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A text book modern Adelaide Hills Chardonnay: 2022 M3 Chardonnay, Shaw + Smith

A text book modern Adelaide Hills Chardonnay: 2022 M3 Chardonnay, Shaw + Smith

'M3 has become a classic wine of first resort', Andrew Caillard MW, The Vintage Journal

2022 M3 Chardonnay, Shaw + Smith
£140 per 6 bottle case in bond

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With a Burgundy-buying hat on, I often find myself “coming back to” white Burgundy as the benchmark for Chardonnay of tension and restraint, even with the challenges of climate change. There are numerous notable exceptions and the Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills is one such example. As Andrew Caillard MW, who established the Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine, writes: “M3 has become a classic wine of first resort with buyers wanting consistency and reliability.” While complimentary, this does also undersell this wine which, as so many Atlas clients know from previous vintages, is of exceptional quality and incredible value.

The M3 Chardonnay stands out thanks to the vision of the founders Martin Shaw and Michael Hill-Smith MW; from the outset, the goal was to achieve elegance and freshness. We began offering this wine with the 2018 vintage, from which point we could clearly see the results of the successful evolution of the style. Shaw + Smith was established in 1989, and a bespoke winery was later built in 2000 in order to give control over the handling of the fruit. The Lenswood vineyard, from which the core of this wine derives, is a steep vineyard sitting at 500 metres in altitude and was acquired in 2012. It is dedicated to Chardonnay that was originally destined for sparkling wine production, such was its cooler profile. The fruit retains its acidity, and this is evident in wines that show a precision and energy which underpins the beautifully healthy ripe fruit. The winemaking is incredibly sensitive, focused on fully harnessing the fresh ripe fruit. The bunches are pressed whole and the fermentation takes place in French oak barrels, where it remains for nine months.
The 2022 vintage was another cooler vintage, following on from the 2021. It began cool, which resulted in a smaller crop. The growing season then continued with a mild summer, allowing for slow fruit development, with the final few weeks towards harvest warming slightly to promote full fruit ripeness. The sort of conditions a Burgundy producer would now crave!
We have just tasted the 2022 M3 Chardonnay, Shaw + Smith, which we are delighted to offer here at £140 per 6 bottle case in bond. It certainly shows compelling restraint and balance. The subtle smoky, flinty notes on the nose give way to fresh citrus and white peach fruit with a touch of mint. The palate shows a lightness of touch, a poise and direction, with fresh orchard fruit and citrus returning on a long, mouth-watering finish. This is so clean and more-ish, with a near weightlessness not often found in New World Chardonnay, particularly at this price point. Thoroughly enjoyable already, this will drink from now to 2030.
The winemaker’s stated aim is elegance, restraint and the ability to age, with bright acid allied to generosity of flavour. In this the M3 Chardonnay is a resounding success yet again. Many of you will need little encouragement, having followed this wine for a number of years already. But if you are yet to try Shaw + Smith’s M3 Chardonnay, I cannot recommend it highly enough for quality and value. You will not be disappointed.
Please see below the notes of respected Australian wine critics and Masters of Wine Andrew Caillard and Ned Goodwin.

2022 M3 Chardonnay, Shaw + Smith
£140 per 6 bottle case in bond

95 points, Andrew Caillard MW,
The Vintage Journal, April 2023

Pale colour. Lovely white peach, nectarine, grapefruit tonic water aromas with grilled nut, hint marzipan notes. Delicious drinking wine with plentiful peach, nectarine, apricot flavours, fine chalky textures, classical creamy notes and underlying marzipan, hint vanilla notes. This is a text book modern Adelaide Hills Chardonnay; not a long term keeper but it’s brilliantly balanced and ready to enjoy. Like Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, M3 has become a classic wine of first resort with buyers wanting consistency and reliability. Drink now – or keep for a while.

93 points, Ned Goodwin MW, Halliday Wine Companion, February 2023
A sleek, mid-weighted & highly contemporary chardonnay, embellishing a pungent mineral chassis with roasted cashew, nougat and curdy creaminess. Vanilla-cedar oak, an integrated framework. Apricot pith, white peach and nectarine, too. The acidity, palpably natural of feel and really juicy, towing impressive length. Among the better recent iterations of this rightly popular cuvée. 

Looking forward to hearing from you.
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Atlas Fine Wines Ltd. 

Blackwell House, Guildhall Yard
London, EC2V 5AE
T: +44 (0) 20 3017 2299
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