Sauvignon blanc and semillon are sourced from a number of vineyards, the majority from the cooler southern half of the Margaret River region which includes Cape Mentelle's own Estate and Chapman Brook Vineyards. Canopy management is critical, the most favoured technique being vertical shoot positioning combined with leaf removal to improve sunlight exposure, enhance fruit flavour development and provide a balanced leaf to fruit ratio for even ripening. Irrigation is used judiciously to maintain balanced vine growth and a steady ripening. The soils of these vineyards are geologically ancient, free draining sandy loams with a high percentage of lateritic gravel. The soils are often associated with the growth of strong stands of Marri trees (Western Australian Red Gums) and provide the best medium to produce strongly flavoured distinctive wines across a number of varieties and styles.
2006 was a challenging vintage in Margaret River for many reasons. In general it was very cool with a late budburst and restricted early shoot growth due to a cool and dry 2005 spring. Warm weather arrived in November promoting accelerated shoot growth producing strong healthy canopies with moderate crops. The summer months were unusually mild with occasional light rain. The mild conditions resulted in a harvest delayed by up to four weeks across all varieties, the latest vintage recorded in the regions forty years of viticulture. Excellent acid retention and vibrant fresh fruit flavours are the result of this late season.
The fruit is destemmed and transfered through a must chiller to a tank press. The juice is gently expressed from the skins with a yield of only 600 litres/tonne at 10°C, with the other 100 litres/tonne kept separate from the free run juice. The juice is racked off gross lees after three days and fermented at 14°C in stainless steel tanks with 8% of the blend fermented in new French and American oak barriques and left on lees for 12 weeks. The wine is assembled after three months, lightly fined and filtered. Bottling took place in August 2006 under a screw cap closure to ensure freshness is maintained. The final blend comprises 60% sauvignon blanc and 40% semillon.
This minimal approach towards the classic Margaret River blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon is aimed at preserving as much fruit intensity and regional character as possible, while providing a full flavoured distinctive white wine in the style that Cape Mentelle has become renowned.
13%v/v Alc, 6.4g/L acid, pH 3.30