Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay 2003

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Celebration pairs well with the extravagant. In that spirit, upon finishing my second year of law school, I found and opened the last bottle of Yattarna in BC. This is one of Australia’s top Chardonnays and was initially an attempt to bring world class sophistication to white wine in Australia. I tried this on its own and with two fantastic cheeses: a brie de meaux and a brebiou sheep’s milk cheese. Two french cheese with a classically styled Australian Chardonnay.

The first point of notice: the colour, viscosity, and purity of liquid crystal in a glass. The nose was refined toasty peaches and several different nuts. This chard was very classic in its perfect tang and balance, with orange rind and a hint of lemon. This was crisp and silky in the mouth simultaneously and cut the palate perfectly. With the brie the Yattarna became rounder and smoother while cutting the palate more subtly. The brebiou brought out floral scents in the wine while the wine brought out the subtle flavours of the cheese rind. In some ways this reminds me of a really top class Chablis.

I decided not to give this my top rating, however, because I was hoping for a bit more complexity in the flavour profile. The texture, poise, and balance were outstanding, however. But let no one accuse Penfolds of making boring chard – this is world class stuff that has a distinct blend of old world bracingness and new world roundness and depth. A perfect way to celebrate the passing of one more year of school.

$93 at BCLDB (all gone, and supposedly not being ordered anymore)


  1. Edward
    April 23, 2008


    Congratulations! Two to go?

    What a great wine to celebrate with. There has always been a little bit of controversy about Yattarna. The aim, as I undestand it, was to create a ‘white Grange’, ie Australia’s best white wine, and the early efforts (which I really liked) have not had the longevity. I think the style is improving and the most recent releases are better than ever.

  2. Shea
    April 23, 2008

    Thanks! It certainly was a fantastic wine, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it aged well.

    Only 1 year left actually. And I’ll be going on exchange to UC Berkeley (right next to San Francisco) for my second semester next year. So expect a lot of California wine updates as of 2009!

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