35 dollars: All Saints Estate Family Cellar Marsanne 2012
This wine is a bold statement!
Rutherglen was one of the first Australian wine regions that I got to know, courtesy of friends who run All Saints Estate, one of the area’s landmark wineries. While the centurion blends of Muscat aging in wooden vats in the All Saints barrel hall are some of Australia’s greatest “wines of place” and a testimony to this vineyard’s long history, the story that I am following with most interest here is the one leading All Saints into the future.
At the foot of the mountains to the east and with the immense River Murray gliding silently past under the dark shade of the river gums just 200 metres away, All Saints has a distinct natural environment and finding what varieties work best in so unique a place is the ultimate challenge.
Among the whites, Marsanne has proved itself extremely well adapted to the local vineyard sites and with exquisite ripeness and balance possible in finished wines of under 13% alcohol, I tip it to become one of Rutherglen’s most famous wines of the future.
The All saints Family Cellar Marsanne 2012 (12.9% alcohol) takes seriously the challenge of making Grand Cru dry white wine from Marsanne in Rutherglen and its tight, agile, reductive style is clenched and determined and will live long in the cellar. At the moment it needs decanting because the wood is still quite raw but it’s an intrinsic part of the style and the bottle I opened last night is drinking fabulously today (10 February 2016). It must be drunk with food and I strongly suggest opening this wine when you know that it might be drunk over the course of a few nights because it takes some air-time to settle down but it is really worth the wait. It will shock you with its poke when you first open it, but that is just its way of getting your attention and by the time you get to Day 2 and beyond you will find it very genteel company. I think this wine will develop interestingly over the next 10 to 15 years (2026-2031).
The 2011 version of this wine was absolutely fascinating too, and you just thought ”well, 2011 was such an idiosyncratic year” but then you try the 2012 and you realise that the indiosyncrasy is not just the result of the vintage but the winemaking plan that is being enacted EVERY vintage. For the record, I loved the 2011 too. And I can’t wait for the 2013 as well!