Devil’s Lair, “The Hidden Cave” Chardonnay 2012
The Devil’s Lair Chardonnay has always been a wine that is near and dear to my heart, but I can’t help but feel a little jaded since the winemaker, Oliver Crawford, put her once bold and oaky Chardy on a diet. Where once the flavours were full, the texture creamy and the mouth feel buttery if not slightly warm, the 2012 release is lean, mean and slightly green and far less generous than historical vintages.
Don’t get me wrong, the new release is not a bad wine, but it seems that the drive to produce a modern commercially popular style has seen a shift towards a tight, lean palate that exhibits nectarines and fresh stone fruit flavours rather than risk the slightest hint of flabbiness.
There’s still evidence of quality French oak, but it’s somewhat subdued and there is a deal more minerality at the back end than I’m accustomed to finding in a Margaret River Chardonnay. If you let it warm up a little it opens up and the green nectarines become Granny Smith apples with a hint of peach, but it still retains a steeliness at the finish.
No matter what you say about the new tighter style, you can’t argue with the price point as at around $20, it’s very good value.