Wine review — Tahbilk

Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes Marsanne 2005 $11-$14
This is surely a contender – along with a few Clare Rieslings – for Australia’s best-value-white title. Not only does it drink well as a young wine but as the last weekend’s tasting at the winery demonstrated, it takes on a golden, honeyed richness with age — the 1974, 1982, 1992 and 1996 being my highlights amongst the older wines. And the introduction of a screw cap from 2002 and a brightening of the fruit character in recent years makes it an even safer cellaring bet than ever. The just-released 2005, though, was my top wine of the tasting as it simply explodes with succulent fruit flavour.

Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 & Shiraz 2002 $15 to $19
The distinctive reds of Tahbilk are grown and made on the property and offer great consistency of style, albeit with considerable vintage variation and a notable brightening of fruit character in recent vintages. Despite fine-tuning, though, the wines remain limpid and medium bodied with a savoury edge and firm, sometimes slightly hard tannin structure. The about to be released 2002’s are absolutely stunning at the price and, of the older wines, the 1965 Shiraz and 1971 Cabernets still drink beautifully – indicating the strength behind what are, in the Australian context, lighter bodied wines.

Tahbilk 1860s Vines Shiraz 2000 $110, Reserve Shiraz 2000 & Reserve Cabernet 2000 $61
These medium bodied, firmly structured reds come from the choice, older vines of Tahbilk and deliver a greater fruit intensity and sweetness to counter the strong tannin structure. The 1860’s Vines shiraz comes from the sole surviving original plantings and both the current and coming releases — 1999 and 2000 – showed well, with the 1982 being a standout of the older wines. The Reserve Shiraz, from mature vines planted in 1933, 1927 and 1936 is a little weightier, but still in the elegant, firm Tahbilk mould. And the Reserve Cabernet comes from vines planted in 1948, the 1960s and1980s. The 1959 and 1964 are still wonderful. All of these young wines will benefit from extended cellaring

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2005 & 2007

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