2019 Bear Chardonnay

With a nod to Tantalus proprietor Eric Savics’ eldest son Eric Jr., affectionately known to many over the years as “Bear”, this wine was crafted from our youngest blocks and made in a crisp and lively style.

Pale yellow in colour, expressions of Meyer lemon zest, Gala apple and white flowers emerge on the nose, accented by a sea breeze freshness and a hint of toasted hazelnut. The palate has lifted notes of green melon, ripe apple and oyster shell. Light and bright with a lovely creamy back palate, and all juxtaposed with a refreshing lift of acidity. While this wine is well-suited to be a weekday sipper, it has enough depth and complexity to be a feature at any dinner table. Balanced, mineral - and really just delicious.

Fruit for this wine was sourced from our young gun Chardonnay block and was handpicked and vinified in small lots using entirely wild fermentation. The wine was crafted in a combination of stainless steel and neutral French barrels, ensuring the purity of the fruit was maintained with just a wisp of oak present. At only 6 years old, this young vineyard is already showing incredible potential and we are very excited to see the site evolve and develop in years to come.


Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Alcohol: 13.5%
Residual Sweetness: 2.9 g/L 
pH: 3.53
Total Acidity: 5.6 g/L


Our 2019 growing season was not without its challenges. Winter started unusually warm and dry but took a turn late in the season with sustained temperatures below -20 C arriving in February. Vines suffered from a range of winter damage. As a result, drawn out and uneven bud break was evident in several of our vineyard pockets. Conditions turned more favourable in May allowing delayed shoots to catch up. However, rain set in towards the end of June and periods in July, keeping the vineyard team on their toes regarding crop protection and canopy work. 

A warm and dry August gave us ideal ripening conditions and set us up for harvest to begin on schedule.Despite the struggles during the growing season the first grapes destined for sparkling base were picked on September 5th in perfectly healthy and ripe condition. Dodging rain showers throughout the rest of September, harvest continued until early October when the first frost caused the vine canopy to drop and us to bring in the remaining parcels of fruit. Although yields are shy from 2019, the wines have so far emerged as beautifully nuanced with restrained alcohols and purity of fruit.