Tahbilk 1927 Vines Marsanne 2004 (Nagambie, Goulburn Valley, Vic)
11%, Screwcap, $46.50
This is the most brilliant awkward wine I know.
Brilliant on one hand, with a wondrous combination of fruit power and sprightly acidity, the edges honeyed just a fraction thanks to ten years in bottle, all making for a thoroughly intriguing, delightfully complex white wine of acid and just enough fruit.
That same brilliant acidity, however, also makes this an uncompromising drink – an esoteric wine of structure, not softness, length not breadth. Not an easy wine to understand, in other words.
Regardless, this ‘Mexican Hunter Semillon’ (from similar sandy soils too) is something to be celebrated. Kudos Tahbilk for persisting with this as an aged release, and thank heavens for the screwcap (as it finally brings consistency to this wine).
Anyway, this 2004 is a backward 1927 Vines release in the scheme of things, certainly much less forward than the 2003 or the 2005 and perhaps the most backward and tight since the 2002. Understandably, the flavours are still dominated by melon and pine/lime, the toasty creaminess still a way off. That trademark honeysuckly creeps in the closer you look, however, just balancing the acid crunch. Almost balancing it, for it is still a gangly wine through the finish.
All up this is a beautifully alive, beguiling wine to be admired. My score will look low and churlish in ten years time.