Authenticity in the realm of luxury brands is one of those difficult-to-define qualities that, ironically, is terribly easy to spot. For example, Hermès has it, Louis Vuitton doesn’t. QED. It can also, once possessed, be lost; see Vacheron Constantin or RM Williams. In the case of Australian wine, Tahbilk is one of those wineries that seems to effortlessly exude a sense of history and authenticity, which is laudable in itself, but doubly so considering its reputation rests in part on some wines that, let us say, aren’t exactly at the forefront of vinous fashion.
Take this Marsanne. It’s arguably Australia’s cheapest most undervalued icon wine, made from a variety that, until the recent elevation of interest in white Rhône varieties, was pretty much off the radar. Ask an Australian wine geek and, chances are, they will acknowledge this wine as a classic, certainly sui generis in the history of Australian wine and one that continues to stand with few peers today.
Given this legacy, it’s lovely to sit down to a glass of the 2009 Marsanne this afternoon and find not only a nice wine, but a familiar friend too. This is the real deal, with aromas of preserved lemon, pineapple and other, similarly pungent, yellow things. It’s a very appealing, fresh aroma profile, really direct in the way it communicates its composition, even if it is necessarily straightforward as a very young wine.
The palate has a couple more tricks up its sleeve, relating to structure and mouthfeel. But first, the entry is solid and quite immediate, with lots of lemons and unripe nectarines filling the mouth, underlined by quite textural acidity. As a fuller white variety, this really swells towards the middle palate, intensity remaining measured and the whole delicate within the confines of the style. The after palate and finish are interesting in that they show a waxed lemon attitude that I would expect to appear further down the wine’s development line. A promising sign?
You really can’t go wrong with this wine. Personally, having been inducted into the pleasures of this with a few years’ bottle age, I’d be drinking some now and stashing the rest in a cellar. Surely the cheapest way to get your aged white wine kicks?