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Cuvee 500 is an idea born from winemaker Glen Thompson in 2008. ’2008 was a heatwave season so Glen was looking at cooler sites’, explains Buckle. The Cuvee 500 refers to vineyards that sit at above 500 metres, Whitlands Plateau in King Valley (three vineyards), Strathbogie (where the second Chandon vineyard is, around 70 hectares at this stage), and Macedon. The wine spends four years on lees, ‘bit more acid, bit more power’, says Buckle, ‘so it can handle it well’.

One of those really precise sparkling wines, showing cut of acidity, tight, vigorous, squeaky bead, trim, lean shape and a wonderful vitality. Smells of green apple, alpine herbs, quince and strawberry skin. Citrus and apple flavours, faint brioche too, finishes with touch of briny tang and a beeswax sweetness. But it’s that briskness and quiet power that gets you – and then the sense of refreshment. All up it feels very fine, composed and focussed. Good gear. Mike Bennie; The Wine Front

All of the grapes for the base wine were grown at elevations of 500m or more. The King Valley provides the pinot noir, the chardonnay coming from Macedon and Strathbogie Ranges. Exceptionally pale colour for its age, but has good mousse; the bouquet and palate are complex, with the suggestion of some controlled aldehyde adding to the impact and length. Food style. Rating: 95 Points; Drink By: 2016; Price: $45.00; Date Tasted: 01 Apr 2013 Alcohol: 12.5%; James Halliday Wine Companion

The 2008 Chandon Cuvée 500 Vintage Collection proved exemplary. The ‘Vintage Collection’ will be an ongoing project with a new wine representing a different concept released each year. The 2008 Cuvée 500 name refers to the grapes being sourced from vineyards in the King Valley, Strathbogie Ranges and Macedon all sitting above 500 metres in altitude. An astute choice in a warm year. Detail and form are the keys to the wine. Lemon curd and zest, green apples, red cherries and roasted hazelnuts to the fore. Toasted brioche from autolysis plays a complexing role rather than presenting as a blanketing feature. A terrific mineral/acid backbone. Has some (balanced) sweetness which works in its favour. It just feels good in the mouth. A top-notch combination of delicacy and intensity. Jeremy Pringle


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