Category Archives: Chalmers Wines

Chalmers Wines

FelicitasBuy Wine

A traditional method sparkling made from 100% fiano, with no acid additions or dosage, which spent 15 months on lees. The cuvee name is from the Roman goddess of good luck and happiness Felicitas. In ancient Roman culture felicitas (from the Latin adjective felix, "fruitful, blessed, happy, lucky") is a condition of divinely inspired productivity, a quality expressing the close bonds between religion and agriculture.

The 2014 Chalmers Felicitas sits somewhere between a premium dry prosecco and a blanc de blanc in style, it has a distinctly Italianate palate with the savouriness and texture you would expect from fiano. Made using traditional methods, this sparkling fiano shows aromas of lemon, lime, pear and grapefruit. The palate is creamy and crisp with flinty minerality and great length.

"Yellow in colour with green hues; green apple, pear, some blossom and hints of Vegemite and seaweed also apparent.  Some citrus and stonefruit on the balanced palate as well as grapefruit, quince and plenty of peach. Nice, crisp citrus finish; good length."
Best of Tasting. Not the Usual Suspects Sparkling Tasting, Wine & Viticulture Journal

GI: Heathcote, Victoria

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LambruscoBuy Wine

Lambrusco is a dirty word in the eyes of many a wine connoisseur because of it's huge popularity as a cheap and cheerful quaff, especially in the 70s and 80s, but a dedicated bunch of fine Italian producers from Emilia-Romagna have been working hard over the last decade or two to change perceptions about what Lambrusco can be. There is a small but strong movement emerging whose mission is to produce and promote more structured, dry Lambrusco wines. And no wonder - because the variety makes a divine drop when treated with care and attention.

The 2013 Chalmers Lambrusco is intensely fragrant showing purple florals, tobacco, blackcurrant fruit and sweet spices of vanilla, cinnamon and clove. The palate shows bright fruit with savoury notes, refreshing acidity and a lasting tannic grip and fine persistent fizz.

“stylishly dry, full of black cherry flavour and bottle-fermented, like champagne. The very worthy 2013 vintage has just been released”
Max Allen, Gourmet Traveller, March 2014

“Spicy, red fruit, game meat and currant aromas. Big foamy mouthfeel, light in flavour, but shows some good chalky tannin to close. Vibrant expression of fruit, lively and brisk. Very easy to drink, and savouriness works well to counter the subtle Xmas-cakey and gamey fruit profile in the wine. Perfume and vitality are the big ticks here. An exciting development.”
Mike Bennie, The Wine Front, June 2014

GI: Heathcote, Victoria

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VermentinoBuy Wine

The Chalmers family pioneered this versatile Sardinian white variety in Australia releasing Australia’s first home-grown wine from the variety in 2004, a wine that was recently cited by Max Allen in Gourmet Traveller magazine as one of the top 20 Australian wines of the past twenty years. There are now almost 60 producers working with vermentino, growing and crafting some amazing wines from a variety which is clearly thriving in many of Australia’s warmer growing regions.

The 2015 Vermentino is made from the VCR1 clone imported by Chalmers Nurseries in the late 90s. Racy and savoury, this vermentino
shows hints of aromatic herbs and Amalfi lemons. The palate has a chalky texture and fresh, mouthwatering acidity.

Best White Wine Trophy, Heathcote Wine Show 2016

“It’s a crunchy white. It has a bit of spark about it, a bit of texture, and an excellent serve of vigorous flavour. Spice, dry pear, lemony-apple, florals and brine. It’s textural in a dry, engaging, quartz-like way. It’s very good.” 92 Points
Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front

“These Italian varieties need acidity to keep their line and focus, and Chalmers knows that better than most. Lemon drop/zest, apple and citrus with a savoury nuance keeps this in the money.” 93 Points
James Halliday Wine Companion 2017

GI: Heathcote, Victoria

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GrecoBuy Wine

Greco is the name given to a bunch of grape varieties cultivated across Southern Italy, named as such because of the belief that they were brought to Italy from Greece. Whether this is in fact true there have been Greco vines growing in this part of Italy for thousands of years, most notably the strain of greco which makes DOCG Greco di Tufo in Campania and in Puglia where it makes some of the best white wines in the region because of it's high natural acidity.

The greco vines in the Chalmers Heathcote vineyard are Greco di Tufo, imported by the Chalmers family in the late 1990s and planted at Heathcote in 2011. Beguiling aromas of marzipan, juicy white peaches and aromatic spice lead to a chalky, mineral palate of poached quince with appealing phenolic grip and the trademark mouthwatering acidity of greco.

“A little pongy (in a good way) to begin, then opens with plenty of poached pear and pear skin, so has good cut. Creamy too, with a sniff of chamomile. Lots chewy pear skin flavour as well, a touch of arugula bitterness, and a lingering yellow stonefruit kernel finish.” 92 Points
Tim White, Australian Financial Review, February 2016

“This is a super dry white of easy enjoyment, difference and some complexity. Apricot kernel, brine, almond and melon. Light bodied, but flavoursome, smooth glassy acidity, gentle powdery texture, clean finish perfumed with sweet herbs and ripe lemon. Very hard to stop drinking it. I don’t know whether or not I’m rating it too highly, but gee it’s good.” 93 points
Gary Walsh, The Wine Front, April 2016

GI: Heathcote, Victoria

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FianoBuy Wine

Fiano is a grapegrowers dream. This Campania native produces perfectly balanced fruit with little fuss in the vineyard, is drought tolerant and resistant to disease reducing vineyard application requirements, and naturally high in acid, meaning less intervention required in the winery. It has been the best fruit of the vintage at Chalmers on many occasions, which is quite an achievement when you consider there are about 40 different varieties over the two properties.

The Fiano melds delicate stone fruits and almond blossom with savoury lees contact characters and minerality, displaying texture and power in the mouth whilst retaining a fine, fresh finish.

"Straw-coloured. Taut, brooding style. Stonefruits and spice with a subtle cedary-creaminess. Honeysuckle. It gets your juices flowing as you put your thinking cap on. There’s a bit of mineral to this, but the fruit prevails. The dude abides. Perfectly pitched in all ways.” 92 Points
Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front, January 2017

GI: Heathcote, Victoria

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RosatoBuy Wine 

Chalmers’ first rosato wine was released in 2009, from the variety negroamaro. When vintage 2010 came around the sagrantino fruit looked better than the negroamaro, so that became the rosato variety of the year. Since then Chalmers have made rsato from almost every Italian red on their farm. But since 2015 they’re settled into an aglianico/sagrantino blend sourcing the grapes from the highest and most treasured block on their Heathcote property.

The 2016 Chalmers Rosato has a vibrant, pomegranate hue, with prettyaromas of red fruit. The palate is generous yet dry and textural with notes of spice and candied peel. The two blended parcels of tank fermented sagrantino and barrel fermented aglianico make for a balanced and complete wine, and a perfect summer drink.

“Copper-crimson in colour and right on the money for flavour. There’s a musky bubble-gum character here but it’s underpinned by a crushedleaf savouriness and graphite-infused cherries/cranberries. Exotic, it certainly is, but from a platform of dryness. Indeed in rosé terms this feels noticeable ‘structural’. Lay down misere.” 92 Points
Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front, January 2017

GI: Heathcote, Victoria

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Nero d'AvolaBuy Wine 

This workhorse variety from Sicily was first brought into Australia by Chalmers in 1998. Since then there has been a lot of talk in the industry about the variety potentially being the ‘next big thing’ here. It earned the hype due to the suitability of the vine to hot, dry growing conditions as well as the versatility and characteristics of the wines to be made from it. The first Australian wine from the variety was released by Chalmers in 2009, from their original Euston vineyard, now they’re growing it at both their new sites in Heathcote and Mildura.

Selected from our top block which gives a more elegant and perfumed character to the Nero d’Avola grapes from Heathcote, this wine has fresh and vibrant forest fruit aromas of raspberry, blackberry and a hint of savoury spice. Berry flavours carry through on the juicy palate, supported by soft but present tannin.

“It’s a lighter-bodied, soft-skinned red with raspberry and spice-like flavours flowing effortlessly through the palate. It has just enough flavour and more-than-enough refreshment, a lovely combination. It’s jubey but not too sweet; it drinks like a charm.” 89 Points
Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front, January 2017

GI: Heathcote, Victoria

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AglianicoBuy Wine

In southern Italy aglianico is hailed as the noblest of red varieties. In Australia it has proven to produce wines of finesse, structure and elegance in the most adverse of climatic conditions. At Chalmers the aglianico wines have always been considered top-tier reds within the range. To reflect that the latest planting has been established on the prized, top elevation, rocky site on the ridge of the Mt Camel Range at the Heathcote vineyard which is similar in characteristics to the variety’s native terroir.

The 2011 Aglianico is vibrant, showing earthy cherry, aromatic spice and delicate perfume on the nose. The balanced, savoury palate shows subtle fruitcake spices, herbal notes and candied orange rind with a pleasant mouth-watering acidity and the fine, smooth, building tannins you would expect of the variety. An elegant and structured wine with excellent potential for long ageing.

"The first people to import and plant [aglianico] cuttings were the Chalmers family; the just released 2011 Chalmers Heathcote Aglianico is a beauty: pinot-like delicate aromatics and red fruit, followed by nebbiolo-like savoury, lacy, tounge-hugging tannins."
Max Allen, Weekend Australian

"This immediately states it's place with a flint and chargrill note on the nose, an influence of its vineyard as well as winemaking style. Amazing at only 12 per cent alcohol, with medium-bodied balance, great savoury elements and a delicious finish. 4 1/2 stars."
Tony Love, Herald Sun

GI: Heathcote, Victoria

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SagrantinoBuy Wine

One of the most tannic varieties in the world, sagrantino is relatively small player in Italy where there are only about 250 hectares of the grape grown in the Montefalco region of Umbria. Despite this it is a highly revered wine with DOCG status since 1992. It has been growing in Australia since 2000 with the first Australian wine made by Chalmers in 2004. There are now a number of producers making great examples of the variety which has proven to perform fantastically well in both extreme heat/drought conditions and wet vintages like 2010 and 2011.

The 2012 Sagrantino is our first from the Heathcote vineyard where the vines are growing in a special site close to the top of the ridge in deep rocky Cambrian earth. The wine is deep and robust with ample dark cherry and plum fruits. The palate is finer than the nose suggests with the tannins driving all the way through to the finish.

"First release of a Chalmers Sagrantino was 2004 but this is from a young vineyard.  This release is very good. It drinks beautifully. It’s leathery, grainy, grunty, has a lift of redcurrant and an easy slide of creamy/smoky oak. Tannin is the key here, firm and authoritative. But the wine’s leathery, earthen, minerally aspect – combined with oak input – keeps the drinkability factor high."
Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front

"If you like soft, gentle red wine, tune out.  This Heathcote grown sagrantino is formidably tannic, but blackcurrant jam, cedar and leather characters fit perfectly.  It’s medium bodied, succulent and lingering."
Ralph Kyte-Powell, The Age

GI: Heathcote, Victoria

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Sagrantino AppassimentoBuy Wine

Appassimento is the process of drying wine grapes to concentrate their sugar in order to make dessert wine. Italy calls these passito wines, but since this word is protected Chalmers have named their wine appassimento. Sagrantino has been made as a passito wine for thousands of years - in fact the style is much older than the dry table wine from Sagrantino. This kind of sweet wine from a red grape creates an interesting mix of sweetness and tannin which is alluring and unique.

Made from naturally sun-dried grapes, this dessert wine has a pretty nose of dark plum and sweet spices. The complex palate is woodsy with cherry, bay leaf, bitter chocolate and orange rind and an alluring finish balancing drying tannin and sweetness.

"Fascinating wine; the sagrantino must have been sun-dried for weeks on end to dehydrate to the degree there was no obvious juice in the conventional sense, then crushed, macerated and pressed (all with great difficulty) to produce the juice to be fermented (at over 20? baume, I would guess) to ultimately produce this deeply coloured, intensely rich and sweet red dessert wine."
95 Points, James Halliday Wine Companion 2016

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GI: Heathcote & Mildura, Victoria

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