The Mitchelton Winery is located in the Goulburn Valley region of Central Victoria. This places it less than an hour and a half away, if you get the bug to drive to this Australian wine country from Melbourne. In the same way that a hospitable winemaking establishment in Napa Valley would appeal to someone in San Francisco, both this particular winery and its locale are a wine tourist’s dream.
Australia experienced a frantic gold-rush around the same time we did last century, and Michelton lies in the area which was the very heart of it. History and beauty are at every corner. Nearby towns like Maldon, Macedon and Gisborne contain some of the best preserved memorials of the time, superb homes and buildings of the Victorian period. The winery itself features a unique, Victorian-inspired observation tower, an unusual architectural tribute to the era. From this tower, visitors may enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside and vineyards.
The Valmorbida family of Melbourne chose a tranquil bush setting beside the Goulburn River to house their winemaking establishment. Since its inception in 1973, Don Lewis has been with them, leading their winemaking team. He has had the good fortune of having had available to him as consultants two of Australia’s greatest white wine makers, Colin Preece and Brian Croser. Lewis’ wines dependably exemplify the influence of their expertise.
The grapes Sémillon and Chardonnay both come from France originally, but from different regions. The former hails from Bordeaux, while the latter is a noble native of Bourgogne. And while certain wine regulations in France make mixing these two grapes a taboo, the unencumbered Australians use the duo as their traditional blend. They like the way Chardon-nay’s firm austerity ideally complements the softness and fruit characterizing the Bordeaux grape.
This classic example of the Australian blend shows an appetizing green/gold hue. It has the typical green plum/fig nose of the Sémillon. This fruit follows through into the mouth. Though light, it is somewhat rich on the palate with firm acidity and pear, vanilla and leaf flavors. It finishes dry and clean with the pear/plum flavors remaining as a pleasant reminder. Serve chilled with sautéed John Dory or Orange Roughie.
Complements chicken or shell fish dishes in mild, lemony sauces, too.
Cellaring Notes: Peaking soon. Drink now and through 1994.
Reviewed by Larry Tepper