2015 Cherubino Pemberton Laissez Faire Field Blend

Larry Cherubino's second vintage of this quaddie, a Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Gris and Riesling field blend, the grapes of which were harvested at the same time with limited intervention in the subsequent winemaking process. 

Sauvignon Gris - a pink-berried mutation of Sauvignon Blanc - has mysterious origins in the Graves region of Bordeaux where it flirted with extinction thanks to phylloxera, somehow surviving only then to be used in blends ! Gratitude indeed. Seriously, it goes by an old local name, Fié or Fié Gris as well as Sauvignon Rosé. 
The variety's existence in Australia is unknown other than Larry Cherubino's Pemberton vineyard and finding good information on the variety here has been frustrating. It is different to its more illustrious relative in that it is less ferocious aromatically and less crisp but more round and textural in the mouth. 

Brancott Estate in New Zealand's Marlborough region has produced a varietal Sauvignon Gris since 2013 as have a few others wineries over the ditch. The variety has a long history in Chile with many producers making varietal wines from it than anywhere else. 

Sauvignon Gris Grapes

Visually, an attractive pale gold colour with delicate aromas of pear and nectarine underlined by hints of rose water, lime and talc.

A soft and gentle palate begins with poached pear, melon and rose water building to delicate stone fruit and herbal notes. 

Dry talc-like tannins supported by some crisp acid make this a well-balanced, very drinkable wine. 

Generous mouthfeel that gives way to a smooth and savoury fruit finish.

Nothing out of place here in this intriguing blend. Recommended for something different to be enjoyed over the warmer months.

Source: Sample. ABV: 12.9%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $25.00. Rating: 91 Points. 

Follow me:  http://twitter.com/theinqpalate15

2014 Cherubino Pemberton Laissez Faire Field Blend

An Alsatian recipe of Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Gris and Riesling from the Pemberton region in Western Australia.

A passionate advocate for Australia's largest wine region - Western Australia's Great Southern - Larry Cherubino started his own winery business in 2005. His portfolio now has an extensive five-tier range of wines from sub-regional and single vineyards, among which the Laissez Faire is one, a reference to the uncomplicated, non-interventionist approach to winemaking.    

The Sauvignon Gris component interests me as a variety rare in Australia at present. Sourced from the Channybearup Vineyard in Pemberton, it adds a touch of texture and finesse to the blend.

In the glass the wine is pale yellow with pinkish hues in colour.

Aromas of lemon and pear predominantly with a suggestion of passion fruit, rose petals and mineral nuances.

A soft, light and bright palate of lemon, pear, pineapple with talc-like tannins. The blend creates a subtly-flavoured wine with balanced dry acidity. A hint of sweetness at the tail end makes it interesting.

The first of this blend with these varieties to be produced in Australia. Juicy, good length and easy to drink. 

Source: Sample. ABV: 13.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $29.00. Rating: 90 Points. 

2014 Gapsted Wines Limited Release Petit Manseng

Where has this grape been hiding ? How come we haven't heard more of it ? If there was ever a variety that has flown under the radar in Australia, it is Petit Manseng. Considered an uncommon variety here, its major plantings are located in north-east Victoria and the Riverland regions with sundry other producers scattered throughout the mainland states.

Known for its intense flavours and natural acidity, Petit Manseng is a lesser known grape even in France from where it originates. This white variety flourishes and is highly regarded in the Jurançon AOC of south-west France, which interestingly was one of the first wine appellations to be declared in France.

History documents its existence since the mid-1500s and records that it holds an auspicious position in the history of La Belle France. The future King Henri IV (1553-1610) who was born in the town of Pau, was christened with the wine. It is a practice that continues with local baptisms to this day. Petit Manseng also grows in the Spanish Basque countryside over the border and in Uruguay where with the Tannat variety it arrived with French Basque immigrants in the 1820's.

Situated in Victoria's high country, awarding-winning Gapsted Wines source their grapes from the King and Alpine Valley, the winery having the distinction of pioneering the P M variety in Australia in the mid 1990's.

Their 2014 release is light copper with green tinges in colour.
Exotic aromatics of nectarine, lime sherbert, jasmine and cinnamon. Intense and perfumed and inviting.
Palate is a well-structured, light to medium on its feet and long. Peaches, honeysuckle, quince and pineapple all compete on the palate. Tangy, light chalky mouthfeel and fresh. Off dry with bright acidity through to a soft crisp finish of lemon and green apple. Not obviously sweet, the balance and definition provided by the natural acidity and light tannins. 

Captivating, sumptuous, delicious with little here to dislike. A wine of presence and high interest. Superb drinking now that would match a range of different cuisines well. Could also cellar for a few more years. A ripper. Move over Sauvignon Blanc, you're got more competition.

If this unique and underrated variety gets more traction here, Petit Manseng has the potential to be the next big white wine variety in coming years. 

Source: Sample. ABV: 12.9%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $25.00. Rating: 93 Points. 
Website: http://gapstedwines.com.au