At around half the price of the region's big guns, Cape Mentelle produce one of the Margaret River's truly elite chardonnays. Cape Mentelle's Chardonnay isn't as showy as others in its youth, instead, it leans more towards a refined, mineral style, which even displays light spice notes on occasion.
Quite clean and bright yet complex and elegant; like a sophisticated woman, Cape Mentelle's 2009 Chardonnay reveals a floral, leaner grapefruit and white pear fruit fragrance charmingly lifted by nutmeg aromas and a high, equally sweet and savoury barrel ferment tone, reminiscent of gingerbread. There's a soft, restrained measure of vanilla/butter oak thrown in as well, but its gingerbread-like scent provides the most appeal. Composed and stylish (and better with a bit of air), the palate speaks clearly with pungent, distinctly regional melon and grapefruit flavours deliciously underscored by creamy barrel ferment notes. It etches its way into the mouth's cornices with genuinely forthright, racy, almost side-splitting acids, that fill the mouth and expand the wine with real class, leaving a refreshingly bright trail of nutty flavour left lingering in the mouth alongside a spark of lemon tinged minerals. If anything, it's a little too perfect. A touch of funk, or an edge, would've made it spectacular, but I'm just being picky here.
ü+ Like all of Cape Mentelle's recent chardonnays the 2009 is hard to fault. Its fruit may be a little lean and clean, but the winemaking here is wonderful. The label's changed but the result remains the same; another top class Cape Mentelle Chardonnay that's well worth the money. Drink to 2016.