Whether it’s the youth of this wine, vintage conditions or a stylistic choice on the part of its maker, the 2010 Chenin from Dowie Doole is a significantly more taut, edgy experience than previous vintages (for example, the 2009). And, as delicious as the softer, fruit salad Chenin style can be, this is something else entirely, closer to the reserve Tintookie wine than to its predecessors.
The nose shows aromas of delicate apple skins, minerals and a fairy floss note that I’m sure I’m describing poorly; fairy floss is the first thing that comes to mind, though, and it’s something I’ve noticed in a lot of Loire Chenins. It’s fresh and expressive, but not at all slutty; any seduction happening here is of the high class sort.
In the mouth, a burst of minerality that races through to the middle palate, where Granny Smith apples mix with a hint of roasted almonds. This is so structured and alive — the acidity is abundant and natural-tasting — it takes a moment for actual flavours to register, but they are there, fresh and clean, and quite intense. Decent thrust through the after palate leads to a slight dip just before an unexpectedly long, truly impressive finish.
When opening the bottle, I expected a fresh, easy Summer quaffer. This release really is a step up, though, showing real sophistication of structure and restraint of flavour. This delivers a lot for the dollars, and I would not be surprised if it improves over the medium term.