This Chardonnay is bright gold in colour, with a trademark mineral note on the nose and hints of integrated French oak. A fine but firm palate with great acidity, texture and length.
The Geelong sub-region of Victoria has a cool climate with maritime influences. The three acres of By Farr Chardonnay vineyards were planted in 1994 and are at an elevation of 120 metres on a north-east facing slope with red soil over limestone. A variety of viticultural techniques are used, from cover cropping and mulching, eliminating herbicides and conserving moisture, to only using organic sprays on the vines. The clones used for the Chardonnay are a mixture of Dijon clones and Penfolds 58.
The 2017 vintage was one of the longest on record, characterised by relatively dry conditions with little disease pressure. Cooler weather also ensured the grapes retained good levels of natural acidity. The harvest began on 9th March, which was a week later than on average.
Fruit was hand picked then whole-bunch pressed. The solids were chilled before being put into barrel, 35% of which was new French oak. A natural fermentation occurred over the next two to three weeks at low temperatures. Once fermentation had finished a small amount of stirring helped start malolactic fermentation which finished by mid-spring. The wine was then racked, fined and lightly filtered before bottling 11 months after picking.
Winemakers Gary Farr and son Nick are behind By Farr. Gary has made wine in Australia (at Bannockburn) and Burgundy (he worked 10 vintages at Domaine Dujac) since the early 1980s. Today, from 33 acres in Geelong, 80 kilometres southwest of Melbourne, they make small quantities of single vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that rank with Australia's best.