Archive for the ‘Sauvignon Blanc’ category

Alphonse Mellot Sancerre La Moussiere 2007

December 3, 2008

img_5110The first time I tasted this wine was at Bibbendum’s trade show last September in Melbourne. At tastings like this you get to see a fairly big number of wines, so the ones I remember best are those that have clearly marked characters like La Moussière. I was surprised to find it at my local Vintage Cellars and was keen to have a look at it again. Things are done with great attention for detail at this domaine, both in vineyard and cellar. All grapes, including the ones from the closely planted, low yielding and biodynamically farmed single-vineyard La Moussière, are picked and sorted by hand before gentle pressing and settling of the juice occurs. Fermentation takes place in both vat and new casks in which the wine spends a further 7 to 8 months on its lees before bottling. The resulting wine has a light golden colour with all aspects of terroir, fruit and winemaking fabulously balanced. Intense aromas of flowers, grapefruit, mineral and lime peel follow through to a soft, dense and textural palate that fills your mouth but never dominates the complex blend of fresh, vibrant fruit, precise minerality and a touch of spice towards the middle and back. This wine is a clear step up from most other regular available Sancerre, an absolute steal regarding pedigree and quality. 92 points

Source: Bibbendum  Price: $49  Drink: Now-2010

Web: www.mellot.com

Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2007

December 2, 2008

This entry-level wine from Pascal Jolivet is made from grapes grown on the three different soil types found in the appellation of Sancerre. Although it understandably lacks the same complexity of his single-vineyard wines like Chêne Marchand or Clos du Roy, it still offers finesse and distinctive flair. The wine has a pale straw colour and displays aromas of white flowers, citrus fruit, goosberries with hints of aspargus and snowpeas. The palate is smooth, supple and well balanced with ample grapefruit, vegetal tones and mineral, crunchy acidity at the finish. I reckon there is a touch of residual sugar left in the wine that balances quite well against the zesty acid. Straightforward and uncomplicated this is made to be drunk within the year. 88 points

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $45  Drink: Now

Other vintages: 2004

Web: www.pascal-jolivet.com

Francois Crochet Sancerre 2007

September 24, 2008

To make Sancerre that measures with the best of the appellation, Francois Crochet pays a great deal of attention to the quality of the grapes. This young talented winemaker handpicks fruit and conducts rigorous triage, resulting in expressive wines with the distinctively pungent, flinty characters that the terroir delivers. Pale straw in colour it offers piercing aromas of grapefruit, fresh cut grass, white flowers, gooseberry and minerals with notes reminiscent of the local Crotin de Chavignol in the background. Time on lees gives the wine a lovely textural mouthfeel while a straight line of crunchy acid gives structure and focus. This is what textbook Sauvignon Blanc is all about. 90 points

Source: Swanbourne Cellars/Must Winebar  Price: $50  Drink: Now-2009

Domaine Henry Pelle Clos des Blanchais Menetou-Salon 2006

March 13, 2008

img_4172.jpgAfter trying Pellé’s solid entry-level Menetou-Salon and Sancerre I was delighted to find this domaines top wine from one of the Loire’s most distinguished vineyards. Forty years-old vines, clay-limestone soils and a perfect southwest exposition give concentrated and ripe grapes that produce a rich and powerful wine. Light straw in the glass the intense nose reveals loads of white flowers, freshly cut grass, zesty lemon and a hint of ripe tropical fruit. The rather weighty palate clearly shows the juice has been aged on lees while fresh primary fruit, crisp minerality and pungent acid towards the finish retain the wines lively balance. This wine perfectly demonstrates how good and affordable Sauvignon Blanc from areas other than Sancerre can be. 91 points

Source: James Busby Fine Wines  Price: $35  Drink: Now-2010

Web: www.henry-pelle.com

Vincent Pinard Cuvee Flores 2006

February 24, 2008

img_4170.jpgThe vintage of 2006 in the Loire Valley was warm and dry with temperatures well above average throughout the whole summer. Sufficient rainfall in August and September relieved the stressed vines so that ripe, healthy fruit with balanced acid levels could be harvested. But don’t look for wines with lush tropical fruit, after all this is Sancerre, but expect to find expressions of grassy and gooseberry aromas with hints of white flowers and asparagus as shown Pinard’s Cuvée Florès. This is a fuller style of Sancerre that gives a soft and round impression in the mouth while crisp mineral acidity adds balance and lively freshness with vegetal tones adding background on a long and dry finish. This is textbook Sauvignon Blanc, leaner and more straightforward than I’ve seen before from this producer. 92 points

Source: Vintage & Vine/Liquid Library  Price: $50  Drink: Now-2009

Comte Lafond Sancerre 2005

January 24, 2008

img_3966.jpgThe 2005 Sancerre from Pouilly-Fumé based De Ladoucette is among the best Sauvignon Blancs I’ve had over the last couple of months. What I look for in this variety is a combination between layers of ripe fruit, chalky minerality and lively acid and this is exactly what you get in this wine. A classic nose with aromas of white flowers, straw, lemon, wet pebbles and notes of fresh green asparagus precedes a rich and seamingless palate. Certainly, the outspoken, ambitious and full texture is the housestyle of this producer but this time it seems to be balanced by brisker acidity then in the ones I’ve seen before. Vintage or bottle variation, I don’t know but that this wine is a compulsory drink for every Sauvignon Blanc lover is sure. 92 points  

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $55  Drink: Now-2009

Other vintages: 2004

Great White Blends from Margaret River

January 13, 2008

In the short break from Christmas to New Year I have been relaxing in Margaret River. From the magnificant Karri trees in the Boranup forest to the ever present Indian Ocean, this region is stuningly beautiful. The biggest bonus is the vineyards planted on the most suitable sites where cool seabreezes moderate the overall warm growing conditions. Grapes from those sites are able to produces wines of good ripeness but also of grace and elegance. One of the best styles of this region is the Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blend, either in the unwooded and fruit-driven mould or in the more subtle and serious way with the full spectrum of winemaking techniques as barrel fermentation and lees contact showing off in the wines. There is no doubt that 35 years after the planting of the first vines winemakers fully understand the virtues of specific sites, resulting in delicious wines that reflect their terroir. With the current hot summer days and fresh seafood on the Webber I’ve decided to line up a few of my favourites.  

img_3991.jpgThe 2007 Moss Wood Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is made from grapes grown in the fully mature Ribbon Vale Vineyard in the centre of the Wilyabrup sub-region. As a blend of 65% Semillon and 35% Sauvignon Blanc this wine shows typical aromas of hay, gooseberry, passionfruit and mango on the nose while fermentation in stainless steel tanks and minimal lees stirring leaves a succulent and uncomplicated palate that perfectly combines the lively tropical fruit and herbaceousness of the Sauvignon Blanc with the fresh citrus flavours of the Semillon. Sure, the emphasize is laid on primary fruit but this wine has enough texture and length to lift it out of the ordinary (90 points).

img_3984.jpgThe 2007 The Yard made by WA’s rising star Larry Cherubino is another perfect example of Wilyabrup Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. Crafted of grapes from the only 10 years-old Pedestal vineyard this wine shows a perfect combination between high quality fruit and immaculate winemaking. Partial fermentation in new French oak barrels for 4 months adds complextity and structure to a wine with subtle tropical fruit, herb, straw and citrus on the nose. The parcel of Semillon (83%) is clearly dominant adding a strong twist of lemon to a palate with a soft and mineral texture. A clearly more elegant and refined style with a long, intense and dry finish (93 points).

img_3979.jpgAn astonishing match between winery and vineyard is demonstrated by the 2005 Cape Mentelle Wallcliffe Sauvignon Blanc Semillon. The grapes from one of Margaret River’s best and oldest vineyards have undergone the full spectrum of winemaking techniques including the use of wild yeasts, malolactic fermentation and barrel maturation, resulting in a wine of great texture and complextity balanced by intense flavours of tropical fruit and citrussy acid towards a persistant finish. A hint of regional herbaciousness tells you this cracker is from Margaret River instead of Bordeaux (95 points).

img_3988.jpgThe in 1995 planted Mangan vineyard is source of the 2006 Mangan Sauvignon Blanc Semillon. Biodynamically grown parcels of Sauvignon Blanc (60%) and Semillon (40%) are used to craft a magnificent wine of immense intensity and purity. Lovely lemon, grapefruit, white flowers and a hint of oak on the nose lead to a perfectly balanced palate where tangy lemon, passionfruit, herbal and spicy flavours are framed by a delicate minerally texture towards a long and lingering finish. This is a truly impressive wine and a benchmark for the style. Drink it now or over the next 5 to 10 years (95 points).