Saturday, September 17, 2011

Serious Sauvignon Blanc - Stoney Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2010

Stoney Vineyard - serious Sauvignon Blanc
Serious Sauvignon Blanc - Stoney Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2010

Stoney Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (Coal River Valley, Tas)
13%, Diam, $35
Source: Someone poured me a glass
www.domaine-a.com.au



From the road at least, the Stoney Vineyard/Domaine A site is an unremarkable one. It just looks like another patch of vineyard set in amongst farmland. Like so many great sites though, the secret here is actually in the combination of (decidedly undramatic) details: The ideal north-easterly aspect; the gentle slope; the mix of soils (from yellow clay to gravel) and the low rainfall. All of it - combined with some informed vineyard management - makes for a very special patch of vines.

Fittingly, this special spot also produces some unique wines - from the sometimes challengingly herbal Cabernet (particularly in it's Stoney Vineyard guise), to the polarising and sappy Pinot Noir, right through to the white Bordeaux inspired Lady A Sauvignon Blanc. All of it speaks in a language that is so different to anything else in Tasmania that it defies belief, with Peter Althaus clearly hearing the beat of a different drum.

In this instance, we're looking at a wine that is essentially the earlier drinking, second wine to the oaked 'Lady A', with this Stoney Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc supposedly built with immediacy in mind. Yet it tastes like it could do with 2-3 years in the cellar... It's a Sauv that looks to have gone through MLF (the notes don't say) and may have seen some oak, yet still looks herbal and dry. It's a wine of contrasts and pointy bits and herbs and creaminess. Yet it never looks odd. Rather, it looks like someone has attempted to make a French Sauv in Australia. And succeeded.

That look is kicked off, from, well, the first look. The bottle comes paper wrapped (perfectly may I add, with the tightest paper twist I've seen) and with a capsule of the old school, weighty kind. It looks expensive and serious and old school prestigious - the sort of wine you'd serve somewhere with leather couches (even if the label design and label material looks a bit cheap and dated).

In glass it looks youthful, with a very light green colour. Very light. The nose? It's quite intriguing - Lightly weedy but cast against some MLF richness, with said richness kicking in early before the dill, white pepper and slightest hint of melon step in. It's a fine, rich-yet-dry, suggestive nose that smells happily unusual. I'm not sure if the palate is quite as beguiling, purely as it's just a bit squeezed through the finish. Still, it's a lightly poised, faintly herbal thing, with the final lingering taste one of creamy, just ripe melons squished with green herbs. What also sticks out though is just how natural and 'ripe' the acidity is, carrying the softness that only perfect natural acid can give (though there's plenty of it).

Perhaps the only real quibble then, the only impediment to true Sauvignon superstardom is the herbal tightness on the tail, that slight jauntiness that hits up against the faint hint of residual sugar to lose just a little congruency. It is but a quibble however, for the rest of this package is unquestionably attractive, graceful and refreshingly not mainstream savvy like. It's a wine that could even woo jaded Oyster Bay drinkers and bring them back to the Savvy fold. Heck, it should look even better with another years bottle age too. Yes. 17.8/92+

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