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2001 Cape Mentelle Chardonnay
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- Closure: Cork
Notes sourced from Cape Mentelle...
The fruit for this wine is sourced from three sites, with most coming from the McHenry Vineyard, which has a sheltered north-easterly aspect and deep gravel loam soils sloping down to the Margaret River. This low-yielding vineyard provides quality fruit that forms the backbone of the blend. The sandy loam soils of the Ironstone Vineyard, further north in the Margaret River region, produces fruit contributing to the ripe, full-bodied characters of the wine. The third site is our Chapman Brook vineyard planted in 1993-4, about 20km south-east of Margaret River. This will be the source for much of our whites in future. The chardonnay grows on a north facing slope with well-drained grey gravel loam soils. All vineyards are spur pruned, except for McHenry’s, and vertical shoot positioned to enhance sunlight exposure.
Vine growth started early after good rainfall in July-August, followed by a dry and mild period from September through to March. These ideal conditions saw rapid and healthy growth, with full vine development completed a month early, by late November. With soil moisture depleted by December, some supplementary irrigation was required. Vines revelled in these conditions and another fine vintage seemed assured, providing judicious shoot removal and positioning was carried out. Grape flavours were quite pronounced with high acid levels in the earlier harvested whites, due no doubt to the unusually mild January-February period. The dry growing season ensured that rots and mould were a non-event.
Harvest started a little earlier than usual. Ironstone, typically the first, was picked on 26th February, Chapman on the 6th and 8th March and McHenry was picked between 26th February and 11th March. Ripeness varied between 23.2 and 25.3 brix while the acidities ranged between 6.8 to 9.8 gram/litres. Yields were way up this year averaging 8 tonnes/hectare from our three source vineyards. Fruit however was in tip top condition. This year our chardonnay was 53% McHenry fruit, 28% Chapman and 19% from the Ironstone vineyard.
The machine-harvested Ironstone fruit was crushed, must-chilled and pressed to stainless steel tanks for cold settling prior to racking off gross lees to another tank for inoculation with Montrachet yeast, renowned for producing rich and complex wines. Two to three days later, the fermenting juice was racked to barrels, of which 42 per cent were new and the remainder one and two years old. The McHenry and half the Chapman fruit was elevated as whole bunches directly into our tank press where the juice was gently pressed into a holding tank. The juice was then analysed and any necessary amelioration done before racking straight into barrel to await fermentation by indigenous yeast. Malolactic fermentation occurred in one third of the blend, the balance was sulphured in winter. In December the contents of all barrels meeting our standards were blended together and given a light bentonite fining before filtering and bottling in January.
Tasting Notes: Ideal conditions throughout the growing season resulted in bright healthy fruit with excellent flavours and good yields. A stylish wine, redolent of white peaches and clotted cream. The palate is clean and supple, showing seamless integration between fruit and quality oak. The wine finishes long, with cleansing acid.