What to make of Isabeau, the flagship white blend from Franschhoek cellar Allée Bleue? The 2013 has just been released, a somewhat unusual concoction of 60% Chardonnay, 35% Semillon and 5% Viognier, designated as being “W.O. Walker Bay/Coastal Region”, fermented and matured for nine months in French oak 30% new. Cellar door price: R98 a bottle.
It’s old fashioned in how prominent the oak is – plenty of vanilla and spice to go with citrus, peach and a little thatch on the nose. The palate is rich and broad but currently appears a bit unknit and I gave it a score of 87/100. Would bottle maturation do it some good?
To explore this, a bottle of the 2011 which at some point placed among the Top 100 SA Wines as judged by Tim Atkin, Jamie Goode et al. Deep yellow in colour, the wine again showed citrus and peach but also presented an intriguing waxy character on the nose. A powerful palate, the oak a little better integrated, the overall impression more savoury but still pretty odd. Score: 89/100.