Archive for the ‘Semillon (Blends)’ category

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). 

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