By Franz Scheurer
Louee Petit Verdot 2003
Off the tourist map, Rylstone is a wonderful slice of life the way it used to be. Quaint houses, some quirky but fabulous accommodation, bric-a-brac shops and the smell of freshly baked bread make this a destination that’s very worthwhile. It’s close to Mudgee and between Rylstone and Mudgee is Louee, a small, forgotten village with a fabulous pottery store. Its name is Aboriginal, depending on the interpretation, for ‘place of plentiful water’ or ‘a chain of waterholes’. Louee Wines have two vineyards – one at Rylstone at 620 metres and the other on Nullo Mountain, bordered by the Wollemi National Park, at an incredible 1100 metres. The height and unique microclimate of these vineyards (in particular the Nullo Mountain site) produces the cooler-climate characteristics found typically in Louee wines. I love their Petit Verdot, fermented in small open vats and aged for twelve months in American oak. Due to the elevation grapes mature a lot slower, concentrating the flavours. The Petit Verdot smells of butterscotch, prunes and a touch of Christmas Pudding spice. All these aromas are confirmed on the palate with lots of integrated tannins to add to the luscious mouthfeel and a plethora of perfumes, so typical of the variety, tickle your tastebuds. This is a great wine and should reward you by cellaring for, I reckon about 5 years.
Cellar door: $ 19 per bottle
For more information contact: http://www.louee.com.au/
Leconfield Coonawarra Chardonnay 2006
Gorgeous aromas of lanolin are the first thing that hits your nose when you pour a glass of this wine. A sweet, floral whiff tops the underlying citrus and talcum aromas and when you take your first sip you realize that this is a wonderfully floral Chardonnay with enough acid to make it stand out from the crowd. Bottled under stelvin at a RRP of $ 19.95 this is terrific value for money and I would guess it to age gracefully, developing more of the citrus flavours that are noticeable on the nose. My favourite Chardonnay under $20. Go on, get some whilst it is affordable.
For more information contact: http://www.leconfieldwines.com
Brothers In Arms No.6 Shiraz Cabernet 2004
Sourced from the old Metala vineyards in Langhorne Creek this 85% Shiraz and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon was matured for 14 months in 1 - 4 year old French and American oak barriques and surprises with its dusty aromas, mingling with rosemary and sagebrush and a faint hint of plum and dark berries. On the palate the fruit is confirmed and the dustiness turns into talc and drying tannins. The finish is long, dry and satisfying. This wine was awarded the George Mackey Trophy in 2004 for the best Australian export wine.
For more information go to: http://www.brothersinarms.com.au/
Sticks Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
This wine is made by Rob ‘Sticks’ Dolan from vines originally planted in 1983 and is described on the label as ‘sensual’. This is not a bad descriptor as it is soft and gentle yet varietally true with soft tannins and a long, chocolaty finish. Dark, briary blackberries are predominant and the wine is balanced and very moreish.
RRP $ 18.99
For more information contact: http://www.sticks.com.au
Mountadam Barossa Shiraz 2004
Full of Barossa berry-forwardness this is a structured wine with integrated tannins that is great drinking right now. It is soft and luscious (held in balance with some cooler climate Eden Valley fruit) and a rather alluring drop. Immediate red berries (cherries) are slowly replaced by darker (blackcurrant and plummy) aromas, without ever appearing fat or overblown. Hints of white pepper keep the flavours honest and interesting.
Great value for money.
For more information contact: http://www.mountadam.com.au/
Deen De Bortoli Vat 4 Petit Verdot 2005
Petit Verdot is the grape variety that adds the perfume to Bordeaux blends and it’s a variety that can stand on its own in Australia. De Bortoli’s Vat 4 is such a wine and it’s an absolute bargain. At a RRP of $9.99 it massively over-delivers and, interestingly, matches simple pasta dishes extremely well. On the nose it’s perfumed (akin an Australian Verdelho) and on the palate it shows off cooked fruit with savoury undertones and just enough oak to make it interesting. Great value for money!
For more information contact: http://www.debortoli.com.au/60.0.html
Brown Brothers Patricia Merlot 2004
I don’t think I have ever tasted a bad Brown Brothers wine. When it comes to consistency they’re fantastically reliable and the Patricia range is always superb. The release of the Merlot 2004 is no exception. A savoury, rich wine without being sweet or flabby, this is a terrific example that we can make good Merlot in this country. This wine is made from fruit from the Pyrenees and if you see it, it’s well worth investing in.
For more information go to: www.brownbrothers.com.au
And last but by no means least:
Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
A hero from Coonawarra, displaying the terra rossa terroir perfectly. Bottled under screw cap this wine will last for a few years (they recommend up to 2018) but it is really quite approachable now. It’s full of dusty black berries (mainly plum and mulberries) on the front palate held together by sweet vanilla oak flavours and a firm and lasting tannin. It finishes long and dry with lots of savoury, forest-floor attributes. A terrific example of Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon!
For more information go to: http://www.katnookestate.com.au/katnookestate/