2011 Chalmers Montevecchio Heathcote 'Bianco'

There are some varietals that are compatible with each other and go on to have wonderful marriages. Western Australian Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends are examples, as are the increasingly popular Shiraz and Viognier combination where the perfume of Viognier meets the power of Shiraz. Some marriages let's be frank, may not be a successful sum of their parts such as a recently tasted Verdelho, Viognier and Semillon blend that for me was lost somewhere in translation, perhaps better confined to the cardboard box variety of wine consumption.

The Montevecchio Bianco is a field blend of the Italian varietals Fiano, Vermentino and Moscato Giallo from the Chalmers vineyard at Heathcote and is one of the three wines in their Montevecchio range. The translation 'old mountain' refers to Mt. Camel and the ancient Cambrian soils that run through the Heathcote wine region in central Victoria.

The Chalmers family has pioneered southern Italian varietal wines at their Euston property in south-west New South Wales' Murray Darling region for the better part of a decade. The vines at their Heathcote vineyard were planted in 2009 with the inaugural release this year of a range of easy drinking wines under the Montevecchio label.

The Bianco is a superb blend of some of Italy's most ancient grape varieties grown in some of the world's most ancient soils and to me, a pleasure to experience for the first time.

Vermentino is a white grape variety grown in Sardinia and along the Ligurian and Tuscan coastlines and is known for its profile of savoury, herbal aromas, its dry, chalky palate and zesty preserved lemon characteristics.

A white grape variety that dates back to Roman times, Fiano grows predominantly around Avellino in the southern Italian region of Campania. A perfumed and appealing flavour profile, Fiano exhibits aromas of stonefruit, pears and apples with citrus fruit, toasted nuts and honey notes on the palate.

A clone of Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains, the Moscato Giallo (Yellow Muscat) is another ancient grape variety grown in the Italian regions of Friuli and Trentino-Alto Adige. It is renown for its intense musky, floral aromas and dry citric acid flavours.

This is an appealing wine that blends all of its component varietal parts into a harmonious whole and whose texture will marry well with a broad range of cuisine styles. The floral aromatics, the dry, tangy, honey zest on the palate leads to a long crisp, clean finish that should be a real crowd-pleaser for the upcoming warmer months.

Source: Retail Purchase. Rating: 90 Points. Website: www.montevecchio.com.au

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