2018 Joshua Cooper Old Port Righ Chardonnay
Described by wine commentator Mike Bennie as "one of Australia’s brightest young winemakers”, Joshua Cooper is steadily forging a reputation for thoughtful, elegant, and confident wines from grapes grown in Macedon and surrounds. His Old Port Righ Chardonnay comes from 37 year old vines on the historic old “Portree Vineyard,” one of the originals of the Macedon Ranges. A late ripening, windblown site at 600m altitude, at the Eastern extremity of the region, just outside township of Lancefield. Unusually for the Macedon Ranges the soils are Cambrian intermixed with patches of granite. Ben Ranken and his wife Sally Richardson have owned the vineyard since 2014, lovingly nurturing it back to its full potential and renaming the property “Wilimee” under which they label their own wines.
The wine sees one year in oak on full lees, no stirring, and no racking, then transferred to stainless steel with all the fine lees for a further 6 months elevage. Before racking and bottling, unfined and unfiltered. The only addition to the wine is a small dose of sulphur the week before bottling.
Lancefield in Macedon Ranges is the feature of this chardonnay. This is of course from Ben Rankin’s Wilimee vineyard, on Cambrian soil, planted in 1982. The Old Port Righ sounds like a pub in Central London. On my mind, because I am staying above one right now as I publish this note, and am heading to the west coast of Scotland and may just pass through Port Righ there.
Smells like crushed rocks, flint, green apple and citrus with a faint blossom floral lift. Pretty. Has some juiciness in the palate, a little more relaxed in feel with saline characters, stony-slatey things and a feel of green apple juice splashed lightly over all of that. Serious. Touches of reduction/wet slate happening too. Amazing persistence. Tightly bound wine needs some time to evolve and open.
Mike Bennie - Wine Front