Wine review — De Bortoli, Stoneleigh, Kahurangi

De Bortoli Windy Peak Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2007 $11–$15
The press release says of the 2007 vintage, ‘The King Valley where De Bortoli has over 200ha of vineyards and where we source a lot of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, was hardest hit reducing our crop of useable fruit to less than ten per cent’. The huge crop loss forced De Bortoli to wider sourcing for this delicious blend: to the Yarra, King, Murray and Hunter Valleys, Mornington, Orange, Canberra and the Riverina. The result is a zesty wine showing the lightness and passionfruit-like character of sauvignon blanc supported by the length and structure of semillon. It’s made for current drinking.

Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006 $16 to $19
Stoneleigh, part of New Zealand’s Montana Group, belongs now to French owned Pernod Ricard Pacific – proprietors, as well, of Australia’s Orlando Wines. Stoneleigh’s sauvignon blanc, sourced from the warmer Rapaura sub-region of Marlborough, is distinct from the more herbaceous Montana style, produced from the cooler Brancott area. Stoneleigh presents the passionfruit and tropical character of ripe sauvignon cut with bracing minerally acidity – reminding us that Marlborough really is a cool area even in its warmer sites. What makes Marlborough really special, though, is that the bracing acidity becomes a refreshing foil to the amazingly juicy, luscious fruit flavour.

Kahurangi Estate Nelson Pinot Noir 2004 $25
Many years ago Neudorf of Nelson (a few hours drive west of Marlborough at the top of New Zealand’s South Island) demonstrated the chardonnay and pinot noir potential of this cool, sunny region. At a tasting late last year, and again recently, Neudorf’s neighbour, Kahurangi, started slowly with its pale, slightly aged hue. But the perfume and fine, intense palate continued to seduce for several days after opening the bottle – a very positive sign. Where many pinots fade rapidly, this one shows the durability characteristic of the best. It really is a subtle, delicious expression of pinot noir with the ability to offer something new with every sip.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007

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