DeLille Chaleur Estate Blanc 2010
Blend: 77% Sauvignon Blanc, 23% Semillon
Bright full yellow. Knockout nose combines musky curry powder and cumin notes with pineapple oil, ginger and chlorophyll; today it's the sauvignon blanc that dominates. Then supple and intense in the mouth, with excellent acidity serving to frame and intensify the peach, citrus, chlorophyll and basil flavors. Finishes very long, serious and suave, leaving an impression of fairly low alcohol. A beauty.
DeLille's 2010 Chaleur Estate Blanc – a blend of Sauvignon with 23% Semillon from four manifestly superbly well-managed sites – is dominated by lime peel-laced fig and honeydew melon, to which honeysuckle and heliotrope perfume add allure, and an aura of smokiness and high-toned suggestion of almond extract and peppermint add further pungent intrigue. The palate impression here manages adroitly to balance waxy texture, zesty piquancy, and infectious juiciness. "If you made the quantity of Semillon equal, it would take over the blend," notes Upchurch, channeling precisely the hypothesis I was myself entertaining at that moment. Everybody's giving up on Semillon," he adds with (what I at least hope is) hyperbole, "Californians, South Americans, even Australians; but I love working with it." Upchurch is proud of the particular assortment of barrels he has assembled to suit his Chaleur white, and it came as a big surprise to me after tasting this installment to learn that 70% of them were new; but the trick is that the wine spends only four months in them, based on what Upchurch, by analogy with baking, calls the "TODD" principle: take it out when it's done, dummy! This is likely to reward and morph significantly over a decade of cellaring.
This new vintage of Chaleur Estate Blanc is still quite young and tight. It shows the toasty scents of pretty new oak, set in an elegant frame of mixed fruits. Cucumber, apple, citrus and melon flavors emerge, suggesting an overall lighter style from a cooler vintage. Graceful and polished.
A fresh and citrusy white, this is juicy, delivering lemon and verbena aromas and flavors. A touch of tobacco and hint of butter mark the finish. Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.