Book, stay, enjoy. That's

Saturday 21 August 2021

A wine gamble that paid off big time


Younger wine lovers may find it hard to believe but just over 30 years ago sauvignon blanc was pretty much a rarity in Australia. 

Before the Marlborough sauvignon blanc boom, basically the only savvy blancs being enjoyed in Australia were imports from Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé or Menetou-Salon in the Loire Valley of France. 

Robert Mondavi in California made a wine labelled Fumé Blanc that was made from sauvignon blanc and enjoyed brief popularity Down Under, but that was about it. 

It was a decision right out of left field then, when Michael Hill-Smith, Australia's first Master of Wine, and his cousin Martin Shaw (a long-time disciple of Brian Croser at Petaluma) decided to launch a new Adelaide Hills label called Shaw+Smith with a first-release sauvignon blanc. 

It was an aromatic variety they felt would be well suited to the cold, wet and high-altitude hills region. Sauvignon Blanc is generally at its most delicate and pretty when grown around 450m above sea level with summer sun.

"The idea of being able to do something new and modern was really appealing," Hill-Smith has said. 

Shaw+Smith was established in 1989 with a first release in 1990 and I remember tasting that first release with Michael Hill-Smith, which makes me feel very old indeed. 

But the wine set off an uncontrollable juggernaut. 

Shaw+Smith has become an Australian icon and Shaw and Hill-Smith now also own and operate Tolpuddle, a Tasmanian label known for stellar pinot noir and chardonay.

The 2021 Shaw+Smith Sauvignon Blanc was just been released - and it remains a market leader with wonderful vibrancy and freshness. Think grapefruit, citrus and guava notes with very brisk acidity.  

This is the 32nd release and it remains a wine to be enjoyed in all its youthful playfulness. And it remains priced at under $30. 

"It truly was a remarkable vintage with winter rains setting up the vines well for the growing season," says David LeMire, a Master of Wine who works in sales and marketing for Shaw+Smith. 

"The spring and summer months were mil, allowing sauvignon blanc fruit to build excellent flavour, intensity and acidity."

The 2021 is long, lean and delicious. Top work again from winemaker Adam Wadewitz. Pair it with a warm goat cheese tart for maximum sensory pleasure!



No comments:

Post a Comment