Wine review — Leconfield, Evans & Tate, Miceli

Leconfield Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 $26 to $30
In the early eighties some Coonawarra makers flirted with early-picked cabernet styles. The resulting thin, green wines enjoyed wine-show support for a time before good sense and ripeness once again prevailed. Leconfield hung onto a green component in its cabernets for much of the nineties, so it’s good to report a shift to a more generous, riper, fresher style under winemaker Paul Gordon. Less irrigation, pruning for lower yields and later harvesting account for the riper but elegant berry flavours. And increased skin contact, easy-on-the-new-oak maturation and more aeration combine to present these bright berry flavours wrapped in a satisfying packet of firm, ripe tannins.

Evans & Tate Salisbury Chardonnay 2005 $9-$11
Largely because of generous, fruity, inexpensive wines like Salisbury, chardonnay remains Australia’s favourite bottled wine. AC Nielsen figures reveal that in the year to March, 2006, chardonnay accounted for 16.1 per cent of bottled wine sales with sparkling white in number two position, followed by shiraz, then cabernet sauvignon, then sauvignon blanc in fifth place accounting for 5.8 per cent of sales. While we drink almost three bottles of chardonnay for every one of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay is in mild decline and sauvignon blanc in rapid growth. Sourced from the hot Murray Darling region, Salisbury offers generous, ripe, peachy varietal flavour with a delicious zesty freshness.

Miceli Mornington Peninsula Iolanda Pinot Grigio 2005 $19.95
As Australian and New Zealand winemakers grapple with pinot grigio – a white mutant of the red pinot noir — we’re seeing a diversity of styles driven as much by winemaker input as by region of origin.  What Michael Miceli has shown is that even with high levels of winemaking artifice – oxidation, warm ferment, wild yeast ferment and lees maturation etc – the variety can still assert itself. We’ve seen some beauties in this mould from Miceli in recent years, including this very complex, new-release 2005. It captures the minerally/nashi pear flavour of pinot grigio, somehow enhanced by the patina of winemaking inputs.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2006 & 2007

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