Crittenden Estate were pioneers of albariño, until it was revealed the vines were actually savagnin, then they became pioneers of that instead, now making thrilling styles in homage to the great wines of the Jura region of France. Matured under flor yeast, this is a Mornington Peninsula version of Vin Jaune, loaded with preserved lemon and nutty sherry-like notes, with explosive power and a dryly saline umami carry.
Brassy golden to look at, this hits you with a big whack of sherry-like notes, with a classic nutty and waxy overlay, kicking up hints of linseed oil, toffee apple, a slosh of brine and preserved lemon. This is umami plus. There’s full fruit here, with a gentle richness, cut with a curious peaty smokiness – a whisper of Islay whisky – and some creamy notes. With all the savoury complexity, this sits on a solid frame of ripe fruit, with the salty detail cresting a wave of richness through a dry and endlessly long finish.
Themes of this wine
Sous voile/flor yeast
Literally translated as ‘under a veil’, sous voile is a method of maturing wine where the barrels are not topped, with a film of flor yeast developing on top of the wine. This ‘veil’ protects the wine from oxidation, while converting the acids to aldehydes, which give dry Sherry its characteristic nutty and briny notes. The same process is employed in France’s Jura region to make the famous Vin Jaune (literally, yellow wine).
Best known for the wines of the Jura in France’s north-east, savagnin was introduced to Australia as somewhat of a stowaway. The first vines were planted at a time when vine cuttings were mislabelled, with plantings of what was thought to be albariño correctly identified as savagnin in 2009. While at the time this was of real consternation to growers, a subsequent interest in the wines of the Jura has seen that accident reframed as a somewhat happy one.
The Mornington Peninsula wine region is somewhat of a latecomer, with ongoing commercial production not taking hold until the 1980s. But it has blossomed somewhat since then. Now boasting over 200 vineyards, with 60-odd wineries and over 50 cellar doors, the Mornington Peninsula specialises in chardonnay and pinot noir, while also staking a claim to some of the country’s best pinot gris.