Jilyara Heath Road Chardonnay, Margaret River
A generous palate of lemon curd and yellow peach with creamy cashew/macadamia notes and well-integrated toasty oak. A fine citrus acid line drives the wine to a long, flavoursome finish.
The grapes are harvested in the cooler, early hours of the morning and transported directly to the winery. The fruit is then gently pressed to minimise phenolic pick up from the skins. After settling overnight, the juice is racked with a moderate amount of solids into a combination of new and old French oak barrels. The juice is wild fermented by yeasts that occur naturally on the grape skins and in the winery. The wine sees some lees stirring towards the end of fermentation and periodically throughout maturation to build texture on the palate. Sulphur is added post-fermentation to discourage MLF (malolactic fermentation) and retain freshness. After 10 months in barrel the wine was blended, filtered and bottled.
"Elegant and wonderfully persistent, this stylish chardonnay shows nectarine, lemon pith, vanilla and cedar characters on the nose, leading to a mouthfilling palate that is texturally delightful and lingering. The wine offers impressive presence and poise, finishing extremely long and refined. At its best: 2020 to 2026."
94 points, Wine Orbit (May 2019)
Located three hours south of Perth, Margaret River is Western Australia’s most prestigious wine-growing region. Serious vineyard development began only in the late 1960’s following the publication of a report by John Gladstones in 1965 stating that the area had a similar climate to Pomerol or St Emilion, with low frost risk, plenty of sunshine and equable temperatures within the growing season promoting even ripening. Margaret River’s climate is warm and maritime, with some cooling influence provided by southeast trade winds. The soils derive from granitic and a gneissic rock over which laterite has formed. The region can be divided in three sub-regions: the cooler south between Yallingup and Karridale with predominantly lateritic gravelly loamy sands and sandy loams; the warm and sunnier Willyabrup in the centre with predominantly gravelly loams, but some gritty sandy loams and granitic gravels; and Margaret River in the north with similar soils, but slightly cooler temperatures. This is entirely consistent with style; the wines from Willyabrup being more generous than the highly structured wines of the north and the elegant styles of the south. Margaret River is best known for high quality Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends and top notch Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends. Over the years, the region has established an astonishing reputation illustrating a consistency in quality and a strongly focused winemaking culture.
Family-owned and operated, Jilyara is located in Wilyabrup, in the heart of the Margaret River wine region. The Cotterell family put down roots when the vineyard was planted in 1996. Today, these maturing vines sit on a north-south slope amongst undulating valleys, shielded from the elements by a nature reserve. The nine-hectare vineyard is worked by Craig, from mulching to pruning to netting, with minimal use of contract plant keeping the volume low, all the better to hear the rolling of the surf and the buzzing of bees.
The bees keep busy in four hives at the corners of their vineyard. Their role has less to do with the immediate attention of the vines—the vines already receive plenty of love from Craig and his family—rather the bees support the healthy ecosystem surrounding the vineyard. And their importance is recognised by the winery. The winery’s icon is of the golden bee and the name ‘Jilyara’ is derived from ‘Djilyaro’, meaning ‘bees’ in the local indigenous Noongar language.
Jilyara offers wines across three tiers–The Williams’ Block, Heath Road and the delightfully named Honeycomb Corner.