Wine tasting — Shelmerdine, Printhie & St Huberts

Shelmerdine Heathcote Shiraz 2005 $34; Heathcote Merindoc Vineyard Shiraz 2005 $65 and Heathcote Merlot $28
The Shelmerdine family sources fruit from Victoria’s climatically diverse Heathcote region – from the cool south to the warmer north. The beautifully ripe, supple Heathcote Shiraz 2005 combines northern and southern shiraz with a dab of viognier; and the flagship shiraz comes solely from the Merindoc Vineyard in the south. Made by Sergio Carlei from just four tonnes of carefully selected fruit, it’s pure magic – in the fragrant, savoury, fine cool-climate mould. The merlot, from the Willoughby Bridge vineyard, Colbinabbin, at the warmer northern end of the region, is a fairly fleshy, firmly structured version of the style. See www.shelmerdine.com.au

Printhie Orange Region Merlot 2005 $16.95
Merlot’s out of favour in some quarters at present, perhaps because so many Australian attempts at the style tend to be green and hard or overburdened with oak or tannin. But this one – enjoyed twice in the last year – demonstrates what good fruit, gently handled, can do. It’s from Printhie’s Phalaris Vineyard. And, says winemaker Rob Black, winemaking focused on capturing the fruit flavour without extracting too much tannin. The appealing fragrance, elegant structure and simple, delicious fruit make it ideal for drinking right now. It’s just one of a range of big-value wines available at www printhiewines.com.au

St Huberts Yarra Valley Roussanne 2006 $25
Roussanne, marsanne and viognier are the three key white varieties of France’s Rhone Valley, more often than not blended in various proportions and combinations. Though viognier was probably the last to appear in Australia, it’s now, perhaps, the best known of the three, both in its own right and as an adjunct to shiraz. Victoria’s Tahbilk put marsanne on the map single handedly. And roussanne, while hard to find has links going back to the earliest days of Yarra Valley grape growing. Yeringberg’s is a fine example. But easier to find is this subtle and lovely, partly oak fermented, version from the Foster’s-owned St Huberts.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008

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