Mac Forbes Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2017 & Healesville Syrah 2017
With this prolonged hot spell of weather, I’m drawn to wines with a lightness and energy about them. As I waited for a table at Sambal Shiok, how grateful was I to discover Provisions Wine & Cheese a few yards away. Air-conditioned, with a selection of sapid wines by the glass, it provided the respite, before a storm of chilli-ness. Breaking into a sweat for quite different heat-related reasons, a medium strength Prawn Laksa reinforced that I am a chilli wimp!
These days, Australia has a great selection of wines which fit the lightness and energy bill. Classic dry Riesling obvs. New wave Grenache (a.k.a. warm climate Pinot Noir). Even the country’s most planted white and red grape – Chardonnay and Syrah – have lost weight in some quarters. Here’s one of each from Mac Forbes, who will be attending Wine Australia’s upcoming “Off the Vine” tasting for the trade. Doubtless, it will yield fresh fresh discoveries.
Mac Forbes Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2017 (Yarra Valley)
A touch of cloudiness signposts a touch of funk. Fresh fig and silky white peach fruit has a subtle vanilla bean and sweet, nutty, oxidative inflection, which is very much part of this wine. It has a gentle, very balanced delivery. Nothing overwrought here. Well integrated acidity makes for a lingering finish. Naturally fermented and aged for 10 months in old French oak, this unfined Chardonnay (a blend of different vineyards), has a sense of well-being about it – pilates poise! Very wholesome, weighing in at just 11.5% Guide retail price £150.20/6 bottles, Clarke Foyster
Mac Forbes Healesville Syrah 2017 (Yarra Valley)
Quite the contrast, this Syrah is more raucous – raw-cous might be a better way to put it. It has a squeaky (carbonic fermentation?) energy – a spring in its step – as if just taken from barrel. Indeed, it still seems to carry some ferment characters with it, which makes for a slightly edgy, lifted nose and palate with a scramble of fresh picked wild black fruits and floral and spice riffs. I reckon this boisterous Syrah is the perfect way to shake off this summer’s torpor. Sourced from the east-facing vineyard by the winery (clone PT23, planted 1996 on siltstone clay loam), it was naturally fermented in open vats with 5% whole bunch, then aged for 11 months in old French oak. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. 12% Guide retail price £209.80/6 bottles, Clarke Foyster