Cape Mentelle Chardonnay

Previous vintages of this wine have been to my palate, rich, intense, concentrated and ripe… with a viscosity and polish that although works very well with the fruit, was not my preferred style of chardonnay.  My preference runs towards the more open-knit, textured phenolics and salty minerality – I like the edges.   The 2017 continues the theme of polish and seamlessness.  Enter 2018.  Wow.  This has all the Cape Mentelle fruit hallmarks and the wine is polished still – do not misread that – but it has texture and interest and it’s beautiful.  I called Ben Cane winemaker alongside Prederique Perrin, and ask him about this wine, his comments are included in the note below.  As far as release dates… it will not be released to retail until January 2021 at the earliest, maybe as late as June, given the current global events.  Members of the Cape Mentelle Wine Club will be able to access it from as early as July 2020.

2017 Chardonnay

Creamy, crushed cashews, almond meal, yellow peach and a salty, pithy acid line.  Refreshing and bright, but also round and rich.  Power and drive from the Gin Gin fruit.  Good length.  Cooler vintage equals tighter, more refined, leaner… this has a more linear approach.



2018 Chardonnay

A sophisticated nose, textural, worked and complex – a skinsy vibe.  This is rich and even more intense than the 2017, owing likely to the warmth and sunshine in the 2018 growing season.  The fruit has a rich, ripe viscosity to it and a fierce salty edge.  Red apple skins and tea leaves, salted kelp, slippery ripe yellow peach and a fair whack of curry leaf, brine and preserved lemon.  This is happening.  A subtle shift in style here, moving towards a multifaceted and shimmering style of chardonnay; always moving, like dappled sunlight.  Wild yeast.  Blended before sulphuring, higher than usual percentage went through malo, the wine rests on lees but the winemaker Frederique is not a great fan of stirring them. No change to the oak regime from previous years, less than 30% new, Mercurey cooper.  RRP $55