Wine review — Bidgebong, Kirrihill & Morris

Bidgeebong Icon Series Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2005 $32
While the 2006 vintage won a gold medal and trophy at the recent Canberra regional wine show, the currently available 2005 is on the money, too. It’s sourced from the Slacksmith family’s Humula vineyard at 400-450 metres above sea level – towards the lower end and presumably warmer part of the Tumbarumba region. Originally destined for a larger blend, this single-vineyard parcel impressed winemakers Andrew Birks and Keiran Spencer enough to bottle it separately. Spontaneous fermentation in oak added textural depth and complexity to a fine-boned and rich chardonnay that looks particularly vibrant and fresh at two and a half years.  See www.bidgeebong.com.au

Kirrihill Wines Clare Valley Single  Vineyard Series $19.95:

  • Tulach Mor Shiraz 2005
  • Tulach Mor Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
  • Baile an Gharrai Shiraz Mourvedre Grenache 2006

These are big-value, vibrant Clare Valley reds made by David Mavor from selected Clare Valley vineyards. The shiraz and cabernet come from the Tulach Mor (Gaelic for big hill, but anglicised to Tullymore) vineyard, while the shiraz mourvedre grenache comes from the Baile en Gharrai (Ballingarry) vineyard. The latter shows the pronounced spicy, musky fragrance of mourvedre and grenache. These varieties play a delightful role in the vibrant, spicy, soft and dry palate, too.  The shiraz is bright, fresh and soft and somewhat denser than the blend. The cabernet surprises with its ripe but pure varietal aroma and flavour and terrific mid-palate richness – something missing in so many Aussie cabernets. See www.kirrihillwines.com.au

Morris Rutherglen Durif 2004 $19.99
What is durif? Well, it’s a tough, tart, burly, high-alcohol, blood-crimson red wine that lives forever and has a small but fanatical following. Its Australian home is Rutherglen, northeastern Victoria but its origins are French. Jancis Robinson says that a Dr Durif, after whom it was named, propagated it in about 1880 and that in France it was ‘tolerated, though never encouraged’. The Morris family planted it in Rutherglen in 1920 and Mick Morris made the first table wine from it in 1954 – a practice continued today by his son, David, under the ownership of Pernod Ricard Australia.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007

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