Wine review — Majella, Le Jardin Francaise, Les Nuages & Henry Pelé

Majella Coonawarra The Musician Cabernet Shiraz 2007 $17
This is a sensational red that really couldn’t have come from anywhere but Coonawarra – a blend of seventy per cent cabernet and thirty per cent shiraz from Prof and Tony Lynn’s Majella vineyard. Winemaker Bruce Gregory says the cabernet comes mainly from younger vines (a little over ten years old) and the shiraz from old vines. Unlike Majella’s sturdier, more expensive reds, the Musician finishes its ferment in tanks, not oak, and spends less time undergoing oak maturation. This treatment retains the stunning cabernet aromatics and bright fruit flavours. Shiraz subtly fleshes out the palate of a stunningly vibrant, elegant, medium-bodied red that’s made for early drinking. See www.majellawines.com.au

Le Jardin Francais Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc 2007 $25
Cooper Coffman Wine Company, based at Elvin Group’s Kamberra wine centre, imports this wine from Bordeaux’s Entre-Deux-Mers sub-region. It’s a collaboration between French winemaker, Julien Mette, and Cooper Coffman’s winemaker, Martin Cooper. The Aussie influence can be seen in the beautifully clean, fresh fruit character, preserved by a screw cap. The fruit flavour, of course is all French – delicate and fresh, and displaying a spectrum of sauvignon blanc varietal flavours, leaning towards tropical, but with some herbal notes. It’s not too lean on the palate, as some sauvies tend to be, but it’s also truly dry and light.

Les Nuages Loire Sauvignon Blanc 2006 $13–$15
Menetou Salon (Henry Pellé) 2006 $22–$25

Coles imports these two wines from the Loire Valley, France, and sells them through their Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice outlets. The first, from the Touraine district, has a distinctly un-sauvignon, but appealing, floral aroma and a light, crisp, dry palate with fresh, apple-like flavour in the finish. It’s pleasant and restrained and a world removed from Marlborough sauv blanc. Menetou Salon, a small village near Sancerre (eastern Loire), has long been a producer of racy, delicate, taut sauvignons reflecting the very cool climate. This is a terrific example of the style, perhaps the first to be seen in Canberra for a decade or more.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008

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