10. Classified Margaret River Chardonnay, a Tribute...

Due to the commercial sensitivity of my trip there have already been many exceptional wines that I have tasted but am unable to share with you in my wine journal. 

This is a tribute to all of the Margaret River Chardonnay that I have tasted. Local producers have absolutely perfected the art of growing this grape and can craft it in many different styles to produce outstanding wines, from tropical with a creamy texture to tight wines full of minerality.  

Tonights Trofie ai Gamberi obviously had to be matched with a Chardonnay and as usual Margaret River didn't disappoint. 

 

 

9. Si Vintners Sémillon Chardonnay 2014, Margaret River

Now this certainly was an interesting wine, it was bottled unfiltered and unfined hence the cloudiness and has no additives and only minimal sulphur added at bottling. Personally I don't mind wines that look like this as the particles that are usually filtered out are not harmful and when left give the wine a natural taste that leaps out of the glass. I got notes of very freshly cut grass and lemon juice, a refreshing combination which went well with salmon and broccoli in a creamy sauce with farfalle. Give cloudy wines a chance!

7 & 8. Western Australia Sémillon Sauvignon Blanc (SSB) vs Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon (SBS) with Freshly Caught Crayfish

Yesterday we went diving in the local ocean supermarket and my friend Andy skilfully caught this huge crayfish. I wanted to compare local SSB and SBS blends to see what Sémillon brings to the party so we tasted two wines with fresh crayfish barbecued in garlic butter and lemon juice.

Ibizan SSB has more Sémillon and notes of pear and lemon curd however lacks the acidity to stand up to this dish. The Cape Mentelle SBS has more Sauvignon Blanc with lime and passionfruit notes and high natural acidity which made it a great pairing for this dish. In conclusion, SBS for food and SSB for easy drinking on sunny afternoons. 

6. Un-named Handpicked Organic Chardonnay, Margaret River

This is my good friend Andrew who is kindly having me to stay with him and his lovely family in Margaret River while I'm here. 

It was his birthday yesterday and a friend brought over a bottle of Chardonnay that he had made himself in a very small batch from local handpicked grapes. 

Needless to say, the wine tasted very natural and fresh. Bottled in 2013, organic flavours of white peach and unripe pineapple had started to show through. What a treat. 

5. Mad Fish Gold Turtle Methode Traditionnelle Sparkling, Margaret River

Today has been particularly great, after a week of vineyard visits I have officially signed up my first Australian client. This had to be celebrated in style so I chose a local sparkling wine.

Gold Turtle is made in the traditional method, however is only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with no Pinot Meunier. After fermentation and blending a second fermentation occurs in the bottle then the wine is aged on lees (sediment remains to add flavour), riddled (slowly turned upside down) and disgorged (sediment frozen then shot out). Finally a dosage of sugar is added before re-corking. 

The flavours are of gentle citrus with brioche notes, great quality without too much wallet damage! 

4. Tom Price Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Margaret River (UNRELEASED)

Today one of the top winemakers at the Voyager Estate gave me a tour. The Wright family who own it made their fortune in iron ore thanks to a surveyor named Tom Price.

In the most exceptional vintages the best fruit from the best single vineyard blocks is used to make an extraordinary wine, and this is released under the Tom Price label. The 2014 blend was delicate on the nose but on the palate was packed full of berries and well integrated oak with a delicate perfumed lift, perfect for a dark Finnish winters night.

 

3. Dormilona Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (Natural), Yallingup

Today we have something interesting for our Finnish readers, SSB (Semillon Sauvignon Blanc) is not widely available over there but I love its crisp freshness so want to change that. This one from Dormilona (Spanish for lazybones) is lovingly made with fruit grown in Yallingup which means 'place of love' and fittingly is certified biodynamic. The grapes are harvested by hand and fermented in old French barrels, no fining or filtration takes place. I love how the grassiness is held back by lively citrus notes which really jump out at you, and that the overall feel is so pleasantly fresh and so clean.  

2. Amberley Chimney Brush Chenin Blanc 2014, Western Australia

When I see a bottle of Chenin Blanc I immediately think South Africa so it was a pleasant surprise to hear that producers in Western Australia have been making wine in this style for years.

Where you would usually expect flavours of melon, this wine is full of red apple and pear with interesting ripe tropical fruit notes. It went excellently with fresh prawns in a creamy garlic sauce with spinach and jasmine rice. You can also enjoy this style of wine with spicy food.

The Amberley Estate was founded in the most glorious year of 1985 (the year of my birth) and since its first vintage back in 1990 has continued to produce award winning wines to this day.   

1. Sandalford Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2015, Margaret River

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This is a classic example of why I have come to Australia looking for wine - an exceptional old vine Chardonnay made only using free-run juice with 100% barrel fermentation. The wine is bursting with peach and vanilla notes and has a slight nuttiness to it, very refreshing after a hot day in the sun. The Sandalford winery was founded in 1840 and is one of Western Australia's oldest, and after all this time they sure as hell know how to make fine wine.

Welcome aboard my journey 'Across Australia in 80 Wines...'

It was a long 48 hours from Finland to Australia via France, Hong Kong and Singapore but I have reached my first destination. After adjusting by 60 degrees celsius from -18 in Helsinki to +42 in Perth I am definitely ready to taste some wine!

Over the next 80 days I will travel from Perth to Sydney in search of the best Australian wine. Each day I will share with you a local wine that I have found and hope to export back to Finland for the Thirsty Bear. 

"I see that it is by no means useless to travel, if a man wants to see something new." Jules Verne, Around the World in 80 Days