Stefano Lubiana 2020 Sauvignon Blanc biodynamic Fumé. In recent years our Sauvignon Blanc winemaking style has been shifting towards a morerestrained, earthy mineral, lightly oaked style.
Our first Sauvignon Blanc was made in 1998. That's 23 years ago! Originally the vineyard was planted to both Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, the blend favoured in Bordeaux, France. We soon discarded the few rows of Semillon and replaced it with Sauvignon Blanc, making the block, 1.3 ha in total. In our opinion the wine tasted better without the Semillon.
The new world style, or approach, back in the 1990’s was to produce Sauvignon blanc with some herbaceousness, passion fruit, green apples topped off with tropical fruits flavours. This was consumer driven, partly by the ABC crowd (anything but chardonnay) and partly by a younger or new to wine consumers who favoured fruitier wines.
The advent of cool climate viticulture and winemaking in Australia supplied sauvignon blanc grapes that were not widely available pre 1990. We participated to some extent in the fruity Sauvignon Blanc craze, albeit at the higher quality end, with New Zealand taking full advantage of the trend and planting thousands of ha to satisfy the insatiable demand.
Many wine drinkers overdosed on these fruit bombs and soon grew tired of the style. Again much like the oaked chardonnay craze that saw consumers desert the variety in droves, they eventually returned some years later appreciating and not tiring of the more sophisticated complex cool climate chardonnays that are today’s top sellers.
In the last few years, we have taken our Sauvignon Blanc back to the drawing board and have tailored it to appeal to the more mature wine palate. Many consumers are now ready to let go of, or willing to trade, the tropical gooseberry, and passionfruit overtones for a more flinty, lightly oaked, chalky, earthy Sauvignon blanc featuring more elegant and balanced fruit structure. Marrying such fruit elegance with subtle tannic grip further develops the style into a versatile wine suitable for a range of culinary pairings. The Stefano Lubiana 2020 Fume Features poached pear, quince, persimmon, honeysuckle & floral musk. When the occasion presents itself this wine takes pride of place at the dinner table in the Lubiana household.
We are not reinventing the wheel with our 2020 Biodynamic Stefano Lubiana fume Sauvignon Blanc instead we have readjusted the style to suit our customer base our aging vines and our exceptional Sauvignon Blanc vineyard site.
The Loire Valley in France is world renowned for its exceptional quality Sauvignon Blancs, some selling for A$60-100. It is a more complex wine style, they have been making for centuries. France grows 35,000 ha of Sauvignon blanc compared to 23,000 ha grown in New Zealand, with 14,000 ha grown in Chile and only 6,000 ha grown Australia wide. Tasmania statistics, I could not find but, I estimate it would be less than 200 ha.
Tasmania offers the coolest climate Australia wide to grow sauvignon blanc to its full potential, thanks to our latitude. Sauvignon Blanc is a late ripener, therefore the longer it hangs on the vine, the more flavour it gathers. It is then up to the winemaker to use their skill to gently process the grapes, match the wine to quality oak (large format lightly toasted, in our case) that will not dominate but support the structure, and ensure the overall silhouette and winemaker’s contributions are true to the grape’s terroir.