Wine review — Balnaves, Gallagher & Jim Barry

Balnaves of Coonawarra Shiraz 2005 $24, The Blend 2005 $19,
The Tally Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $80

This impressive trio of new releases from the Balnaves family shows the ripeness and strength of the warm 2005 vintage. The shiraz shows some peppery, cool-climate flavour but it’s otherwise fuller and more tannic than usual, albeit in a soft and approachable style. The Blend — the bargain of the three — delivers attractive, ripe, upfront fruit flavours with soft, easy-on-the-palate tannins. It’s ready to drink now. The Tally, from the Balnaves family’s ‘Dead Morris’ and ‘Walker’ vineyards belongs to the cellar: it’s dense and powerful with Coonawarra’s vivid cabernet varietal flavour, firm structure and assertive, but sympathetic, oak character. See www.balnaves.com.au

Gallagher Canberra District Riesling 2007 $18, Merlot 2006 $22, Blanc de Blancs 2005 $35
Greg Gallagher’s new releases offer pretty good value. This, the first of the local 2007 rieslings that I’ve seen, seems particularly aromatic and full flavoured for such a young wine, with an appealing, round, soft, juicy palate. The merlot hits a lot of the right buttons with its appealing, plummy perfume and finely structured, medium-bodied, fruity palate. It has richness without heaviness and avoids the over-oaking or green tannins that mar too many examples of this variety. The estate-grown bubbly shows Greg’s expertise in this area. It’s a beautifully made, very youthful and full-bodied expression of this all-chardonnay style. Cellar door phone 6227 0555.

Jim Barry Cover Drive Coonawarra Clare Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $19.50
The Barry family captures the essence of good, drink-now cabernet in Cover drive. A warm-vintage blend from Coonawarra – cabernet’s heartland – and Clare Valley, it delivers pleasant, ripe-berry/chocolaty varietal flavours with just the right weight and richness on the mid-palate. It’s a good argument for cross-regional blending, a great Australian specialty. The Barrys are Clare Valley based and have very substantial vineyards in a number of locations. But they also own a vineyard in southern Coonawarra. Peter Barry says the Coonawarra component provides ‘intense varietal character’ while Clare Valley contributes chocolate-like flavour and round, soft tannins.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007

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