The 2016 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of Margaret River (Australia) (see blue link below).
Cape Mentelle Sem/SB 2016 - Dec 2017 Decanter review
Cape Mentelle takes a minimal approach towards this classic Margaret River blend. The aim is to preserve as much fruit intensity and regional character as possible, whilst providing a full flavoured distinctive white wine. The style accentuates the fresh fruit characters of both varieties with the added complexity and palate weight offered by a small portion of barrel fermentation.
The fruit comes from the perfectly suited cooler southern half of the Margaret River region, from their three vineyards of the Wallcliffe-Trinders, Crossroads and Chapman Brook. The typical soils of these vineyards are geologically ancient, free draining, sandy loams with a high percentage of lateritic gravel. The vines are vertically trained, spur or cane pruned and canopy manipulations are frequent to allow good air flow and dappled sunlight on the fruit.
When harvesting sauvignon blanc and semillon the emphasis is placed on capturing vibrant fresh flavours with clean acidity. Fruit is harvested at night to take advantage of the cooler temperatures. Extended fermentation takes place at very low temperature in stainless steel tanks with about 8% of the blend fermented in new oak barriques. The 2016 blend was assembled after four months on lees; the team decided to preserve the exceptional vinosity and perfect texture by bottling the wine unfined in July 2016.
The nose on this wine has varietal sauvignon notes revolving around cassis buds, juniper berries and cracked black pepper. It then opens to complex fruit ranging from zesty white grapefruit to hints of lychees, lifted by ethereal floral notes of jasmine and passion fruit flower. The palate is juicy clean, slightly saline, on notes of passionfruit and citrus. The fresh pithy acidity and mineral character, reminiscent of fine absinthe, fresh ginger and gentian bitters give the wine a lot of vinosity and personality, well balanced by the honey notes and creamy texture of the semillon and showing exceptional length.
This wine goes well with crab cakes, fresh oysters au naturel and warm bruschetta with fresh buffalo mozzarella amongst many other dishes. Because of the wine's strong personality, it will allow a bold marriage with cheeses, especially well-aged, slightly crystallized ones such as a mature Parmigiano-Reggiano.