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Cape Mentelle Chardonnay 2006
Appearance: Pale straw.
Nose: Zesty lemon and grapefruit aromas with lifted floral notes, underpinned by struck flint and ground almonds.
Palate: White peach, fresh figs and pear flavors are supported by a textured, mealy palate. Subtle oak combines with the fruit to produce savory complexity. The finish is long and clean with great intensity and vibrant, minerally acidity.
Food pairings: Roasted spatchcock with wild herbs and pine nut stuffing, on a bed of honey roasted parsnips and pears, served with steamed broccolini.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Cape Mentelle was one of the first vineyards established in the Margaret River region. First planted in 1970, there are today over 180 hectares under vine and the winery, constructed in 1977, crushes about 1,500 tons of fruit from estate vineyards and contract grown fruit sourced from within the region. Primary plantings are of Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc with smaller amounts of Shiraz, Zinfandel, Merlot and Chardonnay.
The winery and original vineyard lie between the town of Margaret River and the Cape from which it takes its name. The original Mentelles were Frenchmen, geographer Edmunde and his cartographer brother Francois-Simon, who lived in Paris in the early 1700s.
Cape Mentelle Vineyards is committed to the concept of true regional styles and will continue to expand its operations to produce quality wines. The company believes that the role of specialist wineries lies in the production of premium wines from varieties best suited to specific regions. Emphasis is placed on individual fruit character and the development of a recognizable estate wine style.
Home to some of Australia’s most elegant and long-lived red and white wines, Margaret River is situated in the farthest reaches of Western Australia. Relatively warm and dry, the region is cooled by breezes from the Indian Ocean. Margaret River takes some inspiration from Bordeaux, producing top-quality Cabernet Sauvignon with firm structure, mouthwatering acidity, balanced alcohol and notes of herbs and spice. Complex, age-worthy Chardonnays are another regional specialty. Also common here are refreshing blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, as well as earthy, aromatic Bordeaux red blends.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.