Wine News – October 2008 

By Franz Scheurer


Plantagenet Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Another great wine from the Great Southern, the cool climate area around Mount Barker in Western Australia. It’s savoury, substantial and eminently drinkable. Bottled under stelvin at 13.5%a/v it shows depth, structure and an alluring ‘dirtiness’ that makes you want more. Look out for it in your local bottle shop, it’s a great wine and it’s affordable.


Audrey Wilkinson Museum Reserve Semillon 2008

This must be from the Hunter winery with the best views and the wine is pretty good, too. The coolest and wettest conditions in a 100 years made Jeff Byrne, winemaker at Audrey Wilkinson comment: “Vintage 2008 can best be described as a winemaker’s nightmare”. Despite all this, the Museum Reserve Semillon is a cracker. It’s typically Hunter and should age exceptionally well. It might go through a ‘dumb phase’ but I have no doubt that in 10 years time this will be an exceptional wine. At RRP $35.00 it’s well worth cellaring.

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Philip Shaw No 17 – 2006

Made from Merlot, Cabernet and Cabernet Franc at the high altitude (900m a/s) Koomooloo vineyard this reasonably priced (RRP27) red wine is juicy, fragrant and fruit forward. This is a wine to drink now and it suits our climate. It’s quite light without sacrificing depth and complexity. It’s meaty on the nose and mouth-filling and soft on the palate with mulberry and forest floor flavours. For more information go to:


Yalumba Sangiovese Rosé 2008

Wine writers have been advocating the rosé as the perfect quaffing wine for our climate for years, with little success. It’s hearting to see that at least the winemakers are listening and crafting fantastic, dry, substantial rosés without any hints of ‘lolly water’. Yalumba’s Sangiovese Rosé 2008 is one such wine: dry, moreish and wonderful. It displays red-berry aromas, which are confirmed on the palate with lots of cinnamon and some brown cardamom. It has a mouth-filling texture and a long, savoury finish. Try it, it’s worth every sip!

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Mount Langi Ghiran Nowhere Creek Shiraz 2005

Nowhere Creek is a vineyard site at the edge of the Grampians and it is an exciting plot for a winemaker. Deep, red clay soils allow the vines to develop a huge root system and this, coupled with a North-facing slope, rewards with huge, powerful flavours. The Nowhere Creek Shiraz 2005 is a dark cherry and mulberry heavy wine, held together by powerful, dusty tannins. The finish is long, dry with hints of liquorice. Do I like it? Most definitely (and at RRP $25 it’s a bargain).   


d’Arenberg’s Icons

I just had the chance to compare ‘The Dead Arm Shiraz 2008’, ‘The Ironstone Pressings Grenache, Shiraz, Mouvèdre 2006’, and ‘The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2006’. They confirm just how good winemaker Chester Osborne really is and I dare say that the 2006 vintage is probably his best, yet. To quote Chester: “The 2006 wines have a better balance of tannins compared to other years with a greater expression of fruit structure and length of flavour. Whilst young the icons can appear quite closed. The 2006’s are quite aromatic now but it is obvious that significant fragrance and fruit are going to come out with cellaring. These wines have elegance and have the potential to live for many years if kept in correct conditions. Over the next 20 years I expect these wines will develop characteristics that I’ve not ever seen before from McLaren Vale.” I couldn’t agree more! Despite the fact that the Coppermine had a slight, secondary TCA (2,4,6-trichloroanisole – cork taint) infection it didn’t dumb it down enough to prevent me seeing its enormous potential and the Ironstone Pressings is probably the most approachable right now, but it’s the Dead Arm that will be the star in a few years.  All three wines are superb and you’d be hard pressed to find anything better to lay down at these sort of prices.


2006 The Ironstone Pressings     

Grenache (70%) Shiraz (25%) Mourvèdre (5%)                                           McLaren Vale 100%                                                                                                     Suggested Retail Price $65.00

Technical Information

Harvest Date: 25 February to 28 April  Alcohol By Volume: 14.5% Glucose + Fructose: 0.3 g/L Titratable Acid: 6.5g/L

pH: 3.45 Oak Maturation: 12 months in new to 5y.o. French & American oak barriques Bottling Dates: 19 April 2007


2006 The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon                                 McLaren Vale 100%

Suggested Retail Price $65.00

Technical Information

Harvest Dates: 6 March to 27 April Alcohol By Volume: 14.5% Glucose + Fructose: 0.9 g/L Titratable Acid: 7.1 g/L pH: 3.47

Oak Maturation: Average of 18 mths in new and 1, 2 & 3 y.o. French oak barriques Bottling Date: 18 October 2007


2006 The Dead Arm Shiraz                                                                           McLaren Vale 100%

Suggested Retail Price $65.00

Technical Information

Harvest Dates: 6 March to 29 April Alcohol By Volume: 14.5% Glucose + Fructose: 0.9 g/L Titratable Acid: 7.2g/L pH: 3.45

Oak Maturation: Average of 21 mths in new and 1 y.o. French and American oak barriques Bottling Date: 14 December 2007

Rimauresq Cru Classé 2007

This Côtes de Provence Rosé is fantastic. Typically almost orange in colour, it is dry, complex and a superb food wine. Rimauresq is named after the river, Réal Mauresque, which flows through the property and the wine is one of the few Cru Classé in the Côtes de Provence district. The wine is made from Tibouren, Grenache and Cinsault grapes and bottled at 13% a/vol.  Its aromas of ripe citrus is confirmed on the palate with herbaceous, spicy undertones and a long, dry finish.

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Thanks to James Johnston from World Wine Estates for bringing this wine to my attention.


Voyager Estate Chenin Blanc 2008 

It always surprised me that no one in Australia seemed to be able to make a good Chenin Blanc. France produces some wonderful wines in the Vouvray area and in South Africa Chenin Blanc is a true and tested variety yielding great results. In Australia there are some examples in Queensland (Roma) and Western Australia (Margaret River) but until the bottle of Voyager Estate landed on my desk I never tasted a Chenin Blanc I wanted to drink. The fruit is from Voyager Estate’s Margaret River 30 year old vines and it’s a wonderful drink with peaches, pears and roasted hazelnuts on the nose and a mouth-filling texture full of tropical fruit and a hint of sweetness. The finish is long with dried apricots and walnuts. This is a glorious wine, just $20 Cellar Door, and pairs perfectly with a ‘Blanquette de Veau’. (Guillaume Brahimi – are you listening?)

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Laurent Crozes-Hermitage Combier 2007

Biodynamic viticulture and considered winemaking result in a stylish, elegant red wine which, despite its low 12.5% a/v has great texture and depth of flavour. A little closed on the nose it opens up beautifully on the palate and convinces with ripe, stewed strawberry and mushroom flavours with a touch of cedar and damp forest floor. This is a gorgeous, drink-now wine. Available through World Wine Estates look out for it in your local bottle shop.


Arrivo Nebbiolo 2006 Lunga Macerazione

An Australian Nebbiolo, made in the Adelaide Hills with a real bouquet of tar and roses, the classic Nebbiolo scents of Italian Nebbiolo, but with a character and a mind of its own. This is a wine that is a bit of an enigma: it’s immediately approachable and easy to drink, yet it has the food-wine complexity and challenging flavours of a wine that will age and age well at that.  Grown and made by Peter Godden and Sally McGill this is a labour of love rather than a well-paying commercial endeavour but they’ve got this right! What a terrific wine! I would like to see this wine in my favourite Italian restaurants in Sydney – I would certainly order it!

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Fritz Haag Riesling 2006

The Weingut Fritz Haag has been making Rieslings in the Mosel since 1605. This is an amazing amount of history from an Australian perspective. One would expect, that after all this time, they’ve got it right; and they do. Steep terraced grand-cru vineyards on the Brauneberg catch the most of the sunlight and provide good drainage, with gravelly, minerally soils and the Riesling rewards with racy acidity held in check by sweet, fruit forward flavours laden with minerally austerity. This is a perfect example of balance. It complements perfectly balanced food, like a Thai meal, cooked by someone who knows Thai food. David Thompson, come back to Sydney, we need you here!

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