It’s interesting to watch Australian winemakers grapple with white Rhône varieties. Tahbilk’s prototypical, straightforward approach to its Marsanne is just one of many options, and it’s fun to see everything from predominantly textural styles right through to worked, voluptuous wines. This wine falls mostly into the latter camp.
I was most remiss in not writing up the 2012 vintage of this wine; it was a taut, linear expression of these varieties and one that was very much to my taste. This swings in a slightly different direction. Firstly, it’s packed with flavour. There’s an abundance of honeysuckle and beeswax, very ripe and plush in character. Pricklier edges pervade the aroma but never distort its fundamentally generous, round shape.
In the mouth, strikingly full and mouthfilling. It has good intensity of flavour and, despite its volume, is quite sprightly in the mouth. The mid-palate is quite fleshy and fruit-sweet, leading to a tauter after palate that shows some herbal influences. Texture transitions here to a lightly raspy phase before the wine finishes on a beautifully clean, floral note.
While I enjoyed the 2012’s uncompromising palate structure, this wine is rather more approachable and should win friends more easily. In any case, a delicious expression of these confounding varieties.
Note: the same disclaimers I mentioned in my review of the current Gilligan red apply here, too.
Gilligan’s second release of this wine, and I note last year’s model was more Marsanne-heavy, at least judging by the order in which the varieties are listed on the label. I enjoyed the 2009, though felt it could have used an extra ounce of intensity, considering its fullness of body and luxe vibe. This wine, happily, has noticeably more fruit flavour, bringing the style’s elements into greater balance.
I thought this was a Viognier when I first smelled it, but the richness that presents is less apricot and more honeysuckle. Yes, this is a vulgar French perfume of a wine, and all the more glorious for it; I like wines that don’t try to be something they aren’t. And this is about as far from Riesling (on the one hand) and Chardonnay (on the other) as you can get. It’s redolent of white flowers, peach stones and fresh laundry with just a hint of something more challenging, savoury and feral underneath.
The palate has good impact due, at first, to a thickness of texture that smacks the mouth and winds its way onto the tongue. Flavour follows soon after, with surprisingly delicate accords of stonefruit and florals. There’s plenty of flavour on offer. The risk with richer wines styles such as this is that they become cloying, but I’m pleased to note there’s a nice thrust of phenolic texture (and decent acid) that underlines the entire palate, roughing up the mouthfeel and freshening the flavour profile. Good continuity through the after palate and a very long finish, hinting at some alcohol heat but never quite crossing over to the other side.
Not a bad wine after only two goes. Really good value for money.