Wine review — Helm, Thistle Hill & Taylors

Helm Canberra District Classic Dry Riesling 2002, $20 at cellar door
From what I’ve seen to date, Canberra’s 2002 vintage was a cracker for riesling, producing intense flavours and a high natural acidity that gives backbone, freshness and promise of good long term cellaring.  Ken Helm’s wine, released at cellar door today, delivers the flavour intensity and fresh acidity of the vintage but with a richer, slightly ‘grippy’ texture, thanks to the use of an acid-reducing malolactic fermentation on a small, particularly acidic component of the blend. It’s an unconventional technique for riesling because the flavour input can be intrusive. However, Ken sidestepped conventional wisdom to produce a riesling of very high quality indeed.

Thistle Hill Mudgee Chardonnay 2000, $17 at cellar door
This is an absolutely delightful wine, estate-grown and made by one of Mudgee’s very small, high-quality producers. Thistle Hill’s 3.2 hectares of chardonnay yielded just 5 tonnes (equivalent to about 350 dozen bottles) in 2000. Barrel fermentation and maturation contribute texture and richness without burdening the delicious, bright melon-like fruit flavour that persists from first sip to last. You’ll always want a second bottle of this one. To order at cellar door or for details of stockists call 02 6373 3546

Taylors Clare Valley Shiraz 2001, $11 to $16
Taylors was one of the best in a recent masked tasting of 18 commercial shiraz and shiraz dominant blends. It has the Clare’s unique, lifted, sweet aroma and bold, bright fruit flavours.  It also has depth and structure. What it lacks, however, is the extra six months or so bottle age needed to complete the journey from fermented grape juice to wine. That’s a common problem now. And no matter what winemakers do to soften tannins for current appeal, nothing works better than time in the bottle, albeit only 6 month to a year.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2002 & 2007

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