Wine reviews — Philip Shaw, Henschke, Lindemans

Philip Shaw Orange Sauvignon Blanc 2005 $23, Chardonnay 2004 $30, Shiraz Viognier 2004 $44 and Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2004 $25
In 1985 Rosemount winemaker Philip Shaw spotted a promising vineyard site as the corporate aircraft limped to an emergency landing at Orange. In 1988 Shaw purchased the site, at 900 metres above sea level, and planted Koomooloo vineyard on it in 1989. He sold fruit from the vineyard to Rosemount before launching his own brand in recent years. The by-now-mature vines produce tremendously appealing wines: a pungent, crisp, deeply textured sauvignon blanc; a restrained, slow-evolving, elegant chardonnay; a spicy, savoury, silk-smooth shiraz and a beautifully scented, elegant, firm blend of merlot and cabernets sauvignon and franc. See www.philipshaw.com.au

Henschke Lenswood Abbotts Prayer Vineyard Merlot 2003 $75, Louis Eden Valley Semillon 2006 $28
In 1981 Stephen and Prue Henschke ventured fifty kilometres beyond their Eden Valley heartland, to establish the Abbotts Prayer vineyard at higher, cooler, wetter, more-humid Lenswood in the adjoining Adelaide Hills, part of the Mount Lofty Ranges. Over time the predominantly Abbots Prayer has emerged as, perhaps, Australia’s greatest merlot, albeit bolstered with a touch of cabernet. Surprisingly, the hot and difficult 2003 vintage produced a wine of unusual fruit intensity and elegance – one that’ll blossom for years. And from the Eden Valley (the portion of the Mount Lofty Ranges bordering the eastern rim of the Barossa) comes this crisp, fine, lemony semillon – a largely unsung, but sometimes sensational, regional specialty.

Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz 2006 $7 to $10
What began as an export brand, led by the hugely successful Bin 65 Chardonnay, later won Australian palates, too, and continues to be amongst our most reliable budget wines right across the range, despite reported large market-share losses for Lindemans under Foster’s ownership. The latest Bin 50 is appealing, offering pure, plummy varietal aromas and flavours and soft, palate caressing, drink now tannins. It has a recommended price of around $10. But with strong retail competition, watch for specials at dollars a bottle below normal. Wines like this are made for current drinking, so don’t bother cellaring — there’ll be another vintage next year.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007

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