MistralRegular price $33.00 Save $-4.00
73% Viognier 27% Marsanne
Production: 3147 bottles (screw cap)
This wine is inspired by the white wine blends of the Northern Rhone Valley in France. Originating in Switzerland, the Rhone river flows west towards Lyon before turning south down the Rhone Valley to the Mediterranean coast. The strong, cool wind known as the 'Mistral' blows down the Rhone Valley from the Alps and has a profound impact upon all of the agriculture in the valley, viticulture being no exception. This is the inspiration behind the name of the wine.
Perhaps the most famous of the Rhone white varieties is Viognier (pron. Vio-n-yay). The bronze tinted, thick skinned, hardy white grapes typically produce a medium weight, dry wine with characteristic bright floral and apricot notes. This is often blended with either or both of Marsanne and Roussane, to produce a vibrant, complex, floral wine, capable of being enjoyed in its youth as well as to be cellared and enjoyed with several years of bottle evolution.
The Viognier for the 2022 Mistral was sourced from two separate vineyards. The first is located in the Walcliffe sub-region of Margaret River, with a northerly exposure and around 4km from the Indian Ocean on the banks of the Margaret River itself. Sitting high on this hillside, the vines grow in gravelly, well drained soil and experience fantastic exposure to the warm summer sunshine and regular, cooling sea breezes.
The other portion of Viognier comes from the north of the Margaret River region, on the border between the Yallingup and Willyabrup sub-regions. This site is very exposed to both our regular winds and full summer sunshine, and the Viognier thrives in this site.
The Marsanne portion of the blend is grown at one of the most southerly vineyards in the Margaret River region located in the Karridale sub-region, some 4.5km West of the Indian Ocean and 6km North of the Southern Ocean.
The summer of 2022 was the hottest on record for the Margaret River region. Not just hot, we had an extreme heatwave beginning on the 27th of December and stretching into February. Whilst this lead to some of the varieties in the area struggling, it proved to be just the tonic for these two hardy, Rhone Valley white varietals. Since beginning to make this blend back in our first Mr Barval vintage of 2015 I have never seen the vines looking so vibrant. The notoriously fickle Marsanne looked especially amazing and for the first time ever produced a big crop of fruit.
I had a feeling that these vines would produce a great wine from early on in the summer when the hot period begun and this was only reinforced with every passing day of fermentation and every monthly tasting throughout the up until bottling.
All of the grapes for this wine were handpicked into small 8kg crates and immediately transported back to the winery where the whole bunches of grapes were placed gently into an old-school basket press to extract the juice. Whole-bunch basket pressing is the most gentle way to extract the juice from the fruit and is a process common to the world’s highest quality white wines. No additions, subtractions, fining or filtration of any sort was conducted on the juice.
From the press the juice was run directly into 3 and 4 year old French oak barriques for fermentation. The wine was fermented utilising the indigenous yeast which came in on the grape bunches from the vineyard. The wine fermented to absolute dryness and was left in contact with its fine lees for 4 months.
The 2022 Mistral spent 9 months in barrel before being racked via gravity to tank pre-bottling. This wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered and displays the possibility of producing elegant, pure, bright and clear wines, in this very natural way.
As always with these blends it is the nose that strikes you first. The typical lifted aromas of white flowers, apricot, and an array of sweet spices and perfume are even more abundant than usual for this wine - a direct reflection of the hot year. This melange of intense summery aromas carries directly over to the palate where the typical interesting texture of this wine is also supercharged. Somehow this wine achieves a feeling of softness and textural amazingness whilst still being light a fresh! Enjoy it in its first 2-3 years to make the most of this veritable bazaar of exotic flavours and aromas or cellar for 5-10 years to witness the evolution to a more savoury and subdued delight.