Last year’s label change freshened up the face of Chalmers to reflect the bright personality and vibrancy of the family, their wines and their approach to grape-growing. The first two of these new-look wines to roll vintage are the Vermentino and Rosato, both skipping gaily onto 2019 at the same time.
As climate-change awareness grows and curiosity draws more and more people towards these lesser-known varieties, Chalmers becomes as important a name on the wine scene as it has long been in the real of viticulture.
They’ve put each of these varieties, and many more, under the microscope. They’ve asked themselves time and again what they need in the vineyard and winery, and what they offer to the contemporary consumer. They’ve shifted to organic viticulture while homing in on the very finest blocks for their own fruit sources. They’ve finessed the wines and refined their offering. To take full advantage of this process of perfectionism, they’ve seized the reins on the production side, building a winery and handing the winemaking mantle to Kim’s charming and talented husband, Bart Van Olphen.
2016 Chalmers Felicitas RRP $43
100% Fiano grown at an elevation of 150-170m on the red Cambrian soils of the family’s vineyard in Heathcote. Picked on 2nd February 2016. Handpicked fruit was pressed as whole bunches before traditional-method vinification with 27 months on lees. Zero dosage at bottling. Vegan friendly.
The wine is perfumed, elegant and refreshing, with notes of daffodil, nougat and crunchy peach.
Fiano vines imported by Chalmers in 2001.
First Fiano produced by Chalmers 2013.
“An unusual sparkler made from fiano and lees aged for 27 months. Pale and fragrant, with aromas of figs, stone fruit and nougat, it’s appealing, clean and appetising. A foaming mouthfeel and soft mid-palate are enhanced by a crisp tang and a light drying grip on the finish. Crown seal; 12.5 per cent alcohol. 90 points.” Ralph Kyte-Powell, Sydney Morning Herald
2019 Chalmers Vermentino RRP $27
100% Vermentino from the Chalmers vineyard in Heathcote on rich, red Cambrian soil, sitting 150-170m above sea level. Handpicked, whole bunch pressings and wild fermentation before the wine sits on less for 6 months. No acid adds. Vegan friendly. Clean and crisp, this Vermentino shows lemon verbena, brine and white nectarine with an overall chalkiness leaving you wanting more. – Kim Chalmers
Vermentino vines imported by Chalmers in 2002
First Vermentino produced by Chalmers 2004.
2017 Chalmers Fiano RRP $35
100% Fiano handpicked from the red Cambrian soil in Heathcote. Harvest took place on 17th March 2017. Whole bunch pressed and wild fermented, the wine begins its aging with 30% in chestnut botte, then 10 months on lees in stainless steel tanks. No acid adds. Vegan friendly.
This Fiano has tantalising notes of dandelion, pine needle and lemon curd.
Fiano vines imported by Chalmers in 2002.
First Fiano produced by Chalmers 2005.
“Chalmers Fiano from Heathcote is quite concentrated with a nose reminiscent of lemon tart, almond, yeastiness, and subtle hints of herbs like aniseed. It has rich intensity, with tangy balance of lingering ripe flavours that hint slightly at sweetness, counterpointed by lip-smacking acidity. Delicious. 92 points.” Ralph Kyte-Powell, Sydney Morning Herald
2019 Chalmers Rosato RRP $27
Handpicked from the Chalmers Heathcote vineyard on soils of ironstone, colerite, green basalt and quartz, at an altitude of 210-225m. This blend of 73% Aglianico, 14% Sagrantino and 13% Nero d’Avola is whole bunch-pressed and wild fermented in stainless steel. The Aglianico is aged in old barrique and the Nero d’Avola and Sagrantino in stainless steel. Six months on lees. No acid adds. Vegan friendly.
Vines imported by Chalmers in 2000 and 2001.
First Rosato produced by Chalmers in 2009.
2018 Chalmers Lambrusco RRP $43
100% Lambrusco Maestri from the Chalmers Vineyard in Heathcote, where these vines grow at 150-170m on red Cambrian soils. The grapes are handpicked before traditional-method fermentation. The wine spends nine months on lees and is given 4g/L dosage at disgorgement. Vegan friendly.
Made in a dry, aperitif style, this vibrant wine displays notes of violets, blackcurrant and spice, with a slight but affirming tannic grip.
Lambrusco Maestri vines imported by Chalmers in 2001.
First sparkling Lambrusco produced by Chalmers 2012.
2018 Chalmers Nero d’Avola RRP $27
100% Nero d’Avola handpicked from the vineyard in Heathcote, from soils of ironstone, dolerite, green basalt and quartz. Handpicked and wild fermented as whole berries. Unfined and unfiltered. Vegan friendly.
Vibrant and juicy, captivating raspberry and cherry with graphite notes and fine tannins.
Nero D’Avola vines imported by Chalmers in 2000.
First Nero D’Avola produced by Chalmers 2009.
“Fleshy, jovial, gently sweet but fresh feeling wine of vim and vigour. Cherry-cranberry scents and flavours, more cranberry tang to taste, right through to tart-crunchy finish. Summery kind of wine with huge drinkability. Joyous stuff. 90 points.” Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
2016 Chalmers Aglianico RRP $43
From the highest part of the Chalmers Heathcote vineyard where Aglianico plantings are established atop the Mt Camel ridge at 225m elevation, in rocky Cambrian terrain. Handpicked, wild fermented as whole berries, then basket pressed prior to aging in chestnut botte. Unfined, unfiltered. Vegan friendly.
The wine has lovely lavender, plum and cocoa notes, with fine building tannin.
Aglianico vines imported by Chalmers in 2001.
First Aglianico produced by Chalmers in 2004.
“Excellent. It’s a wine of gravity and presence. It tastes of bright berries, florals and leathers and and when it says goodbye it shakes your hand firmly. It’s not heavy but it means business. 95 points.” Campbell Mattinson, Halliday Wine Companion
2017 Chalmers Appassimento 375ml RRP $48
100% Lambrusco Maestri handpicked from the Chalmers Murray Darling vineyard of red sand and limestone. The grapes were naturally rack-dried and wild fermented. 1.5kg of grapes in every bottle. Vegan friendly.
Luscious, mouth-coating wine of balanced sweetness (140g/L RS) with notes of dark cherry, dark chocolate and black cardamom.
Lambrusco Maestri vines imported by Chalmers in 2001.
First Appassimento produced by Chalmers in 2009.
The aroma and flavour of pure, rich prune and crushed, woodsy spices. It’s soft, mouthfilling, well-balanced and exceptionally easy to drink. It’s a curio, but a good one. The word ‘pure’ should be emphasised. 375ml. 93 points. Campbell Mattinson, Halliday Wine Companion 2020