Many of the winemakers I know are deeply thoughtful and intense individuals, committed to their incredible craft, and singularly focused on bringing their imagination to we lesser form of humans who don't make wine, but love to drink it, to experience it and to share those thoughts. And then there are winemakers like Ben Haines.
Beyond being a thoughtful and committed practitioner of the vinous arts, Ben is a further step ahead. In his words 'The preservation of place from the vine to the wine requires a very gentle, sensitive and confident touch.' This is so incredibly obvious in the magic that is the 2020 Love in a Mist.
Haines doesn't just make wines, he crafts them with impeccable finesse and pure imagination. From the Swallowfield vineyard in Gembrook on the outskirts of Melbourne, adjacent to the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, this Chardonnay lands at just 11.2% alcohol. While the alcohol is restrained, nothing else is. The nose is bright and punchy, with notes of honeysuckle flowers, apple, pear, melon and honeycomb with herbaceousness and some wet straw hints. Its utterly intoxicating and promises so much.
The palate is beautifully layered and textured, with a bright and linear acidity with suggestions of lemon curd and honeydew among the layers of fruit and floral influence. Unfiltered and aged on lees, this is barrel fermented and allowed to just be. There's no buggering around with it and we experience in the glass the incredible patience Haines takes to make clever, adult and very sophisticated wines.
There's plenty of length here, chewy texture and layers of complexity but it's also a little wild and left of centre. The thing it has in spades, is balance. The wildness is tempered by good winemaking and an artisan's deft hand and considered palate.
To say I love this is possible an understatement but I know it will fast become a little special treat I allow myself each month for hard work done.
VIC | 2020 | Yarra Valley | 11.2% ABV