This, the second release under this label from an old vineyard in Blewitt Springs (McLaren Vale), has a bit more plump and savoury detail than its predecessor. There are cues there that will remind some of chardonnay, with the influence of old oak and barrel ferment, but there’s more of a chewy textural play, and, well, it’s chenin blanc, not chardonnay.
Ripe golden apples, Meyer lemon, lanolin and raw quince appear, as does an earthy, savouriness and a suggestion of caramelised lemon and fennel seeds. It’s chewily textured, mouthcoating and vibrant all at once, with a tail of acidity sheathed in pleasing grippiness.
Themes of this wine
Chenin blanc is responsible for some of the longest-lived whites in the world, largely from its spiritual home in the Loire Valley. While it has been very much a bit player in Australia over the years, a renewed interest is seeing exciting expressions of chenin entering the market. It’s hard to generalise about the flavours of chenin blanc, such is the variety of expressions that are made from it, with some crisp and dry and others exotically flavoured and quite sweet. At the cooler end, flavours like green pear and lemon are common, developing into lemon curd, honeysuckle, honey, straw, cooked pear and quince the riper it gets, then botrytis can often step in with layers of toast and citrus curd and more exotic florals. The one thing that is a constant with chenin is the acidity, with the wines being typically racy and fresh even with some residual sugar.
While it couldn’t feel any more removed from city life, the McLaren Vale wine region is inside Adelaide’s metropolitan area. And although the township itself is only 40 minutes by car from central Adelaide and vineyards brush up against ever-encroaching housing, McLaren Vale remains unaffected by the urban sprawl. With deeply etched history, the Vale has a slow-paced sense of calm and an extraordinary wealth of untrammelled beauty. It is home to some of this country’s most beautifully pristine beaches, as well as some of the world’s most forward-thinking grape-growers and winemakers. And with over 80 cellar doors, it is an essential destination for wine lovers – and anyone else, for that matter.