2009 Holyman Chardonnay

2009 Holyman Chardonnay

Gary Walsh

11 July 2011 / The Wine Front

I tasted this at the end of my session last night and got so excited it caused me to let out an involuntary Tweet. I'll re-taste it tonight to see what's happening, but think I got its number.

Meal, white flowers and tight acid mixes it up with honeydew and nectarine ripeness. There's a pleasant sulphide funk and oxidative flavour adding complexity too, along with gentle dusty spicy oak in the background. Love the ample creamy glossiness that's shot through with a controlling acid core. Almond, milk and savouries add further intrigue. A supple, subtle experience. Not a fight, a seduction. Long flint and creamed honey finish with lemony acid cleaning up. Righteous Chardonnay.

Drinking it made me feel content. Entry into the land of milk and honey is $45.

Patrick Haddock


If you were to give this wine a character, I think high class call girl would be just the ticket. She appears clean but she's a little bit grubby and gives you more than you paid for, so happy endings all round really. I don't mean this in a bad way, it's an alluring trait, because under the prettiness there's a little sulphide stink, a bit of feminine funk might be a choicer turn of phrase.

You can get lost in a nose like this, complex, expressive and evocative. It smells of citrus, peach skin, some vanilla and oatmeal and an indication of oak that is paired back rather than being in your face, but still lending a note of complexity. The palate delivers a burst of peach, some lemon tart and pastry notes, a rounded texture and some really delicious spicy oak character. The natural acids draw it all to a long conclusion with impressive citrus length persisting on the finish. So much flavour, so little alcohol, you've got to love that.

Andrew Graham

Rated: 18.2, 93+ / http://www.ozwinereview.com

If you want a classic example of the sort of goodies that Tasmania can produce, then look no further than this Holyman Chardonnay. Made by Joe Holyman at his Tamar Valley winery, this is produced off vines that are now almost 25 years young (which is rather old indeed for the Tamar) and crafted in a thoroughly modern fashion. Think vineyard selections, whole bunch pressing, wild ferments and careful oak. Attentive winemaking and great grapes.

In the glass it looks thoroughly modern too, walking the tightrope balancing out acidity, underplayed fruit and oak, layered with some yeast derived complexity for good measure. At first I thought it leaned too far towards the sexy, spicy oatmeal oak and grapefruit acid style, but as it warmed in the glass the white peach fruit pulled everything back into equilibrium again.

A tight, restrained and very well formed wine, the beauty here is just how linear that acidity looks, an utterly natural expression of just ripe Chardonnay fruit and a steady winemaking hand. All it needs is just a little more time to put on weight in the bottle and it will be a megastar.