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Another Vasse Felix classsic

YOU might think classic dry whites are a dime to the dozen and that is a fair perception.

Commentators see a lot of them from one winemaker or another, but what casts a different angle on the Vasse Felix is it is one of the best.

The first Vasse Felix classic dry white was made as early as 1987 and 13 years later the 2000 vintage has landed on my tasting bench.

Blending the “classic blend” of semillon and sauvignon blanc grapes has become legendary and generally the pair go together like a grassy/asparagus flavoured Twiddle Dee and a straw/herbaceous Twiddle Dum, particularly when grown in Margaret River.

Winemaker Clive Otto and his team at Vasse Felix have always looked further than the obvious when putting the wines of this label together and the 2000 vintage classic dry white is a fine example.

Another major difference between this and others that wear the classic title has been a fraction of oak treatment within the blend and that takes the white to another dimension, showing mainly in the longer palate.

To the traditional pair of blending varieties 11 per cent chardonnay was added making it 53 per cent semillon and 36 per cent sauvignon blanc.

The parcel of chardonnay certainly works to give the wine a fine mouth fill by broadening the palate and taking away some of the mown grass flavours.

But the exciting and refreshing flavours of the tropics remain in what could be thought of as a flavoured semillon.

There are no rules when it comes to a classic dry white wine.

While the proven pair of varieties have been and are the foundation of most, many of your favourites have had all sorts of grapes in them to extend the blends.

Particularly those that have been climbing the ladder towards being national brands.

Forget cellaring. The fresh, zesty structure of this white demands drinking now while it retains the bright youthfulness.

Think food when buying the 2000 classic white – because of its style it has a broader appeal than many.

While it would be good company with Asian styles, it will be a marvellous poultry white.

With the crayfish season due to open in early November, this white, because of its strong semillon backbone and fresh herb character, will go perfectly with fresh lobster. Yet I wouldn’t recommend a straight chardonnay with this crustacean.

Crabs and squid will partner the white wine beautifully.

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