|Lady A 2008
The lady in green
Domaine A Lady A Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Tasmania)
14%, Cork, $60
I’m often surprised that we don’t see more fumé styles in Australia, particularly given the dominance of Kiwi Sauv and the resultant need to produce something with a more unique personality.
Of course the worm is turning somewhat lately, driven by the more worked Sauv styles from De Bortoli, Gembrook Hill, Mitchell Harris etc. Couple that with the oaked WA Bordeaux blanc styles from Cape Mentelle, Suckfizzle, Lenton Brae etc. and you could probably call it at least an undercurrent. But not much else really…
Which only makes this wine even more intriguing – first produced in 1996 by Peter Althaus as a present for his wife Ruth Althaus (who has always enjoyed Bordeaux Blanc styles), it comes off a vineyard that is an anomaly in southern Tasmania (given that it ripens Cabernet quite regularly and focuses on Bordeaux varieties) and is meticulously farmed – with each of the varieties thoughtfully matched to aspect, soil types and microclimates.
That level of precision extends to this wine too, the grapes for which were handpicked off a one hectare plot on the Stoney Vineyard property. the juice spends one year in French oak and then spends a further 2 years in bottle before release (those vintages deemed worthy of being called Lady A that is – with most years declassified to the 2nd ‘Stoney Vineyard’ label).
Speaking of bottle age, this ‘riper year’ (the winery’s words) release really needs a few more years in bottle (to my tastes) for it to come together, which is of no surprise given that the ‘ripe year’ 05 is probably drinking best now (did I mention that the Domaine A wines live bottle age? Oh yeah…) but also disappointing for anyone who wants to drink this wine immediately.
You can see that youthful petulance from the first whiff too, the pineapple and cream of new oak and primary fruit still dominating nose and palate (with a dash of peppered herbs varietal character in there too). That puppy fat extends to the mid palate too, which is big and rich and powerful but also primary and full and , still missing that extra complexity that maturity will bring. The finish though is long and firmly acidic (if just a little warm) which is a resounding nod to great things to come.
Hold on! This intriguing and classy white is worth the wait. Like now, love later (maybe 3 years from now methinks). 17.7/92++