Just what is Savagnin supposed to taste like if it doesn't taste like Albarino (which it doesn't)? I guess in hindsight it's easy to say "Gee, those Aussie Albarinos sure didn't taste like the Spanish stuff". But I remember thinking it, even if I didn't say it (trust me). Of course it turned out it's not Albarino at all, but the somewhat lesser-known and loved variety of Savagnin Blanc. Or Traminer. Or whatever you want to call it. But let's settle on Savagnin.
This guy was opened from the ice-tub on New Years Day and I nipped a taste before trying something else. It was limey and musky with a touch of phenolics (which could easily be confused with a bit of bottle-age character so don't hold me to it). I never got back to it and nobody else had a go at it either, so there it sat in the ice-tub - an almost full bottle - until the next day when I revisited it.
Musky scents filled the high notes on the nose, perhaps some lavender and sherbet too. The palate was limey and sinewy and textural with crunchy pears, some tinned peach and a pinch of muscaty flavour. It's also got the kiwifruit/lychee spectrum of fruit flavours and had good length, balanced crispness, and good weight.
OK, this is a nice drop. But it's not much like Albarino as I know it, and I'm sure it's more comfortable with its Savagnin cloak. I revisited the wine again a week later and it looked as fresh as the first day or two (notwithstanding being 2009 already), so I'm guessing it might have some longevity in the cellar. I'd drink it again.
Tasted: January 2011
Value: $22 at CD - probably cheaper around the traps. OK value.
Producer: Chapel Hill - www.chapelhillwine.com.au
Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia
Vintage: An early and hot start to 2009 in the Vale, however things cooled down a little after the whites came in. The white wines don't really show any stress from this heatwave, and indeed the Savagnin retains some typical McLaren Vale cool charm.