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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Little Suprise Packet

This post may come across as somewhat bias, due to my association with one of the owners of this winery however due to the wine i'm reviewing i assure you its not...
Mitchell Harris is a partnership between Alicia & Craig Mitchell and Shannya & John Harris, the former the head wine maker at Mount Avoca & sparkling producer at Domaine Chandon.
So it is with good credentials that this wine is created. Using fruit bought from only Victoria's emerging Pyrenees sources this Sauvignon Blanc Fumѐ.
Many people may not be familar with the Fumѐ style of Sauvignon Blanc, so i will give you a little history lession on its birth. The Sauvignon Balnc grape traces it origins back to Western France to the Loire Valley & many of the regions of Bordeaux. The Sauvignon Blanc vine often bud's much later than many other white varieties. This Late budding feature however allows it to perform extremely well in sunny climates when not exposed to overwhelming heat. In the warmer regions such as here in Australia the grape does extremely well in cooler climates like that of the Pyrenees & the Yarra Valley. In area's where this vine is subjected to high heat, the grape will quickly over ripen and produce dull flat wines with poor flavours and poor acidity that its champions.
In the grapes home of France, it is grown in the marine climate of Bordeaux (especially well in the regions of ; Pessac-Leongnan as a dry wine, and in Sauternes as a sweet wine) and well as the continental climate of the Loire Valley, such as Pouilly Fumѐ, Sancerre & Sauvignon de Touraine. Pouilly Fumѐ Originate from the town of Pouilly-sur-Loire, which is located directly across from the Loire River from the commune of Sancerre. The Soil there is very flinty with deposits of amazing limestone which the locals believed imparted a smoky, gun flint flavour to the wine and hence Fumѐ, the French word for "smoke" was attached to the wine. This style of wine was much loved by the early wine makers of the Nappa Valley who chose to attempt to replicate the flavours of Pouilly Fumѐ, by adding a oak to there Sauvignon Blanc. This filtered out all over the world now with some uninhibited winemakers taking up the style in an attempt to but the trend of grassy herbaceous New World Sauvignon. 
So that is the story of the Fumѐ. The way that this has been achieved by the Mitchell Harris team is via 85% barrel fermentation in 300L French & Hungarian Oak Hogsheads, with the other 15% Stainless Steel Tank fermentation. The wines spent 6 months on Yeast Lee's in both tank & barrel. This Fumѐ is a stunning example of what can be done with good fruit, it provides a better length on the palate than other standard Sav's which are tight, crisp and lean with little balance and wine making skill. The 08 Fumѐ shows a soft handed used of oak and lee's treatment with nice balance of acidity and fruit.The Nose and Palate display lime, lemon and pineapple characters which a hint of that soft vanilla oak coming through.
All in all this is the first Sauvignon Blanc that got me excited about the variety for a very long time.
93 Points Drink Now till 2012
Screwcap 11.5%

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