Lorraine Leheny and Warren Gibson of Bilancia began the Yarra Valley project called Leheny Gibson as a collaboration and experiment in the Australian style. "Lorraine and Warren have a much broader and also more focussed approach to the Chardonnay variety than most wine enthusiasts are aware of. They have created the Leheny Gibson label which is a representation of their collaborative work with their Australian winegrowing friends in the Yarra Valley, Australia (Lorraine hails from Melbourne, so this is familiar territory). It is an exploration of the contemporary Chardonnay style outside of their home in Hawke’s Bay. They have sourced fruit from the Gladysdale district in the cooler Upper Yarra, and made their wines, employing hand-picked fruit, skin and whole bunch input, higher solids in the ferment and natural yeasts for fermentation and MLF. Larger oak formats for maturation are preferred. Lorraine and Warren’s aim "is for wines with extra-added interest, a slightly crooked leg that adds to the appeal rather than detracts”. -- The Chardonnays that Warren and Lorraine make incorporate sulphides which are part of the outcomes of modern winemaking. The complexity here joins detail and other layers of interest from the overall winemaking approach. Their approach is holistic, with the primary aim, as noted above, of having wines that begin their lives elegant and taut, but developing richness and interest with age." Raymond Chan
What The Critics Say
95/100 Bob Campbell MW
Tasted in a four-vintage vertical, this chardonnay seemed quite developed after the youthful 2014, with a mellow texture and some toasty bottle development offering a nice contrast to nut and brand biscuit characters. Good drinking now but with interesting potential. Elegant wine. Drink 2017- 2020.
18.5+/20 Raymond Chan
"Brilliant, light straw-yellow colour with some depth. The nose is elegantly full and voluminous with aromas of white stonefruits, white florals and nutty notes, with complexing suggestions of oxidative elements, and minerals. The aromas are rounded in presentation, but retain a degree of freshness, unfolding herb and waxy detail as it grows in breadth. Medium-bodied, the palate is softly full and mouthfilling with flavours of white stonefruits, nuts, and a complex amalgam of flinty minerals, herbs and waxy nuances. The mouthfeel is smooth-textured, and the wine flows a long a fine line underlined by fresh acidity. The wine is rounded, but balanced by fine phenolic textures providing structure and line, leading to an elegant, soft finish with toasty notes. Match with poultry and pork over the next 3-4 years. Hand-picked Chardonnay fruit from Gladysdale, indigenous yeast barrel-fermented with some skin and whole bunch input, and high solids to 13.0% alc., the wine aged approx. 9 months primarily in 500 L puncheons, around 10% new, with no batonnage, and a natural balance of MLF. Consistent warm and dry growing conditions, with lower yields but full and balanced flavours. 18.5+/20 Jul 2017 RRP $39.95." Drink 2017 - 2021
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