Import Selection: Black Marlin, 1989. Black Opal
Black Marlin? I would prefer just calling it Semillon!
This month’s imported white wine comes from the celebrated Hunter River Valley in Northern Australia. Gaining a reputation of late of producing wines of distinction, the Hunter River Valley has a history dating back to :1824 when a young Scot by the name of James Busby immigrated to Australia. Sort of a tinkerer by trade, he piddled in viticulture and as a result wrote a book or two.
The Richmond Grove winery is located in the upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales, where premium wines are starting to turn heads. Because the weather in the valley is unpredictable and torrential downpours are possible during harvest, winemaking techniques play an important role in this region of Australia.
Mark Cashmore, the winemaker of our selection, has described to us some of the interesting techniques used in that part of the world. For instance, with one of his wines, the grapes are picked at night and dry ice is added in the field to protect them from spoilage. With this months selection, the grapes were constantly monitored as to their sugar content, acidity, and pH balance from the time sugar began to accumulate in the immature fruit. This allowed the winemaker to harvest the grapes at exactly the moment he felt would optimize the character of the grape in question.
The grapes of Australia, like much of the grapes grown throughout the world, are the grapes of France. Our selection is a blend of 60% Semillon, the celebrated grape of Sauterne in Bordeaux, 22% Chardonnay, the noble white grape of Burgundy, and 18% of Sauvignon Blanc, the predominate white grape of dry white wines in Bordeaux. An unusual blend, but typically Australian. Semillon/Chardonnay blends are quite popular in Australia and the addition of a little Sauvignon Blanc rounds this wine nicely.
The color is brilliant yellow gold with a nice hue of straw. The nose is very complex being able to identify all three grape components, a melon scent is quite pronounced. The taste begins with Chardonnay (a hint of oak), then moves to the Semillon melon flavors, afterward comes the Sauvignon Blanc crispness. The finish has melon overtones with nice acid and fruit balance. Crisp and clean.
Serve chilled with seafood, seafood salad, or use as an aperitif.
Cellaring Notes: For drinking through 1990 -1991
- Domestic Selection: Fume Blanc, 1990. Haywood
- This Matter of California Wine Labels
- Adventures in Eating: The Best Wontons in the World
- Import Selection: Riesling, 1989. Roemische Weinstrasse
- Domestic Selection: Mourvedre, 1988. Francal
- This Matter of Table Wines
- Adventures in Eating: Minestrone Soup
- Import Selection: Cabernet Sauvignon, 1989. Villa Montes
- Domestic Selection: Chardonnay, 1989. Plume Ridge
- This Matter of Vintage Charts