Wine, wine and more wine
By Franz Scheurer
Itís time to stock up on some of these terrific, value for money wines.
In no particular order:
Storton Vineyard Riesling 2003
Flavours concentrate as the old vines struggle through the hot summer without irrigation at Storton Vineyard, one of the few dry-grown vineyards left in the Eden Valley, producing an intense Riesling with lots of citrus flavours on the palate and honeysuckle on the nose. The vineyard is 23 years old and Merv Storton used to sell his fruit to other producers in the valley until Cellarmasters Wines convinced him to produce his own wine and the 2003 Riesling is available through the Cellarmasters Wine Club at $17.50 a bottle
Gralyn Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Gralyn Estate, established in 1975, is situated in the Willyabrup subregion of Margaret River, family owned and operated, using estate grown fruit only. The 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon is very tightly structured, unmistakably varietal with good mouth feel and great length and should improve for many years with correct cellaring (15 years plus). Now itís not cheap, far from it, but I do think it is good value for money. Single bottle price: $90 which comes down to $76.50 if you buy a dozen.
Cape Grace Chenin Blanc2003
Robert and Karen Karri-Davies planted their 15 acre vineyard on the headwaters of the Willyabrup Valley in 1996. Dr Tom Cullity wanted to plant grapes on the Clews property where Cape Grace Wines is situated today. The Clew's were not interested, so Dr Cullity bought land and established Vasse Felix, two km to the north. Consultant winemaker Mark Messenger who has 16 vintages under his belt, including 9 at Cape Mentelle, 6 at Juniper Estate and several vintages overseas, makes the wines. Chenin Blanc, the variety that is responsible for the great wines of Vouvray, has never grabbed the imagination of wine makers or wine drinkers in Australia. This is a pity as we do have a few good examples of this variety. This particular wine is meant to be drunk young, itís fresh, full of tropical fruit with a spice-laden finish reminiscent of Christmas pudding, slightly sweet without being fat or flabby and it comes into its own served quite cold with spicy, Asian food.
$16 per bottle, $192 per case.
Juniper Estate Shiraz 2000
You really want to thank John Gladstone for his work comparing the Margaret River region so favourably with Bordeaux, hence opening this region for wine enthusiast to enjoy worldwide, when you have the privilege to enjoy a wine like the Juniper Estate Shiraz 2000. Although this area is renowned for its Cabernet Sauvignon this might be partly due to the fact that there are almost no non-irrigated old Shiraz vines in the area, with the exception of Juniper Estateís 7 acres. The 2000 Shiraz is the first release from fruit of these old vines. It is a serious red wine with a wonderful, almost purple colour, full of nutmeg, amaretto cherry and charred wood on the nose with deep spicy, earthy flavours on the palate, rich and mouth-filling and chewy. Drink it young and enjoy the fruit or lay it down and let the spice and fruit get to know each other a little better. Terrific value at $29 per bottle of $312 per case.
Redesdale Estate Shiraz 2001
Situated on the banks of the Campaspe River in the Heathcote area this must be the one area of Australia that looks and feels a bit like Tuscany. Heathcote is also fast becoming known for its terrific Shiraz and although first plantings started as early as the 1960s it is only in the last 20 years that we see more of these wines. Redesdale was established as a single vineyard site in 1982 where the earth is particularly harsh, with very little topsoil and deep sedimentary rock with a layer of quartz with specks of granite on the higher slopes. With this kind of terroir the vines naturally struggle, intensifying fruit flavours, further helped by dry climate vineyard practices. The 2001 Shiraz is a wonderful wine. It benefits greatly from double decanting. Full of beef consommť and lovage on the nose it confirms dark berry fruit with celery and Chinese master stock flavours on the palate. It is an elegant wine with fine tannins and benefits from a big decant and will easily live another 7 years or more. This is a wine I really enjoy! As it is exceptional drinking now I suggest you buy enough to drink now and some to cellar for a few years. This wine is just about to be released and the retail price will be around $30 per bottle.
Moss Brothers Semillon 2003
When the Moss family began their Margaret River vineyard project in 1984 they had a lot of expertise on their side. Senior Moss, Jeff, had been growing grapes his whole life. David Moss had worked at both Houghton and Moss Wood for a number of years in both the vineyards and wineries. Peter Moss made stainless steel tanks and winery equipment including actual wineries and boutique breweries. Jane Moss studied wine making and grape growing at Roseworthy Agricultural College, Australia's leading wine science university.
It stands to reason that if you can grow fabulous Cabernets in Margaret River then you should be able to do the same for Semillon. Moss Brothers Semillon 2003 is proof of that. This wine is very different from your Hunter Semillons. Itís full of white peach with a touch of cinnamon, round and textured, very much like a Graves from Bordeaux. The fruit for this wine was crushed and destemmed before being pressed. The resulting free run juice and pressings were blended in stainless steel tanks, cold settled, racked and inoculated with a pure yeast strain. Terrific drinking now (pair it with freshly shucked oysters) I would like to revisit this wine in about 8 years. $20 per bottle or $216 per case.
Jane Moss Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2003
The Jane Moss label is part of the Moss Brothers operation. Jane Moss, who is a Roseworthy trained wine maker in her own right, made this blend of 100% Margaret River fruit together with David Moss and the blend contains 76% Semillon and 24% Sauvignon Blanc. This wine has a distinctive green hue, quite flinty and austere it is livened up a little by the more tropical aromatics, hints of ripe grape fruit and almond blossoms, of the Sauvignon Blanc. This wine needs a bit of fat on the palate to really shine, in other words, itís a food wine. Pair it with a preserved lemon risotto and you wonít believe the wonderful fruit intensity and cleansing, cutting acidic finish. $20 per bottle or $216 per case.