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(2018) When David Hohnen contacted me to say this wine he'd made had just gone into Aldi stores at £5.99 I just had to try a bottle. David's track record is formidable: the first winemaker for Cloudy Bay, on to Cape Mentelle, and now producing some fabulous wines under his own McHenry Hohnen label. To put a wine from premium Western Australia on the shelves for £5.99 is a coup, David explaining that the "South West Australia" designation allowed him to source fruit from an expansive area encompassing Margarent River, Mount Barker, Frankland River and many other appellations. It's a beautifully pitched wine, with a touch of pea-pod and nettle characater, but much more focused on the pure lime and luscious nectarine fruitiness, exotic touches of mango and lychee too, but the creamy-textured palate finishes on whistle-clean acidity. A terrific bargain really. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) Dug from the cellar in October 2017, this 21-year-old wine was cellared experimentally by me in 1997 because of its reputation for costing next to nothing (about £3.99 from Oddbins in 1997) and maturing into something special with cellaring - HWB stands for 'Houghton White Burgundy', a name that had was still used outside of Europe at the time this was purchased, but which was dropped worldwide in 2005 for obvious reasons. I confess I didn't mean to keep this for 20 years, yet despite being a little past it, this still gave a lot of pleasure: nutty oxidation on the nose, but not at all rancid: buttery pecans maybe, and a suggestion of ripe apple beneath, nice little sweet tobacco notes well in the background. In the mouth the sweetness of the fruit remains, really very simple, a moderate weight, and the acid not out of kilter. It is definitely a simple, sweetish and slightly hollow now, sweetness and acid not fleshed out by an awful lot more, but really rather nice overall. The blend is Chenin Blanc, Muscadelle and Chardonnay, aged in American oak.
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