New England is still quite a small area of production for New South Wales wine and I’d not seen this label prior to being sent these samples, and I’m always up for a bit of “Alternative Varietal” action… The Topper’s Mountain Vineyard is situated 900 metres above sea level and rooted in deep red volcanic soils. At that height, I guess the vineyard qualifies as cool climate and certainly the acidity through both wines speaks to this.
A clear, pale lemon with a little tinge of green. Big spicy nose. Spice central in fact. I tweeted upon trying this that it was like a Thai restaurant in the glass! White Jasmine flowers, lychees and a sour citrus that gave me lemon grass to almost kaffir lime qualities. There’s not so much richness of Turkish Delight or Rosewater from riper GWTs, but there’s a Musk edge for sure.
The palate holds a little viscosity/oily-ness which speaks to its relatively low alcohol of 12.6% (compared with Alsace GWTs). Flavours of lychee, grapefruit/sour lemon dominant along with sharp line acidity that stays on the teeth for quite a while. As a standalone wine, it is a little bit of hard work, but I put it to the test with a (home made) Free Range chicken honey, chilli & garlic stir fry and it absolutely sang. The flavours & powerful acidity in harmony with the food. I wonder what a little age would do for the acidity in this wine, but then, the fresh fruit and spices are so good, why wait?
When I first opened this up, there was a hint of development on the nose…I was a little dubious considering it was under screwcap. But after a day sitting (albeit closed up in the bottle again), I couldn’t find it and there were far more primary characters. A lovely ruby purple in the glass. Lifted dark plum, lots of smoky tobacco, nutmeg and a touch of VA. Worked around in the glass for a bit and there’s some good Tempranillo new leather and meaty wafts.
Dry and filled with fine tannins, the mid palate rounded out with creamy mocha oak. Palate flush with dark, sour plums & black cherry. There’s a little more of that leather and meat on the medium long finish before the tannins and acid remain. A little out of balance for the moment with that touch of VA, but in the right place and with the right food, this could be a good crowd pleaser. The acidity wants to slice through some fat, so give it chorizo.
Samples courtesy of Define Wine