12 Aug 2011

Here's some serious concentration as we taste our way through the new Squitchy Lane releases. This tasting, which looks like becoming a regular event, took place last night in Mike Fitzpatrick's office in Collins St.
A small number of guests, some interesting wines ad some great cheeses to finish off an excellent evening.

We showed the 2010 Squitchy Lane Fume Blanc with a 2010 Domaine de la Moussiere (Sancerre) as a counterpoint. Our Fume Blanc was a deliberate attempt to fashion a Yarra Valley version of Sancerre and I was keen to see how it had worked. The Sancerre was a close-knit, intense, charged wine of great vitality and class. Ours was more open with a well-defined fruit profile and a more relaxed feel about it. Despite the 100% barrel fermentation with wild yeasts at hot temperatures and the time on lees we hadn't managed to blast out all the fruit! It was a great pairing but we really needed a plate or two of oysters to finish the job.
Next we had a pre-release showing of our 2010 Squitchy Lane Cabernet Sauvignon. I was a little nervous about this wine because it was only bottled last Tuesday so I wasn't sure how much bottle shock we would see. In the end, the wine asserted itself and showed up pretty well. There's no doubt that it will develop and improve but it had a lovely elegance and varietal purity with a silky structure. 
To conclude, we tasted the 2010 Squitchy Lane Pinot Noir with a 2006 Premier Cru Savigny-les-Beaune (Les Lavieres) from Chandon de Brialles. This was a fascinating contrast between styles. The Squitchy Lane was exuberant, aromatic, unctuous, long and smooth. The Burgundy was structured, dry, classic and "serious". Two very different faces of the Pinot Noir variety.
From my point of view, the Squitchy Lane wines were received by those present exactly as I hoped they would be. While it is still early in the evolution of the Squitchy Lane style, some general characteristics are becoming clear--ripe fruit at low alcohol levels, silkiness and gentle tannin structures in the reds, great aromaticity in all wines but above all wines that are enjoyable and even refreshing to drink. Winemakers sometimes get too serious about their work and forget about the enjoyment factor. It may be difficult for me to let go of a lifetime of serious endeavour but I am determined to make enjoyment the Squitchy Lane hallmark. I hope you will come along for the ride.