Wills Domain Paladin Hill Chardonnay 2020
If forced to pick one wine from the latest releases from Wills Domain, this would be it (the Matrix would be a very close second). This is a Chardonnay which can sit comfortably among the ranks of the elite Margaret River wines. It might fly largely under the radar at the moment, but do not expect that to last. Sourced from various blocks in Yallingup, this was, as is usual with this estate, hand-harvested while the grapes were still enjoying the cool of the morning. Transported to the cool room for a 12-hour stint and then whole bunch pressed into barrels with only the free run juice used. The team believe that this contributes to “the
fine tight structure of the wine”. Natural yeasts were utilised as they provide for a slower ferment and more complexity and there was no malolactic fermentation. The wine spent 8 months in barrel with the most minimal stirring regime. The oak is 100% French, 40% new with 225-litre barrels from Latour and 500-litre barrels from Sirogue. Then the best part of a year in bottle before release.
The result is a superb wine – complex, balanced, intense and refined. It is both concentrated and yet elegant with a gentle hint of cashew nut and a touch of oak, but it is well integrated. Ginger, fresh summer greens, melon and a hint of a lovely crème brûlée character. There is length and focus with a supple texture and great length too. A wine which maintains its intensity throughout – always a good sign. This is a cracking Margaret River Chardonnay, whether you are planning on enjoying it now or over the next five to eight years.