Region: Adelaide Hills, SA
First Glance: Chiselled, nutty, mineral
Acclaim: 95 points
A young Andre Bondar caught the wine-bug back in 2001 and between then and starting Bondar wines with his wife Selina in 2012/13, he amassed an impressive bag of vinous experience. Years of working at wineries both domestically, in the US and in France, including a transformational stint at Rhone producer Alain Graillot, led the couple to start their own project, making wines after their own ideals. And so they have, to great critical acclaim, from the elevated Blewitt Springs area in McLaren Vale, as well as with purchased fruit from trusted growers in the Adelaide Hills. The vinous DNA of Bondar is one of medium-weight and supremely detailed wines that are non-dogmatic at their core, yet still manage to feel like classic expressions of their respective sites.
The Chardonnay is sourced from a single vineyard in Echunga in the Adelaide Hills. Hand-picked and lightly pressed straight to barrel sans sulphur, the juice was allowed to ferment naturally in french oak barrels (about 25% new) for ten months.
95 points, Ned Goodwin MW, Halliday Wine Companion
Wild-yeast fermentation in (25% new) barrels, spontaneous malolactic and lees work, sans stirring in lieu of the low-yielding hot year. While I find the array of Mediterranean varieties at this estate compelling, this is exceptional chardonnay from the Hills. Riveting! A core of nougat, cashew, vanilla pod and oatmeal cream, with rims of mineral pungency and a frame flecked by stone-fruit references, sweet and savoury/sour. A thrilling tussle between extract, energy and structural binds." -