03 December 2009

Shaw + Smith 2008 M3 Chardonnay

Recent hot weather has found me reaching for nice bottles of chilled white in place of the big reds that I usually prefer.

And since I've been hearing a lot of wraps on this year's release of the M3, I gladly relieved my local of their last couple of bottles over the weekend. The fact it was also on sale made the decision that much simpler.

You have to be careful with chardonnay though. It is like the girl with the curl - when it is good, it is very, very good. But when it is bad, it can be downright horrid.

I first tried the M3 a couple of years ago - the 2006 vintage - and it confirmed my love of good chardonnay from the right regions.

Happily for Messrs Shaw + Smith, their vines are perched smack bang in the heart of the Adelaide Hills. And The Hills, of course, is a right proper chardonnay producing district - home to such other chardonnay celebrities as Penfolds' Yattarna and the Petaluma panoply.

But while the Yattarna sells for well over $100, the M3 is a much more approachable $30-$35.

And so I iced down a bottle as we toasted to a mate's birthday on a hot Sunday evening. The first pour showed a lovely, light golden colour - like the straw fiasco encasing a bottle of Chianti. The acidity to come was apparent from the way it wrapped its legs around the glass.

Still being a youngster, the aromas did take a while to open up. But by the second glass, it was like sticking your nose into a bowl of ripe summer stonefruit. A fruit platter on Christmas afternoon.

And it is just as pleasing in the mouth. Delicate and refined, but also creamy and smooth. It has a yummy, soft fruitiness with a touch of oak that delivers more wood than Tiger on a cocktail waitress.

This is an elegant white wine that will improve with age gracefully over the next 5-10 years. So, have one now with a plate of fresh prawns and bugs. And stash another away for a special occasion down the track.

M3 is for mmm...mmm...mmm!
Rating: 8.5 (and bound to improve with age)
Drink with: Moreton Bay Bugs
Price: $30-$35

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