Tag Archives: Sauvignon Blanc

Eldridge Estate Mornington Peninsula Fume Blanc 2015


As a general rule, I recommend that sauvignon blanc be drunk within 2 years of its vintage date. That explosive freshness that comes with a new release sauvignon blanc can drop away very quickly after a couple of years. No surprise that you’ll see 2014 and 2015 vintages hitting the bin-ends in the stores right now.

The exception to that rule is sauvignon blanc that gets oak treatment, as time in the barrel (as compared with time in stainless steel) adds complexity and longevity. A couple of great examples of oaked sauvignon blanc, are Cloudy Bay’s “Te Koko” and Domaine A’s “Lady A”. The latest release Lady A is 2014 and it’s expected to last until at least 2024.

I’ll leave you to Google the derivation and application of “fume blanc” but at least in Australia, fume blanc is typically used to denote a sauvignon blanc that is oaked, in the same way that in Australia, the use of syrah tells the buyer that the wine is not your typical jammy shiraz even though they are the same grape.

So, here we have Eldridge’s 2015 Fume Blanc. Not your typical Kiwi tropical fruit bomb. Actually, the first time I met David Lloyd, he described sauvignon blanc (as quite a few other winemakers do) as a weed. Time has softened his stance. Here’s his response to Mike Bennie’s comments (see the attached promo):

“I have not shown my sauvignon blanc to wine writers for about 15 years. 8 years ago I started making the Fume style at the suggestion of Merry Edwards in California. I have two clones, one gives tropical flavours and the other the more typical grassy aromas. Dave Bicknell encouraged me to pick earlier and the fruit is there. All the fruit is airbag pressed before fermenting in French Oak barrels, 20% new. Even I can enjoy sauvignon blanc made this way so I am coming out of the sauvignon blanc closet.” – David Lloyd, November 2015

Halliday says drink by 2017 like typical un-oaked sauvignon blanc. Mike Bennie and Huon Hooke give more emphasis to the oak treatment and suggest drinking to 2020 and 2021 respectively.


David Boxall

2015 Fume Blanc 2


Mayer Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2014


The review by Gary Walsh in the promo attached talks about leaving this wine open for a day, or leaving it alone for a year or two.

Given that his rating was made in May 2015, that “year or two” has now passed and this wine should be nicley aged. I bought it in August 2015 so it’s been quietly ageing since then in my Victoria coolroom where my commercial wines are held at around 14C.

But let’s get back to the “leave it open for a day”.

Many consumers believe a wine should be drunk immediately upon opening otherwise there is a fear that the wine will deteriorate (i.e oxidise) and become less enjoyable, even undrinkable in a relatively short period of time. I think this certainly holds true for some wines like Sauvignon Blanc that needs that zippy freshness to remain, or on some older, perhaps fragile wines that can fade very quickly in the glass. Most natural wines have very little protection against oxidation (i.e very little or no sulphur) so consuming them early is safest.

But I’m in the camp that that likes to decant everything, and I’m more than happy to carry a wine over to the next day if I think it will improve with more airing. From my experience, many Rieslings drink better the day after opening, and can reward even several days later. Apsley Gorge Pinot can disappoint if “popped and poured” but give it a long decant, or better still a whole day open, and it’s a different wine.

Ditto with the Mayer Pinots. Decanting and patience will be rewarded.

And perhaps still with this Chardonnay.




HOME HILL “Kelly’s Reserve” Tasmania Pinot Noir 2016 – 60 btls – $77 – not yet rated
LA VIOLETTA “Le Rayon V” Great Southern Cabernet Malbec 2015 – 12 btls – $77 – Mike Bennie 94+
MEWSTONE D’Entrecasteaux Channel Tasmania Riesling – 12 btls – S$63 – Halliday 95

2014 Chardonnay