Category Archives: Australian Sauvignon Blanc

Jul 07 2016

Leeuwin Estate Masterclass with Winemaker Phil Hutchison

Posted on July 07, 2016 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Recently the Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti Brown singled out “eight stellar” Western Australia producers “who are killing-it when it comes to innovation, quality and coaxing the terroir into the bottle: Cloudburst, Cullen, Frankland Estate, Leeuwin Estate, Moss Wood, Peccavi, Plantagenet and Woodlands.” (Western Australia Killing-it, 4 March 2016, eRobertparker.com)

Of course, to see Margaret River pioneer Leeuwin Estate on this list is no surprise. Still owned by its founders Denis and Tricia Horgan and now under the direction of their children and grandchildren, Leeuwin Estate has enjoyed an enviable reputation for its world-class wines for over 30 years. Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine, for example, lists a staggering 16 vintages, dating back to 1987, as top vintages for the Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay – one of only 21 Australian wines ranked “Exceptional” in the classification.

But while Leeuwin Estate has stuck to its knitting, so to speak, by keeping the focus on what does it best – chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon – innovation is still at the forefront of their winemaking approach. Indeed, one of the highlights of a recent Vintage Cellars Double Bay Masterclass with winemaker Phil Hutchison was a single variety not usually associated with Western Australia – the Leeuwin Estate Art Series Sauvignon Blanc 2014.

Typically, Margaret River wineries blend sauvignon blanc with semillon to create a Bordeaux-style white wine. But the 2014 Leeuwin Estate Art Series vintage is 100% sauvignon blanc. As Hutchison explained, the sauvignon blanc grapes are actually sourced from an 18 year-old vineyard about 20 km south of Margaret River. Here the evening southerly winds dramatically cool down the nighttime temperature in the vineyards, extending the ripening period just enough to significantly lift the subtle lemon, lime and apple aromatics in the wine. Innovative winemaking techniques, like 50% fermentation in 1-2 year old oak barrels with regular battonage or lees stirring, create a wonderfully seductive mouthfeel for this fresh but sophisticated style of sauvignon blanc. Definitely a reason to look twice at Western Australia next time you’re in the market for sauvignon blanc!.. [Read More]

Nov 11 2015

Masterclass: Billy Button and Mayford Wines – Putting the Alpine Valleys Region on the Map

Posted on November 11, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Two very talented winemakers, Jo Marsh of Billy Button and Eleana Anderson of Mayford, are neighbours and good friends in the beautiful Alpine Valleys wine region, an area that covers the foothills of the Victorian alps and borders with King Valley to the west and Beechworth to the north. Last week the pair shared the stage at a very interesting masterclass at Different Drop in Pyrmont.

We were welcomed with a glass of the 2015 Billy Button ‘The Torment’ Riesling (King Valley) on arrival… [Read More]

Apr 04 2011

Geoff Weaver: Taking Australian Sauvignon Blanc in a New Direction

Posted on April 04, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In my post, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Master Class, 2 March 2011, I talked about how New Zealand winemakers had developed new styles of sauvignon blanc that, while retaining the style’s signature vibrant acidity, exhibit more restrained fruit tropical aromatics and a more evolved mid-palate with a longer, creamier finish.

In Australia, Geoff Weaver of the eponymous Adelaide Hills winery has taken Australia’s sauvignon blanc in a new direction with his Ferus Sauvignon Blanc. As Weaver explains, the aim was to create a wine reflective of its vineyard origin and with as little intervention as possible… [Read More]

Apr 04 2011

Adelaide Hills: A Diversity of Wines of Distinction

Posted on April 04, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

I’m spending next Friday in Adelaide Hills, and in preparation for my trip I thought I would research the best wineries in the region, so I know exactly where to go and what to taste. Hard work, I know!

As many of you are aware, Adelaide Hills has developed an outstanding reputation for sauvignon blanc. Three of the top six 2009 sauvignon blancs (96 points) in James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion 2011 edition are from the Adelaide Hills: Dandelion Vineyards Wishing Clock of the Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc,.. [Read More]