Radenti Chardonnay Pinot Noir

Claudio Radenti started making his cult sparkling wine at Freycinet two decades ago, but lack of demand shut production down between 2002 and 2011. He has now recommenced production at a miniscule 500 dozen. When I visited recently he opened every vintage back to 1993 and, pending a good cork, I was stunned by the seamlessness and confident endurance of the best seasons. 1994 and 1997 were still magnificent, and 2002 is their equal. The early years had just 4-5 years on lees, as will the 2011 when it eventually lands, but release cycles have blessed the 2002 with an entire decade on lees, the longest of any Radenti to date, and perhaps the longest we’ll ever see. The result is magnificent depth and full-bodied complexity, with refreshing restraint and remarkably pale colour for a sparkling wine of this age. It’s layered with complex notes of biscuit, roast nuts, brioche, bubblegum, lemon and grapefruit, with the generosity of stone fruits and hints of fig. A two-thirds majority of chardonnay keeps things focused, accenting fine, mineral structure. Best price direct.