The most exciting new wine in Beechworth: Piano Piano single vineyard chardonnay 2010

If you want to understand what the pure essence of Beechworth granite soil chardonnay is, there are only two wines that you need to drink: at one end of the spectrum: mature vines, layers of complexity, power to accompany the finesse drink the Giaconda chardonnay 2010 (above $100 per bottle).  At the other end of the spectrum: first wine produced from this new vineyard, a very subtle hand on the winemaking allowing the delicate fruit to be expressed and not overwhelmed is Piano Piano chardonnay 2010 ($35 per bottle).  Perhaps there is something in the fact that they are near neighbours.

The Piano Piano wine is not a Giaconda copy: in fact, although Marc Scalzo (winemaker and owner) knows the Giaconda wines well, there are many, many more winemakers attempting to copy the Giaconda style quite explicitly.  The piano piano wine is restrained: restrained oak, very delicate yeasty (funky) complexity, and restrained in flavour.  This doesn't mean it is wimpy or watery, but it is certainly elegant.

What makes this wine (and the Giaconda) typical of Beechworth granite soil chardonnay is the tight structure  and the minerality of the fruit. It serves as the backbone of the wine, around which the layers of flesh, complexity and flavour can be built.  As time goes by, this wine becomes more giving and fuller in the middle palate.  Most of the reviews have come from a trade event in Beechworth in January 2012 when the wine was very young: it had lovely structure and class, but some bigger wines looked better at that young age.  Now it has revealed another layer.  Unfortunately, it is all sold out: try the newer vintages from the winery website and poke around bottle shops and wine lists for the 2010.  Given that this is the first vintage, you can be assured that there will be many more to come of equal quality.  I haven't tasted any shiraz from the winery's Beechworth vineyard, but I am looking forward to doing so.

Score 4/7 Value: very very good.  Drinking well now and will for another 5 years (but I think in our house we have easily drunk a dozen bottles already this year)


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