SWAN VALLEY WINES – PAUL HOFFMAN + BREE LAVELL
Wine of the Week: 2014 Chenin Blanc
With its old (and frankly elegant) longline label, astonishingly low alcohol (just 10%!) and zen, mellow deliciousness this is clearly a wine to buy and store – but we’ll probably have to settle for the newer vintages, because surely this has sold out by now. Current release is ridiculously cheap at around $25 and this was a similar bargain. Paul and Bree re-released a little portion of this onto the world via their Instagram account (follow here) at a crazy cheap price. I would have happily paid double.
The soft beeswax florals, stone fruit and gentle exotic spice mingle with a tingle of acid that laces it all together. The has volumes of flavour, fine chalky texture that provides an extra dimension of joy, and a long, clean dry finish.
2017 CHENIN BLANC
‘[This bottle is] the last of our chenin’ – Paul Hoffman. Barrel ferment, whole bunch pressed, dry grown bush vines which didn’t start out as bush vines… they were trellised when they were planted in the 40’s (making the vines 80 yrs old), but over time the trellis posts have broken down to nothing, leaving the vines to grow as bush vines, trained low for maximum water efficiency. The nose has salted citrus, curry leaf. “The soils here are some of the oldest on Earth – 2 billion years. They come off the [Darling] scarp and are a combination of colluvial and alluvial.” – Paul Hoffman. The palate here has generosity and breadth, yellow plum, vibrant acidity. The vines that produce the fruit for this wine are planted in front of Paul and Bree’s home in the Valley. The view is pretty dramatic: at one glance I can take in the old bush vine chenin vineyard (impressive in itself). As my eye wanders over the tips of the vines and out into the distance, the vista is framed by the Darling Scarp. The overriding impression is one of history, heat and sunshine. It’s a bloody hot day. If I stop to think about it, it’s humbling standing amongst vines more than twice my age. The seasons, storms, dawns and dusks they’ve experienced… 95/100
2018 CHENIN BLANC
Fermented in immersion bent barriques – Burgundy shape barrels. There’s energy and life here – a very different expression of chenin through the lens of the 2018 vintage, than the 2017 wine. There’s a coriander leaf, juniper character. I like it. A lot. The acid on the midpalate swooshes in. 94/100