The fruit for Cape Mentelle Chardonnay is sourced principally from the wineries Chapman Brook vineyard located in the cooler southern half of the Margaret River wine region. The chardonnay here grows on a north facing slope with well-drained, grey gravel loam soils and provides crisp, clean citrus flavoured fruit. The McHenry Vineyard has a sheltered north-easterly aspect and deep gravel loam soils sloping down to the Margaret River. This low-yielding vineyard provides quality fruit that forms the backbone of the wine. The sandy loam soils of the Maiolo Vineyard, further north in the region, produce fruit contributing to the ripe, full-bodied characters of the wine. All vineyards are spur pruned and vertical shoot positioned to enhance sunlight exposure.
A cold but calm winter was followed by a pleasantly mild spring lacking the extremes occasionally endured in the south west. The growing season was dry from mid-November through to mid-April with only 80mm of rain falling during this period. The lack of rain was the most significant characteristic of the vintage and when combined with the mild temperatures it augured well for the grapes' development. Irrigation was a saviour this year and its judicious use allowed the vines to maintain sufficient health to ripen the fruit. Ripening was slow with most varieties harvested up to seven days later than normal. The rains held off throughout March and April to allow a smooth, problem free harvest.
Three days after picking the fermenting juice was racked to French oak barrels, approximately half of which were new and the remainder one and two years old. A large portion of the fruit was transfered as whole bunches and gently pressed off. This juice was racked into barrel the following day for fermentation by wild yeast. Occasional stirring and regular topping was carried out during the time in barrel. In December 2004 the contents of the barrels meeting the requisite standards were blended and given a light fining before filtering and bottling in February 2005.
14% alc, 3.37pH, 7.5g/L TA