2020 Deep Woods ‘Hillside’ Chardonnay
    Margaret River, Western Australia RRP $25

    Ten years ago I visited Margaret River (Margs to the locals), WA, for the wines, caves, forest walks and vivid coastal scenery. Its wine quality action abounds, mainly with Cabernet-dominant wines, and Chardonnay. Expensive reserve wines proliferate, but bargains remain for canny shoppers.

    From my caravan park, avoiding the excellent restaurants, I visited Cape Mentelle, Howard Park, Leeuwin, Moss Wood, Pierro, Vasse Felix, Voyager – and others, purchasing little. But I missed Deep Woods.

    Light lemon colour, this wine exults with melon, nougat and cashew. Oak is certainly present, providing spice notes and a touch of butterscotch.  A slightly buttery old-school approach is lifted with citrus freshness and fruit depth, with yellow peach on the palate. Astute grippiness displays the artfulness of modern Oz-chard styles.

    Conclusion: Can’t get to Margs right now? Let Margs come to you – this rich young wine will stand up to robust foods – a chicken stir-fry with cashews will hit the mark, crispy-skin fish another winner. PS The delicious Deep Woods Harmony Rosé is ridiculously under-priced.


    2021 10 Minutes by Tractor Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc
    Mornington Peninsula, Victoria RRP $32

    Next time you find yourself on the Mornington Peninsula, pop into 10 Minutes by Tractor. Their impressive, architecturally alluring tasting room is complete with knowledgeable and friendly staff, happy to run you through a selection of their large range. 

    My wife and I bought a few bottles, but this Savvy Bee was a real stand out. Also known as ‘Fumé Blanc’ and popularised by France’s Loire Valley, it’s rare to see this variety aged in oak; but when done well, it can offer a richer, rounder and more settled palate with the capacity for short term cellaring. 

    Moreover, this wine has also seen fortnightly bàtonnage (less stirring) and a good dose of malolactic fermentation which certainly brings about a mealiness rarely found. You can still glean the classic tropical, grassy, gooseberry characteristics, but they’re more subtle and balanced with a food friendly savouriness that has a morish intrigue that’ll keep you coming back. 

    Pair with a deconstructed salad of Nicoise; be it tuna or hot smoked salmon. 

    Conclusion: This is a Sauvignon Blanc for the wine aficionado that has ruled out all Sauvignon Blancs.

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