Australia, Review, Winemaker Profiles

New Wave: Kooyong Estate Farrago Chardonnay

In the same way as the sculptor Constantin Brancusi sculpted this piece in 1910, the Farrago Chardonnay from Kooyong Estate is spectacularly modern. Kooyong Estate winemaker Sandro Mosele has been peacefuly innovating on the Morninton Peninsula near Melbourne under the radar and turning out classic modern masterpieces.
To say this wine is defined by its minerality is like saying the above sculpture of Brancusi’s Sleeping Muse is only defined by its smoothness. It has a linear feel like Brancusi’s Bird in Space, yet has layers and texture, “quiet” fruit like pear and grapefruit, with very light touch of French oak (only 30% new). The name “Farrago” comes from the name of the corner of the cool-climate vineyard with motley soil of high sand and clay (farrago means assortment, medley) giving the wine its mineral core. There is nothing else like it and what I like about it is that I find no references to French wines.
This is the second time in two weeks I have been jolted out of my complacency. First, Mac Forbes’ Woori Yallock Pinot Noir; now, Kooyong Estate Farrago Chardonnay. What is going on in Australian wine?
These are £30 + wines, handcrafted and sold mainly in top restaurants in Australia. They are not made in commercial quantity for export. Finally we are seeing what is going on in Australia here in the UK. The other Australian is emerging, the one that doesn’t travel as much: the Quiet Australian. It is the new wave.