This is Crittenden Estate’s take on the Macvin of France’s Jura region, with flor-aged savagnin combined with unfermented new-vintage juice, then fortified to stop any chance of it fermenting. This is lusciously sweet but cut through with salted nut and smoky notes, and all buoyed on a spine of spirit lending it shape and line.
There’s an immediate lift of nutty and briny sherry-like things on the nose. A waft of peaty smokiness lifts off the sweet-fruited and grapey core, with hints of vanilla wafer and salt flakes on caramel, along with orange oil, orange peel, toffee and roasted golden apples. This is rich, with a burr of alcohol calming down the sweetness and combining with the saline and nutty seam to give it form and carry through the palate. This is heady stuff, exotic, umami-laced and engagingly decadent.
Themes of this wine
Macvin de Jura is a wine style, or rather a beverage style from France’s Jura region, in the north-east. It’s not strictly wine, as unfermented savagnin juice is boiled to reduce and concentrate, before being fortified with spirit to stop any chance of it fermenting. It is then aged for several years in oak before bottling.
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 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.