Wine review — Centennial Vineyards, Tertini & Jeir Creek

Centennial Vineyards Woodside Tempranillo 2006 $20.99
Centennial Vineyards Sparkling Tempranillo Rosé $24.99

Centennial Vineyards is a substantial Southern Highlands grower, maker and exporter with an impressive cellar door facility. Of its Southern-Highlands-grown wines, these two, made from the Spanish red variety, tempranillo, appeal. The red offers attractive ripe-berry aromas and a tasty, fruity palate that becomes more savoury after a few sips. The tight structure comes from lively acidity and fine, savoury, drying tannins. The rosé sparkler has a light pink, tending to onionskin, colour. It’s very clean, bright, dry and refreshing – a style that slips down easily, partly because of its fairly neutral aroma and flavour. See www.centennial.net.au

Tertini Crossroads Pinot Noir 2006 $18
Tertini exhibited all three of its Southern-Highland-grown pinots – Crossroads, 1855 and Tertini + Night – at last year’s regional wine show. The judges rated Crossroads, the cheapest of the trio, as best and awarded it a silver medal. Long term the judges’ verdict may not hold. It’ll be interesting to try the other two when they’re released. But in the meantime watch for the release of Crossroads 2006 in June. It’s a delicious pinot for $18, delivering some of the variety’s juicy flavour and fine, silky texture. As Tertini is a new company with limited distribution, see www.tertiniwines.com.au for news of the Crossroads release.

Jeir Creek Canberra District Shiraz Viognier 2005 $25
Jeir Creek Canberra District Sparkling Shiraz Viognier 2005 $28

Increasingly we’re seeing the strength of shiraz, with or without viognier, in our region. This one’s a husband and wife effort from the Jeir Creek vineyard, near Murrumbateman. Kay Howell tends the vineyard; husband Rob makes the wine. It’s in the aromatic, fine-boned, medium-bodied district style and features the distinct pepper and spice flavours of cool-grown shiraz. It’ll probably be at its best over the next two or three years. The peppery cool-climate shiraz character shows up, too, in the sparkler, but I don’t think it’s as successful as the still version. Visit cellar door or see www.jeircreekwines.com.au

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008

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