Savaterre Frere Cadet 22'

Beechworth is a remarkable growing area in northern Victoria, and Chardonnay is one of its leading lights. In fact, it’s the leading light…ERIN LARKIN,

I honestly see these wines (from Beechworth) as real challengers to white burgundy – very similarly styled but generally much more consistently clean, friendly and accessible, by which I mean ready to drink sooner… JANCIS ROBINSON MW

Keppell Smith embarked on a career in wine in 1996, studying winemaking at CSU and (at a practical level) with Phillip Jones at Bass Phillip. He has established 8ha of chardonnay and pinot noir (close-planted at 7500 vines/ha), shiraz and sagrantino on the 40ha Savaterre property, at an elevation of 440m. Organic principles govern the viticulture and the winemaking techniques look to the Old World. JAMES HALLIDAY


Beechworth has one of the highest strike rates for premium chardonnay in Australia.  Considering there are just over 30 producers here, it’s not hard to rattle off at least half of the stellar inhabitants in one go. Based in the foothills of the Victorian Alps, there’s a flourish of thrilling chardonnay to be had. Anchored by a core of richness, the style of Beechworth chardonnay counters the nervy and anaemic wines you may encounter elsewhere – and that’s why it has a legion of fans.

Savaterre is small but mighty. Keppell Smith founded Savaterre in 1996 and makes no compromises when it comes to producing some of our country’s best wines. I remember visiting Keppell many years ago in his idyllic set-up at the rolling foothills of the Victorian Alps - classical music was blasting in the cellar to the embryonic new vintage in barrels. We tasted wine outside with

Today we’re offering his 22’ Frere Cadet Chardonnay, which translates to ‘little brother.’ Though this little bro has pedigree – it comes from the vineyard next to Giaconda. It shares the DNA of the top Beechworth chardonnay; rich and perfectly ripe stonefruits provide a cushioned core that is anchored by a shimmering line of rocky minerality. Delicious notes of brioche add to this heady delight, all cajoled into a finely framed cage of quince-like phenolics on the finish. Its opulence is pure pleasure.

2022 was a milder and later-than-average growing season in Beechworth – more time on the vines led to an insurmountable build-up of flavour! Fellow winemaker Rick Kinzbrunner rates 2022 "at the highest end of the scale." It offers a delightful collision of crunchy stonefruits, nougaty richness and spicy oak with a minerally undertow.

These also have an impeccable record of maturing gracefully in bottle, though their overall delivery means they can also be drunk young and have a very wide window for consumption. As Gary Walsh concludes, 'A really good glass of Chardonnay here. Satisfying. Pleasurable. Excellent.' We tasted it alongside another chardonnay double the price, and this was the winner, hands down.

It's a small estate run under the watchful eye of Keppell, quantites are small - we have just 4 dozen remaining.