My first Mitchell Harris wine. I’ve a good relationship with the winery on social media and have a soft spot for their home town of Ballarat as I lived there for a while as a child. So I was quite keen to see one of their wines. Winemaker John Harris worked at Domaine Chandon in the Yarra Valley as a sparkling maker for 8 years. Hopefully he learned a thing or two.
The press release advises that this is the 3rd release of the Sabre sparkling and from a “cold and very wet 2011 vintage.” 60% Chardonnay from the Pyrenees region in Western Victoria and 40% Pinot Noir from the Macedon Ranges region, a little more central, but at quite an altitude, from 600m up to 1000m above sea level. Aged 3 years on lees after being assembled. Disgorged 2014 with a dosage from 2014 and 2012 Chardonnay reserves.
Impressive packaging. Lovely motif. Diam cork. Ah, yes…Dashing.
Bubbles. Big bubbles, slow and long to release and rise. Almost lazy. It may be how I wash my glasses, but these are big bubbles. I tested two different glasses: Riedel Vinum and Vinum XL, but not a flute, as I prefer the aromatics from the bigger glasses for tasting Sparkling. Maybe the bubbles aren’t lazy, just taking their time.
Soft sliced white bread nose with waxy lemon, creamed honey, bruised rose petal and briny touch. Lovely mousse on the palate with a crackling acidity. Beautiful length of flavour with lemon and honey, a touch of yeasty goodness. Quartz like ‘minerality’ and savoury briny overtones. It’s Tatiana Gregorieva at her peak in 2000: Classy and lean and linear.
The sabre iconography for the nomenclature serves beautifully as metaphor for the cutting flavour and also the association with more flamboyant methods of opening Sparkling and Champagne bottles. This certainly isn’t an floppy epee or a thin foil.
As stated above, only the 3rd vintage, but in this “lesser” vintage, a cuvee as good as this clears the bar well and truly. A contender in the top quality ranks for Australian Sparkling.
Wine sample courtesy of Mitchell Harris Wines