Topper’s Mountain Barrel Ferment Petit Manseng 2011

As I mentioned in my review of the 2010 Tempranillo, a barrel fermented Petit Manseng isn’t something one comes across every day in Australia, so this wine’s very existence is notable. It takes guts to produce a premium-priced varietal wine without the benefit of a recognised noble variety behind it, so hats off to Topper’s Mountain for putting their faith in Petit Manseng on the line.

Of course, it’s foolish to judge the potential of a wine style from a single tasting, but one has to start somewhere, and my impression is there’s some interest here. The aroma is soft and subtle, with florals the dominant element along with a hint of beeswax. It’s the sort of soft focus aroma that finds its equivalent in Flake ads from the 1980s — all smears of Vaseline and sexiness without really showing much.

In the mouth, a good interplay of textures, and I see the wisdom of the winemaking approach here. There’s fullness and generosity on the mid-palate, presumably in part stemming from barrel work, that balances out some reasonably strident acidity through the after palate. There’s a definite textural story here. Flavours are, as with the nose, soft and perhaps a little indistinct, though certainly quite pleasant. For me, though, the interest here is in mouthfeel and the way the wine’s weight modulates along its line. It’s unusual and quite compelling. Incidentally, alcohol sits at a restrained 12.25%.

Topper’s Mountain
Price: $A34
Closure: Stelvin
Source: Sample

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