There aren’t too many wineries in Australia who have made a speciality of Chenin Blanc. In the case of Dowie Doole, one can legitimately say it is a producer who is at the vanguard of Chenin in Australia, with two quite different wines in its range. The Tintookie (to be tasted soon) is a subjected to a variety of winemaking tricks, whereas this wine is a more straightforward expression of the grape. Both wines are made from old vines (70+ years) in the McLaren Vale region.
Being more accustomed to reserved Loire styles, I was taken by surprise when I sniffed the exuberantly expressive aroma of this wine. Very clean notes of cut apple, a hint of passionfruit and a general fruitiness that reminds me of Sauvignon Blanc or Verdehlo, but without smelling like either. There’s also a bit of minerality — just a bit — that adds some complexity and sophistication. Mostly, though, this has a fresh, pleasing aroma profile reminiscent of Summer picnics.
The palate is a big burst of fruit flavour, entirely appropriate and in line with the character of the nose. I could proceed to analyse it, and point out how unexpected is the racy minerality, how pleasingly textural are the phenolics on the after palate, how long is the wine’s thrust through the finish, but I suspect I’d be missing the point. Indeed, this is a wine to throw back by the dozen, a highly drinkable dry white whose aim is to quench thirst and lubricate lazy weekends. When looked at in this light, it is very well judged for immediate gratification, cleverly balancing soft fruit flavours and fresh acid structure.
This label throws its hat squarely into a ring dominated by schools of Sauvignon Blanc and gaggles of Pinot Gris. At the price, and with this quality, it makes a strong argument for the battler Chenin Blanc.