Vasse Felix Black Market Wines
[Super limited, small batch trial wines. Exciting stuff, and not what you might be expecting…]
Unfined, unfiltered cloudy sav blanc with a suggestion of amber glints. A pretty cool nose – redolent with paw paw, beeswax, pineapple lumps, snow pea, white currant and cherry. It’s spicy too: white pepper, salted ginger, dill and fennel*. The wine was basket pressed and fermented wild on full skins. It spent 7 months in French oak and went through 100% malo, lending it a creaminess and nuttiness that is absolutely happening. The palate is piercing and focused; the fruit is both creamy and lasered. Wine made this way is just begging for a food accompaniment and this Blanc IX takes me to all kinds of places in my mind. Despite being made in an ‘orange/skinsy’ way (fermenting white grapes on their skins) and therefore exhibiting more pronounced phenolics and tannin, this remains true to the VF house style of polish, finesse and silkiness. Combine that style with this wine, and you get a pretty smart Blanc IX. That’s going to be a YES from me.
Margaret River shiraz is a wonderful thing when approached this way. Left to fend for themselves for 8 days, whole bunches were carefully emptied into an oak vat, closed up and blanketed in CO2 – thus the beginning and execution of carbonic maceration. This technique elevates the aromatics and colour, and the inclusion of whole bunches contributes tannins and structure (of a very specific kind). The grapes were then foot stomped, fermented wild and pressed to barrel where they lay quietly for 7 months. The nose is pretty much bursting with poached raspberry, black spice, salted licorice, anise, hints of clove… all with a blue gravel edge to the abundant berries that throw themselves around the glass. In the mouth it’s layered, fine and spicy, and the tannins occupy a very fine space. There is structure and tension and while all the flavours say sweet, this is a savoury little number. Another yes. The tannins got me… they’re both pliable and suggestive.
* full disclosure: ‘dill’ and ‘fennel’ were on the VF tech notes and once suggested, it w impossible not to include them as flavour characteristics… it is so specific and so accurate that it would be remiss of me to try and come up with alternatives.
+ The Black Market wines are hard to get your hands on. Due to their limited quantity, you can purchase at the cellar door in Margaret River or try them by the glass at select restaurants and bars. Hopefully with some of our restrictions easing in the coming weeks getting ahold of them is going to be a bit easier.