Sittella Wines: Sparkling Success
Barry Weinman: 7th May 2020
When I sat down to write this review, my intention was to write about a cross-section of the Sittella’s range, given they make excellent (and great value) white and red wines from Margaret River, Swan Valley, Pemberton and Frankland.
However, the quality and value offered by Sittella’s sparkling wines proved irresistible, and they deserve recognition as a genuine alternative to fine Champagne.
The Berns family were inspired to plant a vineyard and start a winery by several trips to France’s Loire Valley. So it is no surprise that a sparkling Chenin features in the range.
The Sparkling Chenin is the wineries most popular wine, and is a fine drink in its own right. The grapes come from mature vineyards in the Swan Valley and it is made using traditional method.
With up to 2 years on lees and only 7g/l of dosage, this is fresh and vibrant, with decent complexity and excellent length. At $25, this is clearly a bargain.
The Cuvee Blanc is where Colby Quirk and Yuri Berns’ talents really start to shine. With the aim of producing sparkling wines to rival the best of Champagne, they have built a reserve wine program to be used in blending.
The current release includes 24% reserve wine from 2012 – 2017 vintages. Remarkably, this is mainly fermented in old oak barrels.
The ultimate expression of the reserve wine program is the Avant-Garde Blanc de Blancs. Made from 2012, 2013 & 2014 vintages, this is a powerful, age-worthy wine that spent 48 months on lees in bottle.
Sittella – Chenin Blanc – Brut – NV (17.3/20pts $25). Crunchy Granny Smith apple is the main feature, combine with gentle brioche notes. Fine mousse and excellent attack combine with surprising complexity on the palate, and the finish is dry and refreshing.
Sittella – Cuvee Blanc – NV (18/20pts – $32). Fine, elegant and refined, with subtle stone fruit and lovely refreshing acidity. The mouthfeel is the highlight, with near seamless palate transition and excellent length and creamy texture. A precise wine that has grace and presence. Great value. (18 months on lees, 7 g/l dosage)
Sittella – Cuvee Rose – NV (18.2/20pts – $34). Very fine mousse in the glass and on the palate. The red fruit is more pronounced here, with fresh strawberry and cherry notes. The palate richer and more rounded, with great length and subtle power. Autolytic characters and gentle grip add depth. (24 months on lees, 6.5 g/l)
Sittella – Grand Vintage – Marie Christien Lugten – 2015 (18.5/20pts – $42). Leaner, finer and more elegant, with citrus-like fruit and subtle yeasty notes. The palate is restrained and taut, with underlying fruit power. As it warmed up, the fruit really built. An incredibly fine wine that deserves a year or two in the cellar. (4 years on lees, 7g/l)
Sittella – Avant-Garde – Blanc de Blancs – NV (18.6/20pts – $45). Extraordinarily fine mousse. Amazing musk and peach-like fruit on the nose. The palate is very complex, with apple-like acidity. Very long, powerful and deep, the texture almost chewy. This has enough weight to serve with a meal, yet is a masterpiece on its own.