Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2016
Cape Mentelle Vineyards is a specialist producer of premium wines in Margaret River in the southwest corner of Western Australia. One of the country's finest wine regions, Margaret River enjoys a maritime location, with the added advantage of a long, dry growing season.
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-living 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.
Sometimes light and crisp, other times rich and creamy, Bordeaux white blends typically consist of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Often, a small amount of Muscadelle or Sauvignon Gris is included for added intrigue. This blend was popularized in the Bordeaux region of France (where it also comprises outstanding sweet wines like Sauternes and Barsac), but is often mimicked throughout the New World, particularly in California, Washington and Australia.
In the Glass
Sémillon provides the background to this blend, with a relatively full body and an oily texture. Sauvignon Blanc adds acidity and lots of bright fruit flavor, particularly white grapefruit, lime and freshly cut grass. Used in smaller proportions, Muscadelle can contribute fresh floral notes, while Sauvignon Gris is less aromatic but offers ripe, juicy fruit on the palate. These wines run the gamut from unoaked, refreshing, and easy to drink to serious, complex and barrel-aged. The latter style, usually with a higher percentage of Sémillon, can develop aromas of ginger, chamomile and dried orange peel. The dessert wines produced by these blends, often with the help of "noble rot" called botrytis, can have lush stone fruit and honey characteristics.
Crisp, dry Bordeaux white blends are the perfect accompaniment for raw or lightly cooked seafood, especially shellfish. A more structured, Sémillon-based bottling can stand up to richer fish, chicken, or pork dishes in white sauces. These blends also work well with a variety of vegetables and fresh herbs, like asparagus, peas, basil and tarragon. Sweet dessert wines are traditionally enjoyed with strong blue cheeses, foie gras or fruit-based desserts.
Sauternes and Barsac are usually reserved for dessert, but astute sommeliers know that they can be served at any time—before, during or after the meal. Try these sweet wines as an aperitif with jamón ibérico, oysters with a spicy mignonette or during dinner alongside hearty Alsatian sausage, poached lobster in beurre blanc sauce or even fried chicken.