INSIDER'S PICK: 2016 CAPE MENTELLE SAUVIGNON BLANC/SEMILLON MARGARET RIVER $15.99
The combination of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are the backbone of White Bordeaux, the Sauvignon Blanc providing the crispness and brightness, the Semillon bringing the richness and intensity. In general the more of one varietal in the blend will tip you off to the style of the wine. While many of Australia's over-industrialized wines are combinations of grapes seemingly just because they have so much volume they're blending them willy-nilly in hopes somebody likes them, this is a blend with a long tradition. In fact, Cape Mentelle was among the earliest to bring this type of wine to the cool western edge near Perth, and have a long history of making wines worthy of their Bordeaux origins. They have also shown an ability to evolve in the cellar in much the same way White Bordeaux with fairly large amounts of Semillon can, even since they converted to using screw caps instead of corks. Perhaps not worth keeping for decades, but 8-10 years in the cellar can bring out a unique waxy citrus note.
The fresh version pops with the initial cut grass and green citrus of the Sauvignon Blanc, with a slight bit of melon peel emerging after the initial blast settles down. The Semillon really shows up on the palate, rich and almost lemony, a round texture almost Chardonnay worthy but without any oak or signs of butter. There is a nice underlying seashell-like salinity that calls to mind fresh briny oysters coming back into season or a light fresh crab dish. A perfect wine for your last trips to the beach or early Fall picnics.
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