The Port Phillip Estate Sauvignon is a single site wine produced from 0.65 hectares of estate vineyard.
September was cold and wet and the predicted La Niña did not fully eventuate. The cold weather continued throughout October and November and the soils remained cool for longer than usual, resulting in a flowering period which was almost twice as long as usual. There was some reduction in fruit-set that resulted in lower than average yields.
Throughout the growing season disease pressure was quite high. While the season presented us with challenges, the diligence and hard work of the viticultural team ensured the health of our vineyards. We continue to produce our estate made compost and our fungal compost tea. Our knowledge of our properties continues to evolve, providing a strong foundation for future years.
Mild conditions and the occasional rain storm lengthened the harvest period. Picking concluded mid-April, for some of our blocks this was the latest they had been picked in over a decade. The wines are showing a finesse and coolness from the longer growing season, with great acidity and bright flavours.
The grapes were gently whole-bunch pressed into old French oak barriques, where fermentation occurred spontaneously with ambient yeasts. Once dry, the wine was left sur lie for several months prior to bottling. The wine was bottled without fining and with minimal filtration.
Fruitier notes of pawpaw, guava and grapefruit together with the usual herbaceous characters of Sauvignon Blanc (jalapeño and dill) combine to deliver an intensely aromatic bouquet. The palate shows hints of texture from the barrel fermentation and ageing but is driven by fine acidity and finishes with a passionfruit skin pithiness.
A relatively unusual but welcome and indeed, refreshing take on this variety in Australia. More reminiscent of Loire Valley expressions with lanolin, quince, candied grapefruit and stone fruit notes; verdant fennel pungency lingering in the background. There is nothing exuberantly tropical or sherbet-lime about this wine and it is all the more restrained, savoury and drinkable because of it. Barrel fermented with ambient yeast, with plenty of time on lees clearly helping to build tension, composure and complexity. Bravo!
Ned Goodwin MW
The dropping of the ‘blanc’ from the label is a hint on what is going on inside the bottle – a clear intention to differentiate itself from the mass of crazily tropical fruit punch-styled sauvignon blanc. Here the winemaking includes the modern box ticks: wild yeast, whole bunches, stems and all in the mix, and older barrel settling. The taste is more genteel, more fragrant with lemon cream/key lime pie senses, and a comforting palate-pleasing fulfillment.
Fennel, guava, spice and grapefruit. It’s full flavoured, lightly chalky in texture, has a subtle pithy bitterness, a gentle vanilla perfume and finishes long and clean with a tinned grapefruit aftertaste (and boy did I love that stuff as a kid!). Rolls in complexity and ease of drinking. Ripper.