Wine Review: 2012 Shaw and Smith M3 Chardonnay

Wine Review: 2012 Shaw and Smith M3 Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, Australia

Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith MW are trendsetters, in wine at least….  Their Shaw + Smith portfolio is focused on just four varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Shiraz. This focus has meant that all four Shaw + Smith wines quickly became, and continue to be Australian benchmarks.  The M3 is the very model of elegance and finesse and makes the balancing act between adding texture and maintaining freshness seamless. According to Martin Smith, “2012 was a dream vintage.  Cool, even slow ripening.”  “Acid levels were great”, he said, and they certainly were.

This is a fresh mouthful of lemon curd tart, complete with biscuit pastry, and some ripe stonefruit.  After wild yeast barrel fermentation and then spending a further nine months in a mix of new and seasoned oak with the occasional stirring of lees, the texture is polished, lush and creamy with a hint of cinnamon that takes nothing from the fresh acid that keeps this Chardonnay in line. No over ripe tropical fruit or oily oak here! The resonant finish is layered, savoury and dry.

You could enjoy the Shaw and Smith M3 Chardonnay youthful vibrance now or let it develop some honeyed age in the cellar for a few years, although it will still retain that fresh structure. With just a couple of years age, I have tasted older M3 vintages beside some excellent Montrachets and it certainly holds its own at a much more attractive price. It is a wine that matches very well with savoury dishes but is very more-ish to enjoy without food as well.

Rating: Excellent (93) | $44 | 12.5%

Shaw and Smith Chardonnay

Image credit: Shaw and Smith

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About the Author:

Lisa Johnston is a Sydney based wine educator, writer and wine business consultant who believes that wine should be fun, sometimes contemplative and never intimidating. After living for 7 years in the UK, many working in wine sales and marketing roles, her aim is to re-explore Australian wine and share the best finds. Thanks to the ever changing nature of wine, in the vineyard, in the bottle and in the glass – this may take a very very long time. For her latest muse, visit

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