The inspiration for our style came from a trip to Austria in 2008, to attend the World’s First Sauvignon Blanc Congress, and we were particularly intrigued with the Austrian winemaking techniques for their super premium and ultra premium sauvignon blancs, in particular with the complexity, texture and length of these wines. There were also some similarities between the flavours and aromas that we were seeing in the Austrian sauvignon blancs, and what our vineyard was capable of producing, so we could see this working for us using our grapes.
We have given our Sauvignon Blanc a new name! The name ELEVAGE has come about from reading articles such as this http://www.worldoffinewine.com/news/the-art-of-elevage-4989392 and it encapsulates the essence of how and why we make our Sauvignon Blanc in the style that we do.
What’s Special About our Sauvignon Blanc –
So, we do our own version of the Austrian Style that we admire so much. We harvest our grapes when the the baume is close to 12 to 12.2 baume, similar to the Austrians going through their blocks for the fourth and last handpicking.
During fermentation, 30% is fermented in new and one year old large French oak barrels (called puncheons, which hold 500 litres), with the balance fermenting in tank. After fermentation, the yeast cells die and settle out in the bottom of the barrels or tank, and look like a pale yellow creamy paste. If we leave a wine in contact with the yeast lees for an extended period of time, in our case, it’s 12 months, the wine will end up with a creamier mouthfeel or texture, more flavour complexity, and a long lingering finish. To assist this flavour development process, the yeast lees are stirred fortnightly for the first 3 months then monthly for the next 6 months. The aim with the mixing is to lift the lees of the bottom and mix it back into the body of the wine again. I keep an eye on the progress of the battonage by tasting, and I stop stirring once the wine texture and structure is where I believe it to be nicely balanced.
Our 2016 Sauvignon Blanc has flavours of white pear, sweet lemon, grapefruit and hints of green pineapple, mixed with a touch of creamy sweet lemon, a mild chalky, mineral character which is typical of our vineyard, and hints of nutty, toasty flavours from barrel fermentation and maturation on yeast lees. The palate is soft and generous, with refined fruit flavours, and balanced by a fine tannin structure.
Vegetables, fruit & herbs which match well:
Lavender, rosemary, dill, radishes, horseradish, coriander, spinach, parsley, lemongrass, chard/silverbeet, dill, green olives, lemon, asparagus, capsicum, caper berry, sage, lemon thyme, elderflower, pear.
Chicken with creamy lemon sauce, spring onions and rosemary; scallops with lemon, black pepper and garlic; salt and pepper squid; lamb with tuscan spices; seafood chowder; ratatoullie; croquettes; roast pork shoulder with olives and anchovies
Huon Hooke, The Real Review, January 2018, 95 points
Passionfruit and gunsmoke aromas, intriguing, complex and exotic. It’s quite Loire-like. Possibly solids fermented. The palate is likewise left field for an Australian savvy. A lovely wine – racy, flinty, crisp and very individual. Superb!’ (Ranked #1 out of 21 Sauvignon Blancs tasted from the SW of WA).