Wine review — Helm, De Bortoli Gulf Station & Jr Jones

Helm Canberra District Pinot Noir 2005 $28
Tasted Ken Helm’s 2006 riesling just before bottling early this week. It’s a lovely, intensely flavoured, finely structured drop. Watch this space for a full review when it’s released in September. Ken’s little surprise, though, was this Pinot Noir, sourced from Frank Van Der Loo’s Mount Majura vineyard. With a little help from Edgar Riek and the late Andre Simone’s Burgundy writings Ken makes a tasty debut into the difficult world of pinot making. It’s attractively perfumed, with delicious fruit and the variety’s silky texture – a very attractive drop for current drinking.

De Bortoli Gulf Station Yarra Valley Chardonnay & Pinot Noir 2005 $18
Family-owned De Bortoli appears to be thriving in the current tough market and a fair bit of that success surely rests on the exceptional value for money offered across a wide range of wine styles. This Gulf Station pair delivers Yarra Valley style and quality at a modest price — made even more modest by occasional retailer discounting. While built on elegant, cool climate varietal flavours, both wines offer a few little winemaking extras that add greatly to the appeal. Both are made by Steve ‘Wally’ Webber, the same man behind De Bortoli’s premium Yarra Valley wines.

Jr. Jones Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir and Chardonnay 2005 $16.95
These make an interesting contrast to the more savoury, similarly price Yarra wines reviewed above. Vigneron Rob Frewer says these are grown and made to achieve the comparatively low price point of this high-production-cost region. They say that the proof of the chardy is in the sipping. And both wines hold up to the taste test. The chardonnay is pure citrus and melon varietal with the fine structure of the region and yeast-maturation-derived textural richness. The pinot is fragrant and pure and medium bodied with solid texture and fine, drying acid/tannin grip. See jonesroad.com.au for stockists.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2006 & 2007

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