Wine review — Brindabella Hills & Hewitson

Brindabella Hills Canberra District Shiraz 2005 $25
Perhaps it’s the sandy, gravely soils, wonders winemaker Roger Harris, that makes shiraz from comparatively low-altitude, warm Hall so amazingly cool-climate-fragrant in style. It’s seductively floral with a matching delicate, juicy flavour and elegant, supple structure – a sensational wine. And I suspect that it’ll grow in interest for several more years. Roger sources it principally from his own vines (planted as pinot noir, originally, then grafted to shiraz) with some from neighbouring vineyards on the Murrumbidgee Valley side of Hall. It’s a great favour for drinkers that it’s been allowed a year’s bottle age following cask ageing. See www.brindabellahills.com.au

Brindabella Hills Canberra District Sauvignon Blanc 2007 $18
Brindabella Hill Canberra District Chardonnay Viognier 2006 $25

Sauvignon Blanc and blends of it with semillon became the sweet spot in Aussie white consumption patterns some years back. They’re not the star varieties in the Canberra district but Roger and Faye Harris have made their straight sauvignon a regional benchmark – the 2007 appealing for its passionfruit-like varietal character, zingy freshness and delicious, fleshy palate. Roger’s adventurous addition of viognier to chardonnay might have gone over the top – viognier having such powerful aromas and flavours. But, in this barrel-fermented-and-matured version it works as the viognier adds richness without dominating.

Hewitson The Mad Hatter McLaren Vale Shiraz 2005 $50
Hewitson Old Garden Barossa Valley Mourvedre 2005 $50

The international language of top-quality wine focuses on vineyard location. It’s a concept inherent in every estate-grown wine and, increasingly, in offerings like these highly distinctive Dean-Hewitson-made reds. These are the antithesis of the delicate Brindabella Hills shiraz described above – and that variability contributes to the beauty and appeal of wine. The mourvedre, a solid, firm, concentrated and spicy red comes from a 154-year-old vineyard at Rowland Flat in the southern Barossa.  It’s cellar mate, from the confluence of McLaren Vale’s Seaview Ridge and Blewitt Springs subregions, shows a comparable power and concentration but with the savoury softness of shiraz. These are a delight to savour. See www.hewitson.com.au

Copyright  © Chris Shanahan 2007

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