there are some new reviews oozing though here, but we're not deckin em up all pretty til we work out an otherwise unborn style for this sleazy rube we call drankster


that's a George Grainger Aldridge cartoon ... obviously a pre-screwcap man

22 August 2008


Tallarook Marsanne 2006

$??: 13% alcohol; screw cap; 93+++ points

St. Luis Riebl is the patron of Australian marsanne. He consistently conjures our best models in the Central Victorian Highlands near Seymour; often I suspect they’re better than nearly all the marsanne in France. Wild yeast, barrel ferment, sixteen munce on lees: it’s all arrogant Rhonish magnificent disdain in the manufactory; once it’s in the glass it sells itself; if you’re really smart you’ll leave it in the bottle for five years or so. It’s like cherimoya, the Peruvian custard apple: kinda fleshy in a cheeky sweet-and-sour way. So it has plenty of fat, and plenty of skinny in that long acid finish.

Yalumba Wrattonbully Vineyards Marsanne Viognier 2006

$18.55; 13.5% alcohol; screw cap; 93+ points

While the spin kit calls Wrattonbully “recently discovered” (there’ve been vines there at Koppamurra since 1974), and two winemakers each take the credit, on separate pieces of paper, you could say the propaganda needs a bit of a polish. But they’ve got the wine sorted: I reckon this is Yalumba’s best Rhonely white yet. With none of the petiol greens common to marsanne, but swelling with peach, bacon fat, ginger root and cantaloupe peel, it’s modestly-structured, with layers of viognier tannins working the palate. Built for pork stews and curries, cassoulets, bouillabaisse - anything from Richard Olney’s brilliant old Provence cookbook. Mm.

All Saints Estate Rutherglen Marsanne 2004

$27; 13.8% alcohol; cork; 93 points

All the saints? Just the one, really. The holy white trinity of the Rhone also includes roussanne and viognier. But like the exquisite Tallarook, from across Victoria’s Great Divide, this dry beauty would glow in Tain l’Hermitage or Tournon, and properly seduce beside a cool cassoulet of pig’s neck. Perfectly weighted and waxy, in the pear/white peach/ honeydew spectrum, it comes off as slick, slow and satiny as a long opera glove. Purrrr.

Yering Station Yarra Valley MVR 2005

$23; 14% alcohol; screw cap; 89 points

Taking the acronym branding thing to another bland level, this marsanne, viognier and roussanne blend also pushes our selection of Rhonesome whites to a smarter high. It’s slightly waxy-feeling wine, with gentle fragrances of drying blooms and weedy meadow pasture as much as anything you’d say was stone fruits, which is what everybody else claims to see, particularly in viognier. Great with olives, fetta, dry tomatoes and hot cacciatore.

Terra Felix Marsanne Roussanne 2005

($15; 13.6% alcohol; screw cap; 87 points)

The Central Victorian wizard, Luis Riebl, did this with new-bought fruit and stuff that missed his prime Tallarook cut. “Marsanne has the nuts and honey, roussanne the citrus hints and blossom”, he says. The honey’s leatherwood, and there’s a shot of gunflint, too, with some syrupy aged base reserve that reminds me of ancient Hunter Semillon. It’s rich, pure, burnished, old-fashioned wine for a cassoulet of pork neck, beans, and artichoke, served barely warm. (16.12.6)

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