Wine review — Curly Flat, Williams Crossing, Portree, Cope-Williams, Hanging Rock, Mount William, Shadowfax & Lanes End

Curly Flat Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2005 $46
Williams Crossing Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2005 $20
Portree Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2005 $33

The very cool climate of the Macedon Ranges wine region, an hour’s drive north west of Melbourne, produces top-notch pinot noirs – wines of great perfume, clear varietal flavour and silky, fine texture. Judging there two weeks ago 21 of the 29 pinots tasted won medals – three golds, three silvers and fifteen bronzes. The high strike reflected the quality, especially of these three gold-medallists. Portree wine, the fullest bodied of the trio, shows a more powerful face of pinot. Curly Flat, the most complex and interesting, needs time (it’s not released yet anyway). And Williams Crossing, Curly Flat’s second label, is taut, fine and delicious. See www.portreevineyard.com.au and www.curlyflat.com

Cope-Williams Romsey Brut Pinot Noir Chardonnay NV $26
Hanging Rock Macedon Cuvée VII LD $115
Mt William Winery Blanc de Blanc 2001 $35

I’ve never judged a class of Australian sparklings as striking and delicious as those at the recent Macedon show. A maturity of winemaking, coupled with the extremely cool growing conditions delivers flavour and structure seldom found outside of France’s Champagne district. These three gold-medallists show pretty well the full spectrum of the region’s sparkling styles: the ultra-fine, elegant, marvellously fresh, all-chardonnay Mt William 2001 (www.mtwilliamwinery.com.au); the classically fine and intense Cope-Williams Brut NV (www.copewilliams.com.au) and Hanging Rock’s idiosyncratic tour-de-force of powerful fruit, tight structure and edgy, tangy cask maturation complexities (hangingrock.com.au).

Shadowfax Macedon Ranges Chardonnay 2006 $35
Lanes End Macedon Ranges Chardonnay 2005 $28
Curly Flat Macedon Ranges Chardonnay 2005 $38

Macedon’s third grape specialty, chardonnay, probably faces more Aussie competitors than its pinots and bubblies do, partly because of the sheer versatility of this variety. That said, the chardonnays that it makes are in a very fine, restrained style — the best of which could take on any competitors.  Amongst twenty eight chardonnays judged we found these three zingy fresh gold-medal winners: the very fine, stunningly fresh Shadowfax 2006 (www.shadowfax.com.au), the more robust, slightly oakier, but still very fine Lanes End (www.lanesend.com.au), and the more restrained, slightly funky, deliciously fresh Curly Flat (www.curlyflat.com).

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007

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