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  • Weather

    8° C Overcast clouds
  • Time

    04:00 AM
  • Wine average?

    90.0 Tb
  • Country Ranking?

    28
  • Region Ranking?

    2
  • Popularity ranking?

    169

History

The winery takes its name from the nearby Cape, named by the French ‘Baudin Expedition’ which charted the coast of Western Australia in 1801. They named the Cape after two notable French scientists, geographer Edmund and his cartographer brother Francois-Simon Mentelle, who lived in Paris in the early 1700’s.

Wine industry pioneer David Hohnen and his brothers Mark and Giles established Cape Mentelle Vineyards in 1970. Our phenomenal Cape Mentelle journey started small with just 16 hectares of vines planted on what is now referred to as the ‘Wallcliffe Vineyard’.

 

 

In the early years David Hohnen experimented with grape varieties including shiraz, cabernet, zinfandel, sauvignon blanc and semillon. Many of these original plantings are the source of the distinctive wines that have come to characterise Cape Mentelle. The winery’s flagship Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced primarily from the original Wallcliffe Vineyard.

In 1983 Cape Mentelle won the coveted Jimmy Watson Memorial Award for the best one year old dry red wine, and cemented its position as a premium wine maker with another win in 1984. Our Cabernet Sauvignon is now widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading cabernets.

 

 

Another wine to become a core part of the winery’s portfolio was the distinctive
Zinfandel. David Hohnen had studied wine at Fresno State University in California and was captivated by this robust variety. The 1972 plantings at Cape Mentelle were one of the first commercial vineyards of the variety in Western Australia.

At first the focus was on red wines, including a gutsy Shiraz. A turning point for the production of white wines came in 1985 when David Hohnen established Cape Mentelle’s sister winery, Cloudy Bay, in New Zealand. Cloudy Bay won world recognition with its Sauvignon Blanc. Cape Mentelle meanwhile developed a stylish Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend that was to become another benchmark of the Margaret River region, and a Chardonnay sourced from vineyards outside the estate.

 

 

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s wine making at Cape Mentelle was characterised by experimentation to improve quality, understand the potential of the fruit from each particular vineyard and develop a distinctive house style. The character of the grape varieties and the special attributes of the regional terroir are part of the style that evolved.

The area under vine increased with the establishment of the 23 hectare Trinders Vineyard in 1988 followed by the Chapman Brook Vineyard in the early 1990’s. By this time Cape Mentelle had a well established reputation in the Australian market. A partnership with Veuve Clicquot enabled Cape Mentelle to take the next step, further developing the winery with a new cellar and modern equipment and an expansion into the international market.

 

 

Today Cape Mentelle, as part of Estates & Wines (owned by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), continues to build on its solid foundations. There are more than 150 hectares under vine and the winery crushes about 1,700 tonnes of fruit from the estate vineyards and contract-grown fruit sourced from within the region.

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Vineyards

Cape Mentelle has over 150 hectares of its own vines across four vineyards within the Margaret River region. Primary plantings are cabernet sauvignon, semillon and sauvignon blanc, with smaller amounts of shiraz, chardonnay, merlot, cabernet franc and zinfandel.

 

A pioneering spirit coupled with knowledge and understanding of sound viticultural practice led to the establishment of this 16 hectare vineyard in the early 1970’s. The basic viticultural principles of soil, site and variety, or in this case ‘varieties’, have created quality and consistency beyond all expectations, as evidenced by the iconic Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon. Picking and pruning is carried out by hand in the Wallcliffe Vineyard, to give the utmost respect to these vines and to ensure continued production of the fresh, vibrant and stylish wines that have become the trademark of Cape Mentelle.

 

 

Varieties planted at Wallcliffe are sauvignon blanc, semillon, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, zinfandel and shiraz and these vines have provided source material for new blocks as the vineyard has expanded. The site has the luxury of ample water and classic deep gravelly soils. It is sheltered by surrounding bush and fanned by gentle south-westerly winds. The east-west orientation of the rows was originally thought to provide protection from prevailing winds, but in some seasons this orientation necessitates judicious leaf plucking to even out ripeness. 

The three cabernet sauvignon blocks are cane pruned. Row spacing is mostly 3 m, with 1.5 to 1.8 m vine spacing with predominantly vertical shoot positioning trellising. There is some bush vine zinfandel.

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Winemaking

At Cape Mentelle we draw inspiration from the great wines of the world. This is reflected in the techniques employed in our vineyards as we aim to produce wines that capture a unique sense of place in every bottle. These characteristics are defined by our pristine coastal location, unique soils and 40 years of viticultural history.

 


Our philosophy extends beyond the glass as we endeavour to create a legacy of sustainability and longevity.  Constantly improving the potential of our vineyards and local environments, we pave the way for the next generation to continue the pursuit of crafting Australia's definitive wine styles and while doing so we are preserving and building on what is uniquely Cape Mentelle.

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Inside information

Cape Mentelle is accredited under the Winemakers Federation of Australia’s Entwine program. Cape Mentelle was only the fifth winery in Australia to receive the certification and the first in Western Australia. The program was designed to show the trade and consumers that their chosen wine has been produced by a winery that maintains a high standard of environmental practice and has shown a history of improving environmental practices. The accreditation process is extensive and requires thorough audits of all aspects of the winery’s operation.

 


Initiatives include:
the use of natural fertilisers
coverage of crops between the vines to produce nitrogen and organic matter
free-range guinea fowl (weevil catchers)
no insecticides
winery waste and grape marc composted and reused on vineyards
treatment and recycling of wastewater on-site by filtering through reed beds to protect wetlands and aquifers
grazing sheep on weeds/grass in the vineyards during winter to minimise mowing and use of herbicides

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Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Cape Mentelle . In a tasting of  33 wines 

De Bortoli ‘Riorret’ ‘Lusatia Park’ Pinot Noir 2016 / This exciting Yarra Valley vineyard does Pinot Noir as well as it does Chardonnay, perhaps even more so. This is a cracker. Plums, earth, slightly sappy notes with some animal skin complexity. Licorice and dark fruits. Satiny tannins and excellent length. This is no simple Pinot; this is seriously good. Should age well for a decade or more. 


Score: 95/100

18d 10h ago

 Erin Larkin, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Cape Mentelle . In a tasting of  4 wines 

Amongst the hustle, bustle and honour of our week down south, we were treated to a cabernet vertical at Cape Mentelle.


 This included the 1983 vintage: winner of the 1984 Jimmy Watson trophy – clearly well deserved and in pristine condition: 19.5 pts. Winemaker Evan Thomson and Technical Director and Head of Winemaking and Viticulture Frederique Parker Perrin took us through a flight of carefully selected vintages which were all in textbook condition. The wines showed us an evolution in style towards an elegant and long lived expression of cabernet. With such a dynasty to uphold, the current day winemakers are refining and perfecting a proven course of production- not reinventing the wheel.


Together they shed invaluable insight into their vineyards (most specifically the iconic Wallcliff vineyard from which the grapes for the cabernet are solely sourced), and the differences in growing areas in Wilyabrup. Their comments on the choice to include the 1995 due to the first time use of bird nets meant the winemakers were able to pick the grapes when they chose, and not forced to out of protection – precious information that would have taken weeks to dig out of books and past articles. The tasting formed the basis of an illustrative, informative and thrilling afternoon – and confirmed Cape Mentelle’s position as one of Margaret River’s foremost cabernet producers.

4m 22d ago

 Thomas Girgensohn, Wine Blogger (Australia)  tasted  2 wines  from  Cape Mentelle . In a tasting of  13 wines 

Wynns John Riddoch Magnum 1996 / There is still a lot of the dense blackcurrant fruit in this 1996 Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a pity that Magnums are priced at a premium in this country, and as a result are not overly popular. The cork on this wine was in great condition and the wine at very high shoulder. Well stored, Magnums mature at a slower pace, and primary fruit can still be present at close to 20 years, while secondary characters are well developed.


This wine is dominated by its firm, dusty and dry tannins. The structure of this wine is still excellent, but it needs red meat to go with it. The tannins are actually very similar to an aged Barolo, and so is the colour of this wine. The mouthfeel is reasonable, but falls off at the finish a little bit.


This is a classic Coonawarra wine, holding up well, and still showing the terra rossa infused vibrant fruit.


Score: 93/+++

5m 30d ago

 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Cape Mentelle . In a tasting of  21 wines 

“Sandro Mosele makes an array of top pinots on the Mornington Peninsula and this is a winner. Savoury with forest floor, earthy, animal hide and smoky notes, this is primeval pinot. Exciting and visceral.”

4y 9m ago

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