Hoddles Creek Estate 1er Chardonnay 2021

Hoddles Creek Estate 1er Chardonnay 2021

Sale price$65.95
Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Style: White Wine

Variety: Chardonnay

Closure: Screwcap

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Hoddles Creek Estate 1er Chardonnay 2021

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Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124

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Producer: Hoddles Creek Estate

Country: Australia

Region: Yarra Valley

Vintage: 2021

Critic Score: 98

Alcohol: 13.2%

Size: 750 ml

Drink by: 2040

A Chardonnay of supreme class, line up for this one - Steve Leszczynski

James Halliday Top 100 Wines of 2022

Led by winemaking guru Franco D'Anna, the team at Hoddles Creek produce wonderful chardonnay year in, year out that seriously overdeliver at the price-point. The wines are made from fruit grown on their family vineyard in the Upper Yarra Valley. The Hoddles Creek Estate 1er Chardonnay is their flagship chardonnay.

"The bouquet is ethereal yet arrests attention, but it's the amazing intensity of the wine on the palate that's breathtaking. The grapefruit/white peach duo meet their match with the electrifying acidity, creating layers of flavour that are welded together, yet never say too much."  James Halliday

The grapes for this Chardonnay are sourced from the SRM block of Hoddles Creek's Top Paddock vineyard and is made only in the years deemed suitable for this label; i.e when Franco considers the quality to be outstanding. It's fermented in minimal new oak, to allow for the fruit to speak with clarity. It's Yarra Valley, high altitude, made in the Burgundian style, produced in small quantities and is of world class standard.

"Fortuitously, in 1960, the D'Anna family had purchased a steeply forested 25ha property which in 1997 they set about planting. Almost overnight, glorious pinot noirs and chardonnays started to flow at prices that were irresistible – and still are."  James Halliday

"The vintage 2021 was a delight. Cool weather without rain events or heat spikes, has resulted in a wine with substance. Fuller than the 2020 1ER Chardonnay but not without poise or structure. This wine will be long lived and think one of the best 1ER Chardonnay's we have made.

A better understanding of our vineyards has led us to believe that certain blocks excel year after year. These blocks have always been treated separately to enable us to fine tune viticulture and winemaking in the thought of releasing some single block wines in the future. Well that time has come. Our Top Paddock vineyard was originally planted to 100 per cent Pinot Noir. In 2003, I decided to graft one block over to the Bernard clones of Chardonnay (95, 96, 277). I selected the best clones and the most balanced vines for cuttings. The block I selected was Easterly facing on the crest of the hill. I was always fascinated how Chardonnay on this block would go. The vineyard is 50 metres higher in altitude than the existing Chardonnay block.

Chardonnay from the Top Paddock has always had a different growth structure than our normal Chardonnay blocks. Positioned on top of the hill has meant the vines have had to work harder as the soils are poorer. Crop levels are never an issue with this block, with natural crop levels at one tone per acre. Minimal shoot thinning and positioning occurs in Spring. After this, we let the vines sort itself out. 

In the winery, we treat this wine as we would normally treat all our Chardonnay.. The Chardonnay is picked in the early morning, and refrigerated down to 2⁰C for 12 hours. Then it is gentle destemmed, not crushed and pressed into tank. The juice is left to settle clear for 7 days with no enzyme or acid addition. The wine is then fermented till dryness using cultered and natural yeasts. The wine remains in cask for 12 months with occasional battonage. The wine is not filtered, not fined, or stabilized before bottling."  Franco D'Anna, Winemaker

Expert reviews

"The bouquet is ethereal yet arrests attention, but it's the amazing intensity of the wine on the palate that's breathtaking. The grapefruit/white peach duo meet their match with the electrifying acidity, creating layers of flavour that are welded together, yet never say too much. Drink by 2041."  James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion - 98 points and Top 100 Wines of 2022 and Special Value Wine   

"A good year for the Yarra Valley, and perhaps a more powerful iteration of 1er Chardonnay as a result. Nectarine, lemon zest, aniseed, some spicy cinnamon oak, but also very saline and savoury. It feels chalky, with grapefruity acidity through more nutty flavours, very tight and intense, though no shortage of flavour and length. A certain amount of width through the palate, and yet feels linear and stretches out with gently oxidative and salty character. Very distinctive, almost a Jura-like thing happening, which is all very nice, and it runs slightly peppery in the aftertaste. Excellent. Drink : 2023 - 2031."  Gary Walsh, The Wine Front - 95 points

"A Chardonnay of supreme class, line up for this one. Unfined and unfiltered, it was allowed to settle and then bottled. The fruit was destemmed and this 1er is noticeably more weighty than its Syberia sibling. Above all, it's just delicious. Mouth-filling with sexy feels, some pineapple and grapefruit acidity cuts through. Tense, the more time it saw in the glass the more it opened up so give it that opportunity to shine. Upon doing so, white fleshed stone fruits and nectarine skin rise up as does lemon juice and some ginger-like spice. The more I peruse the more it demonstrates the effort and handling. As Franco says, 'we just want to show what the vineyard does'. Yep, classy stuff indeed. Drink to eight years+."  Steve Leszczynski, Qwine - 95 points

"Pale lemon-yellow colour with a lifted aromatic profile showing white peaches and smoky reduction. Tightly focused on entry with stone fruits, smoky bacon savouries and a line of saline minerality adding character. Great length and while it feels taut there's ample fruit power to carry it long. Drink: 2023–2031."  Stuart Knox, The Real Review - 95 points


James Halliday Top 100 Wines of 2022
Special Value Wine – Halliday Wine Companion  ★ 

Franco D'Anna

Hoddles Creek Estate

In 1960 Tony and Bruno D'Anna purchased their future vineyard in the upper reaches of the Yarra Valley at Hoddles Creek, chosen due to the presence of a small creek which provided a natural water supply. Ironically the property was bought completely without vineyards in mind – merely to grow vegetables and run some cattle – and well before the potential of the Yarra Valley as a wine region had re-emerged after a long hiatus. 

It was not until the nineties, when interest in small wineries exploded around the country, that the D'Annas made the logical leap to plant vines at Hoddles Creek. Mario Marson, who was viticulturalist and winemaker at Yarra icon Mount Mary, assisted in the planting of traditional varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with the surprise addition of Pinot Blanc, which has turned out to be one of the star wines.  With their now highly successful Boccacio Cellars wine business behind them, all the pieces were in place to return to serious winemaking and again follow in the steps of their forefathers. 

For Tony's son, Franco D'Anna, the path into the family business was almost a foregone conclusion. On finishing a commerce degree at the University of Melbourne he moved straight into a buying role for Boccacio Cellars but never quite settled. "I did this for a few years but never loved it. I went out to the vineyard to help out after planting and never left. I loved being outside, not enclosed within four walls and working flexible hours. On the vineyard I'll start work at 5am and then go play golf in the afternoon. What's not to love about being a farmer?" 

But Franco still lacked the technical knowledge and he knew it. So Franco went back to university – this time studying Applied Wine Science – which was followed by vintages with James Halliday at Coldstream Hills as well as overseas in Burgundy, Sicily and Piedmont. What those experiences have given him, combined with a lifetime surrounded by wine, is a unique take on classic Yarra Valley styles which centers on fruit quality. "Without good fruit it's impossible to make good wine. I have four staff members, and we spend 90 percent of our time in the vineyard." 

Winemaking is also relatively natural and in true Italian style concentrates as much on mouthfeel and structure as the more traditional Australian flavour-oriented wines. "We are lucky enough to grow grapes in an area where additions aren't really necessary. We don't add acid, enzymes, filter so there isn't much manipulation in the winery." And what stands out is that these winemaking philosophies are imprinted on each and every wine under the Hoddles Creek and Wickham Road labels which are unique, characterful and savoury expressions of the modern Yarra style. They are also delicious and generally made to age.

The above text was taken from an article by Angus Hughson published in Winepilot

About the winery

Hoddles Creek WineryHoddles Creek Estate was established in 1997 when the D'Anna family decided to establish a vineyard on the property that has been in the family since 1960. The vineyard sits astride Gembrook Road and adjacent to Hoddles Creek. Its steeply sloping blocks prohibit mechanical harvesting, with both vineyards being hand pruned and harvested.

Initially, 8 hectares of pinot noir and chardonnay were planted to the steepest slopes on the vineyard. More pinot noir and chardonnay, plus some pinot blanc followed in 2001, with cabernet sauvignon, pinot gris and sauvignon blanc coming later still. Franco, whose twin brother, Anthony, takes the reins at the store and for their prolific wine importing arm, Mondo Imports, first worked onsite in 1998, and it skewed him away from a career employing his commerce degree (Melbourne University) to retraining as a viticulturist at Charles Sturt.

The first commercial vintage at Hoddles Creek was in 2003, in their just-completed bespoke winery. All the wines, which are single vineyard, estate grown, are made in the 300 tonne winery. The split-level winery has a barrel store located three meters underground. Mario Marson (ex-Mount Mary, now Vinea Marson) steadied the course in the early days, but it was not long before Franco was in full charge, with the mandate to make the best wines he possibly could.

Hoddles Creek produce two tiers of wine, their Estate range and their flagship '1er' (or Premier Cru) range with fruit from certain blocks that excel year after year. Along with the established range, Franco has started bottling single block wines as he starts to see distinct micro-site variation with the vines hitting meaningful maturity. In the vanguard of these bottlings is a chardonnay from the coolest, most elevated and steepest blocks, 'Syberia'.

Hoddles Creek's mission is to produce terroir driven Yarra Valley wines of the highest possible quality sourced from impeccably farmed old vines with a focus on balance, complexity, concentration and ageability. They also lay a serious claim to being one of the best value producers in Australia.

In addition to the wines of their Yarra Valley vineyard, Hoddles Creek also produce an entry level range under the Wickhams Road label. Fruit is sourced from vineyards in Gippsland, Yarra Valley, King Valley and Yea. Hoddles Creek have become as well known for their dazzlingly economical Wickhams Road range as for their premium bottlings, as they are perennially the best-value chardonnay and pinot noir in the market.

Sections of the above text are taken from an article on Franco d'Anna that appeared in Young Gun of Wine

Wine region map of Victoria


Victoria is home to more than 800 wineries across 21 wine regions. The regions are Alpine Valley, Beechworth, Bendigo, Geelong, Gippsland, Glenrowan, Goulburn Valley, Grampians, Heathcote, Henty, King Valley, Macedon Ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Murray Darling, Pyrenees, Rutherglen, Strathbogie Ranges, Sunbury, Swan Hill, Upper Goulburn and Yarra Valley.

Victoria's first vines were planted at Yering in the Yarra Valley in 1838. By 1868 over 3,000 acres had been planted in Victoria, establishing Victoria as the premier wine State of the day. Today, the original vineyards planted at Best's Wines are among the oldest and rarest pre-phylloxera plantings in the world.

Victoria's climate varies from hot and dry in the north to cool in the south and each wine region specialises in different varietals. For example, Rutherglen in the north is famous for its opulent Muscats and Topaque and bold reds, while the many cooler climate regions near Melbourne produce world class Chardonnay and pinot Noir. Victoria is truly a wine lover's playground.