I bemoaned just a few months ago just how shit most Australian Rhone white blends are, so today it’s time to feature two 2014 vintage wines that get the formula just right.
Lark Hill Mr. V Canberra White Blend 2014
If anything, I’d say that the reason why most Australian Marsanne/Roussanne Viognier blends fail to impress is that they just don’t nail the balance between textural richness and acid freshness, with the balance usually more towards acidity and not enough richness. Not this bad boy! A blend of Marsanne Roussanne Viognier (hence the Mr. V.) with a portion given a little skin contact for shits and giggles. It works too, with this rather golden hued wine carrying a proper Rhone cavalcade of honey, peach and peach skin, the palate ripe and yet contained by acidity. It’s full and yet also tangy and taut, the best still unfurling in the bottle. I enjoyed every mouthful of this, even if I couldn’t drink loads of it. Convincing wine of breadth and depth. Best drinking: 2016-2019. 18/20, 93/100. 13%, $35. Would I buy it? Yes. An easy choice off a wine list.
Lino Ramble Ludo McLaren Vale Roussanne Marsanne Viognier 2014
I was a big fan of the 2013 and this new ’14 isn’t far behind. Handpicked, whole bunch basket pressed and wild fermented in old oak, before bottling unfined, this is full tilt white wine. Pity there is less than cases available (buy here)! Straw yellow, the nose is beautifully alive and ripe with lemon and yellow peach ripe fruit, the juicy, chalky palate flush with more yellow fruit and some dry phenolics. An awfully serious, ‘I’ve been to the northern Rhone’ style, it’s just a bit phenolic and grippy but that tends to fill things out nicely, the solid length making the proposition even more attractive. It’s perhaps a little raw to finish, but again it’s a smart example of how to do Rhone whites properly. Best drinking: 2016-2019. 17.7/20, 92/100. 12.4%, $30. Would I buy it? I’d smash at least half a bottle of this on any given night.
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I’ve also greatly enjoyed Tahbilk’s MVR blend.