Wine review — Madfish, Cape Mentelle and Curly Flat

Madfish Western Australia Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2011 $14–$17
Semillon adds considerably extra depth and dimension to sauvignon blanc – a blend developed originally in the sometimes profound dry whites of Bordeaux. This blend of 60 per cent sauvignon blanc and 40 per cent semillon (from Great Southern, Margaret River and Pemberton) reveals some of that magic at a modest price. Both varieties contribute to the capsicum/mown grass/passionfruit fruit character and zesty freshness. And semillon adds the backbone and texture that give a satisfaction seldom encountered in straight sauvignon blanc. Madfish is a second label of Amy and Jeff Burch’s Howard Park Wines, with operations in Margaret River and Denmark.

Cape Mentelle Marmaduke Margaret River Shiraz 2010 $14–$19
Cape Mentelle – founded by David Hohnen but now part of Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton – produces Marmaduke from estate vineyards in Margaret River’s Wallcliffe and Karridale sub-regions. It’s made for current drinking – meaning the plummy, spicy varietal fruit flavours are to the fore in a medium-bodied palate. The tannins are soft and easy, and a savoury undertone adds greatly to the wine’s appeal. While it’s ready to drink now, there’s sufficient flavour intensity and tannin to see Marmaduke through three or four years in the cellar.

Curly Flat Macedon Range Pinot Noir 2009 $48–$54
Curly Flat Macedon Ranges Chardonnay 2009 $42–$47

I recall in February 2009 Philip Moraghan rushing from a Mornington Peninsula pinot conference back to the Macedon bushfires. Fortunately, Curly Flat escaped damage and produced sensational wines despite the seasonal heat. Either of these could stand against the best in Australia – the chardonnay for its delicate yet intense flavours, tight acidity and beautiful use of oak to add flavour and textural complexity. The pinot, slightly more alcoholic and fleshy than the 2008, offers layers of delicious flavours with a very fine, firm backbone of tannin to see it evolve over many years.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 19 February 2012 in The Canberra Times