Willow Bridge Fumé Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (Pemberton, WA)
13%, Screwcap, $30
I’m intrigued about the value of ‘fume’ on a label. It seems to be an esoteric term, recognised more by the industry than consumers. Wine producers – does it work for you? Or does it need the addition of ‘Sauvignon Blanc’ to get the message across?
Anyways, this is a pretty clever example of a ‘fumé’ from a completely unheralded region. Simon Burnell, Willow Bridge winemaker, is deliberately pushing the estate styles in a more serious direction of late, with all of the Willow Bridge wines looking, well, more serious as a result. Good serious at that.
Natural ferment and 10 months on lees in barrel. If anything this is still a bit raw around the edges, its best another year away. Serious indeed.
There is an intensity of lemon-buttercup, fresh fruit here, capped off with lees derived richness. Still fresh and breezy though. Texturally clever palate with a finesse to
that lees character and biting lemon acidity. Actually, that acidity is a bit firm, making it just a little haughty. Just needs the palate to put on some weight an all will be fine. Only a faint twang of rocky grey fruit to give away its Sauvness, the style rather taut and modern indeed.
I liked. Will like it even more when it settles down. The freshness and clever lees work is the key to its appeal for sure.
Score: 17.5/20 91/100
Would I buy it? In 12 months time, maybe.