|Blind Corner Sauvignon Blanc
Cult Sauv in the making?
Blind Corner Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (Margaret River, WA)
12.5%, Screwcap, $25
‘Single (organic) vineyard Sauv.. Hand picked fruit with (25%) air dried for 10 days and wild fermented on skins….The remaining 75% of grapes is basket pressed by hand through the night and wild-fermented in old french oak. The wines were combined and lees stirred for three months prior to bottling.’
Ben Gould does it again. Again he has taken the usual formula and politely thrown it away. In this case it has landed in a somewhat Sancerre-ish direction, albeit Sancerre on steroids. Simply put, this is one of the most unique straight Sauvignon Blancs that Australia has ever seen. It kinda works too.
I say kinda works as this is nothing if not an unusual wine. In many ways it reminds me most of a boundary pushing, natural Loire Chenin, albeit with Sauv and from Margaret River. Given this contrast it’s probably of little surprise that this can perplex. Indeed one person could only describe this as ‘interesting’ (though said person likes Chambourcin…). Suffice to say that ‘interesting’ is putting it mildly.
It’s interesting from the appearance alone actually, as in the glass tit looks slightly cloudy and rather yellow for a 1 year old Sauv. That’d be the skin contact, air drying and oak ageing doing it’s colour deepening thing. If anything that appearance just sets this wine apart, though it may also scare some one dimensional Sauv drinkers (like said Chambourcin fan).
On the nose it smells of wildness too – wild ferments, wild handling and the concentration (and faint volatility) that comes from (madly for some) air dried fruit. It’s still quite a neutral nose though, the fruit looking like it was picked quite early given the style. Palate too is instantly dry and a little oaky with some wild cheesy lees character and some firm phenolic characters through the finish (plus a wallop of acidity). There is fruit in there but it is hidden a little behind lees, oak and tanins to really stick out.
A wild wine that looks more wild and more tannic (yes, tannins, from the skin contact) the longer you look at it, I actually think this wine is too young (which may seem odd for some), with the nose and palate still not carrying enough weight to match up with all that winemaking. 18 months in bottle is what this wine needs to be showing it’s best.
An intriguing, beguiling wine with a real hand of winemaker stamp on it. Can’t wait to see what happens with this in the future. 17.5/91+