Like many others from South Australia, Shaw and Smith suffered an ultimately challenging 2011 vintage, battling through a cold, wet season where the line between genuine ripeness and botrytis affected grapes became a little too close for comfort. Chardonnay was hit bad and the shiraz wasn't quite up to Shaw and Smith standards, but in their own words, sauvignon blanc was the most successful variety.
Practically water clear in appearance, Shaw and Smith's 2011 displays a nose so cleanly restrained in its mineral accented tones of gooseberry, green apples and lemon zest, that it's almost icy. Smooth and easy to drink, its juicy palate is absolutely spotless and perhaps a shade concentrated, with undertones of gooseberry imparting taste to what is essentially an all-too-clean expression of varietal flavour. Barely graced by notes of citrus and kiwi fruit, its finish is soft, clean and smooth, but it lacks the briskness, backbone and definition of Shaw and Smith's best. It's a straight forward wine that asks as many questions as it answers. Is it mineral, refined and pure, or is it lacking flavour? Either way, it's a fair result given the circumstances and there's still plenty of easy drinking fun to be had here.
O Clean, clean, clean. Too clean even. It's like the preppy cousin whose hair you wanna mess up a bit. Sure, it's a stellar example of how a quaffing wine should drink, but I honestly expect more than that from Shaw and Smith. Maybe I'll revisit it in 6 months... Drink to 2012.