2018 Payten & Jones, Valley Vignerons chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia
About £23.75, London Wine Shippers, 020-7622 3000; Bottle Apostle, 020-8347 7577; Ex Cellar, 01372-461187
I steamed around a huge Aussie tasting the other day and loved revisiting a large number of my 100 Best Australian Wines from this year’s report in the same room at the same time. I kicked off my nationwide roadshow a few weekends ago at the Tate Britain with a huge tasting and dinner, celebrating wines from this year’s report and also pulling older 100 Best beauties out of the cellar.
I am always on high alert for Australian wines that are of 100 Best quality and, by chance, Troy Jones from Payten & Jones flew over from Barcelona where he is working on a top-secret Priorat project, to just join us for dinner and have a yarn. This prompted me to remember his epic VV chardonnay, which I had tasted only days earlier. Australia really is making the most remarkable and evocative chardonnays in the world right now.
For the price of a dodgy bottle of Chablis you can drink this sensational, pristine, pin-point accurate beauty, and it shines a light on not only its region – the Yarra Valley, which is home to oceans of delicious chardonnay – but also on its maker. Jones makes a wickedly naughty syrah, called Major Kong, which challenges every fibre of your being with its irreverence and attitude, but he can also turn his hand to a languid, shimmering, mountain-lake-cool wine like my featured chardonnay.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)