Sauvignon Blanc isn’t a variety that immediately springs to mind when I think of the Canberra District, but this is a quirky rendition at a reasonable price.
The nose is brightly faceted and stony with hints of brine; there’s little of the overt fruit character one sees in many other expressions of this grape (Marlborough, Adelaide Hills, etc). Because of this, the wine comes across as quite austere on initial sniff, an impression warmth and a bit of swirling changes only slightly. I like the fact this is focused away from obvious fruit flavours — its style sets it apart even as it makes it harder to embrace.
Entry is full of zest and attack, leading to a middle palate that broadens with some interesting flavours. There’s an orange juice-like character to the mouthfeel and acidity that beefs up the body and creates the impression of thicker fruit flavours. I’m not sure the level of residual sugar, but suspect there’s a bit in here. The fruit flavours themselves are blurry, and one instead looks to savoury characters (crushed shells, that sort of thing) for definition. It’s certainly full of interest, and I note the winemaking involved some skin contact, which would have led to a higher level of phenolic extraction and I presume some of the grip I’m seeing on the middle and after palates. The after palate and finish are typically thin per the variety, though there’s a lingering lemon note through the finish that is stubbornly persistent.
The palate’s generosity is, one might argue, a slight cop-out after the lean aroma. I’m speaking to my own preferences, of course, and am mindful of not having tasted this wine when newly released. In any case, and as with the 2008 Shiraz, this wine shows stylistic interest beyond its price point. I’d be interested to taste a fresh one.