By Franz Scheurer
Pierro Chardonnay 2006
Pierro is synonymous with Margaret River and they know how to make Chardonnay. Pierro made one of the first Australian Chardonnays I really liked, many years back, and vintage conditions permitting, have come up trumps, year after year. The 2006 is no exception; it’s fruit forward yet austere with integrated wood and soft tannins. This is a great wine to drink now, if you must, but it will age and taste amazing with the complexity that a few years’ ageing will give it.
For more information go to: http://www.pierro.com.au
Jane Moss Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2008
There is something about Jane Moss’ Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc that pulls my strings. I love the New Zealand-like ‘cat pissed on a gooseberry bush’ aromas and its severity on the palate. This is a food wine, not an aperitif and, if the choice of food is prudent, an addictive drop. It loves simple things like avocado and chicken mayo rolls or sautéed white asparagus and hollandaise. I wouldn’t drink it with freshly shucked oysters, but it will shine with deep-fried oysters with lots of salt and spices. It costs $ 23 cellar door per bottle and is available Australia wide.
For more information go to: http://www.mossbrothers.com.au/
Terroirs of the Barossa
Château Tanunda is a heritage icon of Australia’s wine industry. The Geber family who continue the century old tradition of fine winemaking owns this grand building, magnificent gardens and vineyards.
The Barossa Valley produces different styles of Shiraz from sixteen villages and numerous sub-regions, all with their own distinctive characteristics.
‘Terroirs of the Barossa’ are an embodiment of the environment, the valley, the soil, the climate and ‘The Château’. This range gives you the chance to compare and contrast the stylistic differences between terroirs.
“Ultimately, we blend different Shiraz wines to achieve a ‘house style’ but wines within the blend are occasionally worthy of keeping separate to show their individuality”. Tim Smith, Winemaker Château Tanunda. The fruit is sourced from low yielding vineyards, dry grown, hand pruned, handpicked, then basket pressed and remains unfiltered. Non-intervention practices and gentle handling enhance their individuality. Each microclimate ripens at different times between February and April and ageing for 18 months, using older American and French oak, never suppresses the stylistic differences.
For this year’s release (2006) Tim Smith has chosen the following terroirs:
Lyndoch, Ebenezer and Greenock
Lyndoch – brown earth topsoil with a gravel base.
It is full of the luscious varietal qualities of leather, earth, pepper and wild blackberry. The flavours are strong and full with firm tannins and a long and lingering finish. At 15% it’s a blockbuster and I find it quite fruit-forward. It is best enjoyed with some char-grilled steak or good, Lyonnais sausages.
Ebenezer – Sandy loam over grey clay base.
Ebenezer is located in the Northern most reaches of the Barossa and wines from this region are typically characterised by lifted aromas of lavender and spice. The palate is full of red fruit, leather, cedar and complex spice. I find this a very elegant wine. Although full-bodied it promises much on the nose and delivers an integrated, textured experience on the palate. I love this wine with cold cuts, cheese, olive oil and good, crunchy bread (no, it’s not Italian in style at all, but works beautiful with a peasant’s morning tea).
Greenock – A mixture of dense brown earth with a clay and gravel base.
The dark, brooding regional characters of plum and liquorice are to the fore of this wine. The palate is focused and linear, with dark bitter chocolate notes and an elegant long persistent finish. What a wine! It’s dark, mysterious, full of cigar box and forest floor aromas and instantly mouth-filling with dark berries and plums. The finish is long, integrated and spicy. I absolutely love this wine. Enjoy it with a classic daube of beef cheeks, cooked in red wine.
RRP $45 each - National Stockists & Cellar Door
For more information go to: http://www.chateautanunda.com
Tintilla Estate Saphira Sangiovese 2006
Hailing from Lusby’s Lot in the Hunter Valley, this wine, made from estate grown grapes, is pretty closed on the nose. Faint aromas of stewed strawberries, almonds and lanolin combined with soft, integrated tannins form the basis of the mouth-feel and red berries are confirmed on the palate. This is a soft, Mediterranean-style wine that is best enjoyed with fresh pasta and a rabbit ragu. It’s also great with a mild cheese like the Bruny Island Cheese Co.’s Tom.
For more information go to: http://www.tintilla.com
Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2006
Kevin Judd is a terrific wine maker and although known in the past as the guy who coined New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc he makes a mean Pinot Noir. Cloudy Bay is an extremely picturesque vineyard in Marlborough, in the far North of the South Island of New Zealand. Kevin’s Pinot Noir maybe a medium bodied wine but it’s none too subtle in giving you oodles of Pinot Noir flavours. Grown in near perfect conditions the low yielding vines result in concentrated aromas and flavours with good length. This is an excellent Pinot Noir. For more information go to: http://www.cloudybay.co.nz
Henschke Innes Vineyard Pinot Gris 2007
Grapes from the cool climate area of Littlehampton on the eastern side of the Adelaide Hills are made into a dry, Pinot Grigio style wine with no red hue suggesting that the colour has been stripped. Named after the growers, David and Annette Innes, this is a crisp, aperitif-style wine that lends itself to be drunk on its own or paired to some simple antipasto. Although it seems light and quite frivolous with 14% a/v it’s a heavy hitter. Be cautious how many glasses you consume, as it’s a very easy drinking wine.
For more information go to: http://www.henschke.com.au
Jane Moss Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2005
If I were a label drinker then this one would sing to me. It’s a brilliant design, eye-catching and meaningful. The wine does the label justice. There are Cabernet notes like green capsicum on the nose and some red berries, which I would attribute more to Merlot. On the palate it’s an elegant wine, despite 14.5% a/v, which is no shrinking violet. Capsicum flavours are persistent and rounded out by plum and spicy, savoury notes, all held together perfectly by integrated tannins. This is a terrific wine to be enjoyed with food and it will stand up to strong, spicy flavours, as long as there is not a lot of chilli heat in the food. Mind you, I also enjoyed it late one afternoon, when I finally finished work, just with a couple of ‘Taralli Finocchio’, gorgeous little round, dry biscuits from Puglia (sold by Simon Johnson Purveyor of Good Food).
RRP $ 23 and at that price this wine is terrific value.
Mr. Riggs Shiraz Viognier 2006
This is a blend of 95% Shiraz and 5% Viognier and it comes from the Breakneck Creek Vineyard, the Penny’s Hill Vineyard, Piebald Gully Vineyard and the Gateway Vineyard. Like there’s food for cooks there are wines for winemakers and this is such a wine. Clean, with good depth and texture, it is alluringly simple but shows enough complexity to hold one’s attention. Distributed by Moet Hennessy and RRP $27
For more information go to: http://www.mrriggs.com.au
Hugh Hamilton The Scallywag Unwooded Chardonnay 2007
From McLaren Vale in South Australia it weighs in at 14% a/v. Hugh likes to see himself as the black sheep of the family and when it comes to offering something a little different then you’ll find out that this is not just a marketing ploy. This wine is showing Chardonnay characters and you don’t need to be an expert to pick the grape variety. Strong fruit, mainly overripe grapefruit and forward acid combine with good length. Despite the fact that this is an unwooded Chardonnay (which I generally don’t like) this is a pleasure to drink.
For more information go to: http://www.hughhamiltonwines.com.au
St. Hallett Faith Shiraz 2006
Barossa Shiraz in one of the more recognizable wines in Australia, generally displaying a lot of terroir. The St. Hallett’s Faith is no different. Big, bold, brash and full of fruit this is a bit of a mouth-full when young. If you have the patience to age this wine it will reward you with a smoother, more integrated wine with a bit less fruit and a more pronounced depth. The wine maker, Stuart Blackwell has crafted an archetypical Barossa Shiraz and if you like that style of wine you will not be disappointed.
RRP $ 21
For more information go to: http://www.sthallett.com.au
Xanadu Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2007
Established in the 1970s by Dr. John Lagan, Xanadu is one of the high profile wineries of the Margaret River wine growing area. Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon has become one of the areas trademarks blends and although the quality standard is mostly very high, the styles differ quite widely. Xanadu’s 2007 has obviously been partly barrel fermented, adding depth to a crisp, citrus-forward wine. It’s reasonably closed on the nose so you don’t need to worry about a New Zealand-like gooseberry hit, and it’s smooth and mouth filling on the palate. The citrus flavours are confirmed and hints of passionfruit become perceptible. Length is quite short but clean and dry. This is a very refreshing wine and will pair with white asparagus and burnt butter beautifully.
For more information go to: http://www.xanaduwines.com
Estío La Purisma 2007
A Spanish white bottled with a plastic cork…what is the world coming to? Made exclusively from Macabeo grapes (a Spanish white variety) it is not dissimilar to Australia’s Colomard. Quite aromatic on the nose and fresh and zingy on the palate, this wine shows lots of citrus at first, slowly changing into tropical fruit with custard apple being the predominant flavour. This is a wine from drinking young, probably as an aperitif or maybe with white anchovies on toast or a shot of cauliflower soup. It is imported by the Spanish Acquisition.
For more information go to: http://www.bodegaslapurisma.com