Halliday 97The Real Review 96The Wine Front 94
Yarra Valley

2021 Toolangi F Block Chardonnay

The Collective Review

Although Toolangi is a vineyard and label steeped in of history the region, in recent years new ownership and confident viticultural and winemaking changes have breathed new life into this Yarra Valley gem.

Read more
Back
“Sourced entirely from the 2001-planted, .4ha F Block. The fruit was whole-bunch pressed to French barriques (25% new) and fermented using natural yeasts; 40% mlf with no lees stirring. A bright green-gold hue. There's a lot going on here. Aromas of ripe white peach, acacia, wet stone and a little discreet toast from the perfectly handled and already integrated oak. Mineral, textured and slippery, the palate is both structured and very well balanced. Finishes super long and, as good as this is now, those that have the patience to lay some down for two to five years will be well rewarded.” Philip Rich, winecompanion.com.au Read more
Critic Reviews
Expert Review
97 POINTS
Philip Rich - Halliday's Wine Companion

“Sourced entirely from the 2001-planted, .4ha F Block. The fruit was whole-bunch pressed to French barriques (25% new) and fermented using natural yeasts; 40% mlf with no lees stirring. A bright green-gold hue. There's a lot going on here. Aromas of ripe white peach, acacia, wet stone and a little discreet toast from the perfectly handled and already integrated oak. Mineral, textured and slippery, the palate is both structured and very well balanced. Finishes super long and, as good as this is now, those that have the patience to lay some down for two to five years will be well rewarded.” Philip Rich, winecompanion.com.au

Expert Review
96 POINTS
Stuart Knox - The Real Review

"A bright lemon yellow in the glass. Lemon-balm, struck flint, oyster brine and smoky bacon-fat aromatics. Serious power and intensity from the entry: it fills the palate with peachy fruits, stony minerality and smoky nuttiness. A melange of flavours that are all enmeshed in a fine, yet taut web of acidity that carries it long, long and longer to the finish" Stuart Knox, The Real Review

Expert Review
94 POINTS
Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

“Nectarine, ginger and spiced oak, a whisper of fennel, maybe some grapefruit and lemon zest. It’s spicy, a little saline, some toasted nuts, a light chalky feel to texture, bright acidity, and a zesty gently sappy finish of good length. Nice wine. Tight, savoury, tangy, and good to drink.” Gary Walsh, The Wine Front

Back
Technical Attributes
Back
Tasting Notes

It’s a layered and complex Chardonnay with a powerful depth of flavour and impressive structure. Intense, with notes of nectarine and flinty salinity, the density, flavour and fleshy texture are underscored by chalky phenolics and a whiplash of acidity. It is tensile and coiled, finishing with a vivid comet’s tail of pristine fruit flavour. Superb.

Back
Winemakers Note

Toolangi’s ‘Block’ wines are produced from the most privileged, low-yielding parcels of the Dixon’s Creek vineyard. In particular, the F Block Chardonnay is cropped from the vineyard’s highest and coolest area, abutting the Toolangi State Forest. The soils here are relatively shallow and rockier, resulting in low yields of intensely flavoured fruit complemented by lovely natural energy. Simply, this block—home to 19-year-old vines of the Gin Gin clone—has been identified as growing the best of the best Chardonnay that this Toolangi produces.

 

The 2021 was hand-picked on the 27th of February and whole-bunch-pressed with full solids straight to oak (25% new). Both primary fermentation and (partial) malolactic were powered by wild yeasts. The wine then spent 10 months on lees without stirring before bottling. 

Toolangi
This long-established, yet relatively undiscovered Dixon’s Creek gem has entered a new and exciting chapter and are well on their way to receiving the accolades and recognition a site and team of this calibre deserve. The fruit and wines from this respected vineyard have always been highly respected and sought after, and in the past, the winemaking was outsourced to a gamut of respected and talented Australian winemakers, including Rick Kinzbrunner of Giaconda.

Back in 2017 Helmut Konecsny, the owner of Rochford Wines, purchased Toolangi Vineyards and immediately started ringing in the changes. Under this new, hands-on ownership and with talented young winemaker Kaspar Hermann at the helm, Toolangi have the wind in their sails. In Hermann, the Toolangi vineyard has found its winemaking Prince Charming. In addition to Mount Mary, where he worked as assistant winemaker for eight years before joining Toolangi.  Hermann’s CV includes stints at Seville Estate, Coldstream Hills and Punch. Working alongside Hermann is viticulturist Brian Heslop. A Kiwi by birth, Brian cut his teeth in some of Aotearoa's most venerated and visionary Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards: Pyramid Valley and Bell Hill. He also brings to the table a commitment to sustainability and biodiversity, embracing organic, biodynamic and regenerative practices in the vineyard.

Although Toolangi is a vineyard and label steeped in of history the region, in recent years new ownership and confident viticultural and winemaking changes have breathed new life into this Yarra Valley gem.

Together, the pair’s chief goal is to bring the vineyard back to the heart of the Toolangi story, with the focus on rejuvenating and upgrading the work in the vines. This was, after all, one of only two Yarra producers to engage the services of renowned soil scientist Claude Bourguignon, when Bibendum Wine Co. brought him out to Australia in 2018. Bourguignon’s recommendations have already begun to be implemented, including the transition to under vine cultivation and the reduction of inputs in the vineyard… And the work continues.

Hermann is steering the winemaking towards a less worked style, ensuring further purity, finesse, structure and elegance. It didn’t take this talented craftsman long to develop a distinctive and cohesive identity as compared to those of Toolangi 1.0, which, as mentioned, was the product of a roster of external (if very talented) winemakers. In the vines, Ammerlaan presides over some prime Yarra Valley real estate. First planted in 1995, the Toolangi now boasts 13 hectares under vine. An ideally situated vineyard, located right next to the Toolangi State Forest—its well-drained, gentle slopes and a coveted north-east orientation only begin to tell the story of this appealing, unique and characterful vineyard.  

When Helmut Konecsny arrived in 2017, the original plan was to condense the range into just two tiers of wine—the Toolangi and Toolangi Paul’s Lane labels. But the vineyard had other ideas—in searching to revive the unique DNA of this site, the team quickly realised the individual personalities and quality coming from the vineyards’ exiting Block parcels was simply too great to pass up. These ‘Block’ wines are produced from the most privileged, low-yielding parcels of Dixon’s Creek vineyard. In particular, the F-Block Chardonnay is cropped from the vineyard’s highest and coolest area, abutting the Toolangi State Forest. The soils here are relatively shallow and rockier, resulting in low yields of intensely flavoured, bright and finely structured fruit. We’ve tasted many a Puligny of lessor quality. And so it goes with the E Block Pinot Noir sourced from two rows of 18-year-old MV6 vines.

What a difference just a few years can make. Taking nothing away from Toolangi’s fine history, the triple whammy of new ownership, full control of winemaking and the introduction of a talented new winemaker has breathed new life into this already fabulous grower. If you do not know the wines, we strongly suggest you take a look. 

 

Back