LENTON BRAE / Margaret River, WA
Pioneers of the Margaret River region
AVAILABLE THROUGH FELIXIR IN VICTORIA FROM JULY
A pioneering producer of Margaret River, Lenton Brae was established in 1982 by Bruce and Jeanette Tomlinson, with winemaking today handled by son Edward. A claim to fame is them being the first producer to popularise the Bordelaise white blend of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, now a flagbearer for the region. A producer in great winemaking stride, the freshness, prettiness and approachability across the board is striking, and the release of Pinot Blanc shows the continued evolution and relevance here. A first rate producer from one of Australia’s most enigmatic wine regions.
"It's hard to deny that Lenton Brae is a very high quality producer... firmly in the upper echelon of Margaret River blue chip producers." Mike Bennie, Winefront
SSB is a regional flagbearer of Margaret River. This is Lenton Brae's 32nd consecutive vintage of this wine. From 30 year old vines, this year's edition comprises 52% Semillon and 48% Sauvignon Blanc, and it is raised without oak to maximise freshness.
A lively and tangy wine, it's loaded with passionfruit, lemon zest and green melon fruit flavours, broadening further with fennel and flint. Textbook Margaret River SSB, but given it wrote the book, so it should be.
Lenton Brae is the only producer of Pinot Blanc in Margaret River, with cuttings released from WA quarantine in 2011 and propagated in-house. The 0.5 hectare site was chosen for its cool southerly aspect, ideal for this early ripening variety. Hands are off in the winery, with the wine seeing wild fermentation in older, large format French oak, and bottled unfiltered.
"So tasty. Has that pinot blanc tang, slightly saline, wholly refreshing. Scents of green pear, lemon, lemon blossom, almond. It strikes out with immediate zestiness, vitality, slip to texture then a fine, chalky finish. A belter of a drink." 93 points, Mike Bennie, Winefront
An over-deliverer, quite the Chardy here. Fermented wild, raised in new and seasoned French oak, naturally settled and bottled unfiltered. Complex, bright and fruit driven.
"It’s hard to deny that Lenton Brae is a very high quality producer, especially if you check out their track record here (shiraz blips aside, but let’s just pass over that, it’s Margaret River shiraz after all, wink wink). That slew of 90+ scores, and consistency, and price points, put them firmly in the upper echelon of Margaret River blue chip producers. Often overlooked, or perhaps kept secret. This wine particularly from this release is insane value for quality. Astounding. Bargain of year territory for me.
Mellow vibe here, clear, clean, slightest touch of funk, whole lot of deliciousness. Stone fruits, faint nougat, green apple. Similar to taste, woven finely, dragged out long. A very elegant rendition of Margaret River chardonnay, poised, even, sleek and high quality. Delicious drinking, indeed. Yes, yes, yes." 94 points, Mike Bennie, Winefront
Comprising 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and a cheeky 3% Petit Verdot. Winemaking ethos is to minimal tannin extraction to produce a style rich in flavour with a deceptive softness.
Medium bodied with blackcurrant, cassis and dark fruits, this has amazing length and slurpability - the urge to just drink the darn thing off the tasting bench speaks of its approachability. Sweet fruited with fruit cake, spice and fleshy berries, darn appealing is the synopsis here.
Matured in new and one year old French barriques for 14 months, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from exclusively Wilyabrup fruit. It's named after the ship on which the first members of the Tomlinson family arrived in Australia in 1884.
Medium bodied and supple, it's a package of dark berries, cocoa, violet and a lick of eucalypt and sandalwood. Long with a lovely clean flow, its soft tannins give structure whilst being a lot more forgiving than many an Oz Cab, once again so easy to drink.
An excellent vintage for Chardonnay. Blended between Bernard clones 76 10%, 96 clone 25% and Gin Gin 65%, whole bunched pressed to oak for wild fermentation (55%) with the remainder inoculated. Roughly 50% new French oak hogsheads for 12 months maturation, and no malo, no fining nor filtration.
"It’s hard to see past the quality-price matrix of LB’s Southside Chardonnay, but this is a distinct, distinguished wine. It’s also a wine that I’d come at with a couple of years bottle age, such is its youthful energy, frisky acidity and sweep of spicy oak. It’s not overtly oaky either, it’s a wine built around lean, tightly-wound, squeaky fruit character. It shows a quiet power with great finesse and resonating length of cool fruit and gentle spice. It’s stunning. " 95 points, Mike Bennie, Winefront
94% Cabernet Sauvignon wtih 6% Merlot, from the best estate grown Wilyabrup vines. Fruit is handpicked and individual vineyard lots fermented separetly, with portions being barrel fermented or held on skins for extended maceration depeding on their fruit characters. The wine then sees maturation in new and one year old French barriques for 18 months before final blending and bottling.
"Loaded with blue fruits, black olive, bay leaf, faint choc mint, tobacco pouch. Plush in texture with a building tug of emery board tannin. Spreads well through the palate, dark plummy fruit, a tobacco-riff through the flavour profile. Texture is great, body is too, satisfying draw of quintessential Margaret River cabernet. Everything in tow. This is one to grab hold of. Hold it proud. Beautiful to drink." 94 points, Mike Bennie, Winefront