The babies are definitely growing up. If we don’t get these things in the ground soon we’ll be harvesting from pots!
As many of you will have read in previous posts, Petit Meslier is one of the varieties I will be planting this year and I am extremely grateful for the generosity of the only known grower of this variety in Australia, James Irvine. He recently sent me a bottle of his 2013 Meslier base wine which I have now finally had the opportunity to give some attention to, so I thought I should share my tasting note with you while it is still fresh in my mind.
This variety is a cross between Savagnin and Gouais Blanc. The latter has been the mother for almost as many better known varieties as it has synonyms, (and believe me, there are plenty,) including Chardonnay and Riesling, so it is hard to pinpoint any particular inherited attributes. Perhaps the more citrusy elements may come from this side, and on the nose at least, the wine shows some similarities with Riesling, with aromas that include wild flower and orange blossom. The faint but noticeable spice and rose petal notes are more easily traced to it’s Savagnin parentage, (one of the Traminer family,) as might be the marked yellow colouration.
Unusually for a young base wine, (which can often strip the lining from your throat on the way down,) the palate has some sappy, almost fatty textures on entry, which soon give way to searing green apple and lime flavours. I am genuinely impressed with this wine and it will be intriguing to see if Tasmania produces the same combination of acidity, texture and primary aromatics. Once again, a thousand thanks Jim.
In my search for the full Champagne varietal pack, I managed to track down the wonderful Mr James Irvine from Eden Valley in South Australia who is, I believe, the only grower of Petit Meslier in the country. Not only did he very kindly send me 2bts of his exceptional wines to try for myself, he has taken cuttings from his vineyard and, with the help of Nick Dry at the Yalumba nursery, has arranged to ship them down to Tas. I cannot tell you how excited I am at the prospect of seeing these rare cuttings alongside the others. Thanks Yalumba and a massive thanks to Jim Irvine who is a true icon of Australian wine. Go and check him out here to see for yourself.