Wine review — Helm & Teusner

Helm Canberra District Classic Dry Riesling 2007 $25
A perverse season of drought and frost reduced Ken Helm’s 2007 crush by two thirds. There’ll be no Premium riesling (‘frost destroyed the crop’, writes Ken) and it was only an intense search around Murrumbateman that allowed Ken to make any riesling at all. And it’s a ripper — a winner of bronze, silver and gold medals in the Winewise, Cowra and Melbourne shows respectively. It has a brilliant, green-tinted, pale-lemon colour and tremendous volume of ripe varietal aroma and flavour – more than you usually see in riesling this young. But the flavour volume doesn’t come at the expense of fresh. This is as crisp and youthful as they come. Released in October.

Teusner Barossa Valley Joshua 2006 $24 & Avatar 2005 $30
Kym Teusner is one of the adventurous young Barossa makers mentioned in a recent column. He went straight from Uni to winemaking at Torbreck in 2001 and started making his own wines in 2002. Kym focuses on reds made from the Barossa’s time-proven specialties – shiraz, mourvedre (aka mataro) and grenache – sourced principally from around Ebenezer and Moppa at the northern end of the Valley. Joshua and Avatar are grenache-dominant blends – the former completely unoaked and offering a musky-savoury purity in a soft but still grippy red-wine frame.  Avatar brings the added dimension of oak maturation – an attractive charry note plus a greater buoyancy and all round velvety generosity on the palate.

Teusner Barossa Valley Albert 2005 $45
& The Riebke Ebenezer Road Shiraz 2006 $20

Kym Teusner owns no winery and no vineyard. Instead he sources grapes from ‘people I can have a drink with down the pub and do business with on a handshake. It’s all about a sense of community’, he says. Albert and The Riebke show two different faces of Barossa shiraz. The Riebke, from the Ebenezer sub-district, shows the fragrant, vibrant, purity of young shiraz. It’s plump and soft and approachable now, though by no means without a future. It’s a bargain. Albert shows the spicier, more serious side of shiraz, with a charry-oak note adding complexity to the aroma. It’s generous and layered in a big and tender Barossa way. See www.teusner.com.au

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007

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