Tahbilk Marsanne 2002

Amazingly, I managed to get the cork out of this bottle without breaking my corkscrew. Ouch! That sucker was really stuck in there, but I digress…If there was ever a wine that smelled of lanolin, this is it. One whiff and I’m back in Rotorua watching a tourist sheep-shearing show; afterwards, you can’t escape the gift shop without rubbing some of the local produce on your hands, and this is what it smells like. The aging here has also contributed a sort of butterscotch and must that’s not too bad: it’s kind of like your grandparents’ house, actually – imagine a dish of slightly moist hard candy that’s a souvenir of the Brussels World Fair, but again I digress…The color has wound up at a beautiful gold the color of fresh Oregon apple cider. Once you drink some, it doesn’t taste at all like you’d expect, I reckon: there’s a quick start of something like Granny Smith apples with an underlying steel; then, it’s on to quince and pears with an appealingly full mouthfeel. Supporting acidity is very good indeed, veering towards Clare riesling territory, but it all winds down on a lovely note of warm apple pie (or tarte tatin if you prefer a Francophone air to your wine tasting notes).With some time and air, notes of smoked salt and poire also surface.What was a relatively simple wine in its youth is, I think, better for having waited. It’s hard to imagine this being any better than it is right now, especially considering the price.

Price: around US $10; aged releases typically A$17 from the winery
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: August 2008

2 thoughts on “Tahbilk Marsanne 2002

  1. Tahbilk Marsanne is one of the best white wines made in Australia. Produced in the Nagambie Lakes region in Victoria, it comes from old vines dating back to 1927. It is ridiculously cheap, it can be bought here (Australia) for around A$13-15. It ages magnificently, and still holds up well after 15+ years in the cellar.

    It is very popular with people in the wine trade and wine buffs, but most of the general population have never heard of marsanne, and in my experience most people aren’t particularly adventurous with wine.

    Their loss.

    Tahbilk also make some exceptionally good shiraz and cabernet at a good price A$20-28, with similar aging ability.

  2. Looks like there’s another Julian on the site! Thanks for the comment. I totally agree, the Tahbilk Marsanne is one of those perennial bargains and often a lovely wine. I guess, though, being a more unusual varietal in the Australian context, and with aged whites not being terribly mainstream anyway, it’s fighting an uphill battle.

    Julian (Coldrey).

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