay with a very bright future; the estate’s winemaker Steve James commented that 2018 offered ‘perfect ripening conditions’ and has resulted in ‘an outstanding expression of our pinnacle MJW Chardonnay.' His words are certainly borne out by the wine in the glass – please see my full note below.


2018 ‘MJW’ Chardonnay, Voyager Estate
£325 per 6 bottle case in bond

This is essentially a selection of the very best barrels of Chardonnay, made from Dijon clones. Pale in the glass, the fruit really opens on the nose with air; notes of juicy nectarine, peach, toasted nut too. Ripe and satiny in texture, this is not an overt Chardonnay – its cool maritime climate is certainly in evidence, but it does not suppress the juiciness of this expression. Despite the Dijon clones, this is no Burgundian wannabe with clever winemaking tricks, it is an immensely classy cool-climate Chardonnay. This will require a little patience as you are left in no doubt that it has more to give, gently creamy, but not overplayed, with nuances that nod to the exotic yet a markedly limey citrus finish. This 2018 shows terrific persistence with nutty, leesy touches lingering long into the finish as well as notable tang of ripe stone and citrus fruit. Hugely impressive and a bright future assured. Drink 2023-2034. (SL)

98 points Erin Larkin winecompanion.com.au
The pinnacle. A culmination of different clones, parcels and processes. The Gingin clone brings explosive power and density, Clone 95 provides linearity, line, focus and acidity. Partial mlf (50%) softens the 95 on the palate, and 10 months' maturation knits the whole piece together. Sophisticated winemaking and top-notch fruit selection come together in this perfect vintage.

Please note orders are unsurprisingly limited to one six bottle case per client!
 
And if you are interested, I have even less of their flagship 2016 MJW Cabernet Sauvignon (£360 per six bottle case in bond); a beautiful example of one of the region’s finest Cabernets, which scored 97 points with James Halliday’s Wine Companion. I won’t write a note here as I would be in danger of overselling it, but it is a remarkably pure example from a standout year. Enough said, I think!
 
Please let us know of you interest

All the best,
 
Simon


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