You will find citrus and stone fruit characters on the nose, with a hint of green apple and a whiff of pineapple. Four o’clock is a flavoursome wine, and doesn’t suffer from not spending any time in oak. The wine is super when slightly chilled as an aperitif, and also goes very well with a variety of food – classic roast chicken, mushroom risotto; this is my standard food suggestion, I am not very imaginative, but gee it works well with both dishes.
I asked Joch to give me his vintage report for 2020 and this is what I got verbatim and straight from the horse’s mouth; ‘Looked like a bastard of a year; hot and dry and then it rained in late January and early February and a cool change moved in, which continued through to February and March and these conditions finished everything off nicely. There were tiny yields and so in reality 2020 ended up only a bitch of a year, not a bastard.
The trick to making Chardonnay (and any whites, actually) in a Mediterranean climate like McLaren Vale is to get the grapes into the winery nice and cool, which means they are usually picked at night. Picking in the cool of the night helps maintain acidity. We make our Four o’clock Chardonnay in batches, so that when it comes to blending the final wine, we have a few options to use to create a flavoursome and complex wine.
Some grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks, some are fermented and then left on solids (the yeast which ferments the sugar in the grapes, to alcohol) and all of the components go through a cool ferment to preserve the peach and nectarine characters that we get from our chardonnay. We stop the wines from going through malolactic fermentation, which helps the wine keep its crunchy acidity. None of the wine spends any time in oak.
Picking Date: 19th, 20th and 27th February 2020
Bottling Date: 27th July 2020