Wine review — Peter Lehmann

Peter Lehmann Barossa Riesling 2008 $11–14, Eden Valley Riesling $17–20
The cheaper Lehmann wines sometimes make the retail scrum, so watch for fighting prices on these, and the wines below, then leap in for terrific drinking. The Barossa riesling is beautifully floral with a zingy fresh, juicy, fruity, off-dry palate – the sort of fruitiness that sits so well with Asian food. The Eden Valley to the east of the Barossa floor, provides a cooler growing environment and tends to produce more acidic, taut intense rieslings. This one shows distinctive lime-like varietal aroma and flavour. It’s an intense but fine-boned, dry aperitif style – and just 11 per cent alcohol.

Peter Lehmann Barossa Semillon 2006 $11–14, Margaret Semillon 2003 $40
You wouldn’t know it from looking at wine labels, but semillon is Australia’s second most widely grown white variety behind chardonnay.  In 2008 we harvested 444 thousand and 100 thousand tonnes respectively of the two varieties. If semillon’s fate lies mainly as a blender (either anonymously, but commonly in tandem with sauvignon blanc) it reaches great heights on its own in the Hunter and Barossa Valleys. In the Barossa, Lehmann is, to me, the leading producer of unoaked versions.  The standard blend is modest in alcohol with an appealing, light, fresh, savoury lemony tang. And ‘Margaret’, the aged release, rates among the best and most interesting of Australian white wines.

Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz 2006 $16–19, Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 $16–19
Shiraz originated in France. But during the last decade Australia seized ownership of the variety that does so well in so many of our growing areas. It leads our red grape crush by a country mile (435 thousand tonnes versus second-placed cabernet’s 254 thousand tonnes in 2008). And it’s become our signature variety in export markets – principally through the generous, soft warm-grown styles that, arguably, the Barossa makes better than any other region. Just try the opulent, ripe, soft Lehmann 2006 to see how loveable the style is and what value it offers. Cabernet doesn’t perform as consistently well there, but the 2006 offers a generous, firm expression of the variety.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008

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