Wine review — Madfish, Cape Mentelle, Jacob’s Creek, Chandon, Tyrrell’s & La Chablisienne

Madfish Western Australia Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2007 $15–$19
Cape Mentelle Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2007 $25

Today’s summer-drinking selections feature three pairs of proven regional varietal specialties. The first pair are brilliant, contrasting examples of one of Australia’s most popular blends – sauvignon blanc and semillon from southwestern Western Australia. Madfish is all about zingy, fresh, tropical fruit flavours – a pure, all-fruit wine to wash away the day’s cares. Cape Mentelle’s blend hits the senses a bit harder, starting with the intense herbal, pungent aroma that both varieties seem to deliver in Margaret River. These intense flavours drive the palate, too. But there’s an oak-fermentation and-maturation richness to the texture making the wine all the more interesting.

Jacob’s Creek Reserve Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2004 $15–$19
Chandon Tasmanian Cuvée 2004 $39

To make top-shelf sparkling wine, the classic varieties pinot noir and chardonnay must be grown in very cool to cold regions where grape flavour develops while acidity remains high. And that’s led our leading makers to Tassie and high-altitude, southerly mainland sites over the last twenty years. Jacob’s Creek Reserve is a chardonnay dominant blend from cool sites, including Tasmania. Chardonnay drives the aroma and flavour, while pinot gives the wonderful taut structure that stamps it with class. This is serious bubbly at a bargain price.  Chandon, from Tasmania’s Coal River Valley, is a bronze tinted pinot dominant blend of extraordinary intensity and lovely complex, nutty aftertaste.

Tyrrell’s Moon Mountain Hunter Valley Chardonnay 2006 $17 to $20
Chablis (La Chablisienne) 2005 $24–$29.99

Chardonnay shows it’s extraordinary versatility in this pair from the warm Hunter Valley and cold Chablis, France – the former a maritime environment at latitude thirty-three degrees south; the latter a continental site at forty-seven degrees north. They’re from regional masters Tyrrell’s and the La Chablisienne cooperative. Moon Mountain sits at the finer, leaner (but texturally rich) end of the regional style spectrum. There’s a beautiful buoyancy, finesse and lightness to it. La Chablisienne, imported by Coles Group (Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice), presents the unique, teasingly succulent, finesse and dryness of Chablis. No drink on earth goes better with a platter of fresh, briny south-coast oysters.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007