The rain and wind is slowly abating here in Margaret River with crisp offshore winds beginning to push those winter cold fronts away. So now, with the dams full and the ducks content, the sun is beginning to show its face a little more regularly. And with some burgeoning warmth in the air, the soil is slowly thawing out and awaking the vines from their winter slumber.

The fresh buds are bursting in virtually all the blocks in our vineyards with the Lagan Chardonnay once again being the most advanced. This is a critical time for these young tender shoots, with the threat of heavy winds and hail in a late season storm always on the back of our minds. Fingers crossed the worst is behind us and the vineyard crew have some clear weather ahead to catch their breath. Spring time is a lovely time of the year in Margaret River. The vineyards and paddocks are still green from the winter rains. Yet with some warmth in the air all of a sudden the spring is back in everyone’s step and the grapevines are no exception. It seems that every time I drive to work our Lagan Chardonnay block has grown another few inches, like a gentle tap on the shoulder to remind us that the next vintage is just around the corner.

With the sun out, this is a great time of year to kick off the ugg-boots, dust the outside BBQ off and get stuck into a few fresh Sauvignon Blanc Semillons. These wines are so youthful and vibrant in their infancy that it really seems like the fruit is overflowing from the glass. These wonderfully aromatic varieties are outstanding again this vintage. The Sauvignon Blanc batches are exhibiting fresh zesty citrus, passion-pip,floral blossom which is balanced with a herbal/lemongrass purity from the Semillon. When it’s all balanced by crisp and refreshing acidity and you have yourself a perfect Spring and Summer wine. Unfortunately, these wines have been somewhat forgotten about of late. This could be due to the Chardonnay revolution, or many people’s quest to find a variety and / or region little more obscure than the often once ubiquitous SSB / SBS blend. While both are worthy pursuits, forget about the quintessential Sauvignon Blanc Semillons from Margaret River at your own wine peril. These are some of the best value wines out in the market today. Nowadays, producers are often incorporating some subtle barrel fermentation/lees work and natural ferment into the blends to give some personality, intrigue and body to the blends. More like a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend for Chardonnay drinkers. At Xanadu we use all these techniques to make our blend a little out of the ordinary, but we are not about to lose sight with why we all fell in love with these blends in the first place. The fruit comes first, and will continue to do so. So take a trip down memory lane and raise a glass of Sauvignon Blanc Semillon next time you find yourself enjoying what Spring weather has to offer – if you haven’t had one in a while, you just might be pleasantly surprised.

Brendan Carr
Xanadu Winemaker

Published On

December 2, 2015