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. This low-yielding vineyard provides quality fruit forming the backbone of the blend. Our Chapman Brook Vineyard planted in 1993-4 is now a major contributor to the blend providing crisp clean citrus flavoured fruit. The chardonnay grows on the hillside sloping down to the brook with beautifully drained grey gravel loam soils and a northerly aspect. This year, additional grapes were sourced from an organically managed Ellen’s Ridge Vineyard situated around five kilometres north of the winery. All vineyards are spur pruned, vertical shoot positioned with some shoot and leaf removal to enhance light penetration into the canopy. The lions share of each of these vineyards is planted to the Mendoza (or GinGin) clone of chardonnay, one which has proven to be particularly successful in the Margaret River region.
Spring began with enough rain to ensure that the vines got a good start to the season. Sunny, mild to warm weather from flowering through to berry set gave the promise of good healthy canopies, helped along by unusualy light winds. Temperatures were below average for the entire season with no day getting hotter than 35oC. The odd shower kept vine growth strong up until November, after which there was hardly any rainfall at all until 20mm of rain fell on 9 March. Most of our whites were harvested under ideal conditions in early March before the first rains of Autumn.
A large portion of the fruit was hand picked and transfered to the tank press as whole bunches and gently pressedoff. This juice was racked into barrel the following day for fermentation by wild yeast. All barriques used are French, from Burgundian coopers with around 36% being new. Occasional stirring and regular topping was carried out during the time in barrel. In December 2005 the contents of the barrels meeting the requisite standards were blended and given a light fining before filtering and bottling in February 2006.
14.0 % v/v Alc, 7.1 g/L Total acid, pH 3.29, 2.5 g/L residual sugar