Wine review — Tapanappa, Shaw Vineyard Estate, Seppelt, Zema Estate & Carlei

Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard Wrattonbully Cabernet Shiraz 2004 and Tiers Vineyard Piccadilly Chardonnay 2005 about $75
Brian Croser’s new Tapanappa releases come from single vineyards in Wrattonbully and the Piccadilly Valley, South Australia. The red, a blend of seventy per cent cabernet sauvignon, twenty per cent shiraz and ten per cent cabernet franc, is highly perfumed, elegant and supple, featuring delicious plummy fruit with beautifully matched oak and very fine tannins – an understated style with real fruit depth and, hence, longevity. The chardonnay, from the Croser family Tiers vineyard, shows cool-climate grapefruit and melon varietal character in a complex matrix of oak and lees derived flavours and textures — a very fresh, fine and slow-evolving style.

Shaw Vineyard Estate Murrumbateman Cabernet Merlot 2004 $20
Graeme Shaw built Hardy’s Kamberra Wine Tourism Complex and, with other investors, established 32 hectares of vines at Murrumbateman to feed the Hardy facility. With a percipient eye to the future, Graeme established his own wine label and now operates one of Canberra’s most imaginative cellar door outlets with a restaurant and attractive merchandise including authentic Modena Balsamics and Umbrian ceramics. The wines, too, are impressive, especially the 2004 vintage Cabernet Merlot, Cabernet Shiraz and Shiraz, contract made by Bill Calabria in Griffith. That’s a long but fruitful journey for the grapes but justified as the wines are outstanding. See www.shawvineyards.com.au

Seppelt ‘Benno’ Bendigo Shiraz 2004 $50, St Peters Grampians Shiraz 2004 $60
Seppelt Drumborg Riesling 2006 $30

Benno and St Peters are world-class reds – wines to sip, savour and marvel at – but without the $100 plus price tag of wines of comparable quality. Benno, from Bendigo, and the more robust of the two, is now in its second vintage and shows the class of the 2004 season. St Peters, from the St Peters, Imperial and Police Vineyards, Great Western, is finer boned and offers extraordinary flavour concentration with elegance – a truly great shiraz with enormous cellaring potential. Seppelt Riesling 2006 delivers the lime-like varietal intensity and brisk, acidic structure associated with the chilly Drumborg Vineyard, located near Portland.

Zema Estate Coonawarra Shiraz 2004 $21 to $26
When I close my eyes and think of Coonawarra shiraz I recall with fondness the elegant, under-oaked, limpid 1970s wines of Brands and Redman and the timeless, long-lasting classics of Wynns (especially the 1955). Zema 2004 fits this medium bodied mould – a gentle, supple shiraz with the more-ish ripe-berry flavours and fine tannins to invite another sip and remain interesting to the last drop. It’s just been released alongside the very good Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 ($26) and attractive Cluny 2003 ($26), a cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec blend. Available at the cellar door, www.zema.com.au and selected retail outlets.

Carlei Tre Bianchi 2005 $27, Tre Rossi 2005 $39 & Tre Amici 2005 $39
There’s nothing of me-too-ism in Sergio Carlei’s wines, sourced from Cardinia Ranges, Upper Goulburn, Lake Marmel and Yarra Valley, Victoria. There’s savoury, mouth-watering magic, for example, in Tre Bianchi – a sauvignon blanc, semillon, chardonnay blend that you might expect to be in your face fruity – but isn’t. Then combine earthy, spicy shiraz with summer-berry barbera and fragrant but mouth-puckering nebbiolo and you have savoury, taut Tre Amici. Tre Rossi, with a core of sweet-berry cabernet and merlot, also turns savoury and firm thanks, presumably to sangiovese, the majority variety in the blend. The wines are available via the website www.carlei.com.au or call distributor, Domaine Wine Shippers, 03 9878 7848 for stockists.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007

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