Recently, Becca and I had the opportunity to attend a tasting for the three wines from Seppelt’s Xavier’s labyrinth range with former Seppelt winemaker Ian McKenzie. With Becca away in New Zealand for the week, The Bon Vivant will be skipping our usual Weekend Wine picks and I will be sharing my thoughts on what i thought were three excellent cooler climate style wines. The three wines in this particular range are Two whites, a Chardonnay and a Riesling both of which are sourced from the Henty region in South Western Victoria, a wine region with strong pedigree in producing fantastic cool climate examples of both of these wines with other varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc thriving in this area as well. There is also a red, a Shiraz available in this range as well which is sourced from the Heathcote and Grampians region. Heathcote Shiraz has always been a winner in my book and this one does not disappoint. All three of these wines are available from $16.99 which I think for premium Seppelt wines is an absolute steal especially considering you can pay up to $5-10 more for the equivalent Drumborg Riesling, Jaluka Chardonnay and Chalambar Shiraz.
Although this is a fairly new range of wines for Seppelt, tasting them with a former winemaker provides wine nerds and geeks like myself a great insight into a company’s winemaking philosophy as well as more practical information on the wines which aren’t available from any marketing/promotional material on the wine. Ian has a wealth of knowledge and experience and he was very happy to share this for each wine on the day.
Seppelt Xavier’s Labyrinth Wines (L-R) Chardonnay, Riesling, Shiraz.
My notes on each wine are as follows:
Henty is the source of the grapes for both the Chardonnay and the Riesling It is supposedly the most southerly vineyard on mainland Australia and as such is famous for producing both Chardonnays and Rieslings that can be best described as being fine with restrained elegance. After tasting both of these it is easy to see why.
Xaviers Labyrinth Henty Riesling 2008
This is a wine with a pale almost clear colour to it, the nose doesn’t have the floral notes that I have come to expect from a Riesling. I would describe this as having a steely metallic character to it. As such I felt that this particular wine was clearly lacking in primary fruit and the steely characters are now the dominant aromas. This wine did have a tart acidic backbone that is standard for these cool climate offerings.
Xaviers Labyrinth Henty Chardonnay 2008.
Whoa! What an absolutely cracking wine. Admittedly I am not Chardonnay’s biggest fan, and Becca would attest to that! With that in mind, I have been trying (and enjoying) similar style offerings from Victoria and this one definitely hits the spot. This is made in a more modern style of Chardonnay; a complex beast with good fruit, oak and lees contact all intregrated to produce an absolutely stunning wine. The colour on this is, again, incredibly light, almost clear. The nose on this is predominately stone fruit and melon which is coupled nicely with some quality toasty oak as well. This is an incredibly well balanced wine and like the Riesling has a good length of flavour to it.
Xavier’s Labyrinth Grampians Heathcote Shiraz 2008.
This offering is a combination of grapes from the Grampians and Heathcote regions. These two regions offer marry together to produces wines with good depth of flavour with Heathcote wines being bold, rich and full bodied in nature while the Grampians style is more restrained, medium bodied with spice and pepper the main flavour profiles. This wine is a good combination of both, having a deep purple colour to it which is deep and intense. A nice medium bodied spicy style of shiraz coupled with those dark fruit flavours.
Overall, all three are very impressive wines but for me (and i can’t believe I am saying this) the hero wine of these three is definitely the Chardonnay. This is so bloody impressive. For $16.99 you get a wine that is pleasant and complex with layer upon layer of flavour and at this price this wine is an absolute steal.
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