Wine review — Disaster Bay, Peter Lehmann, Murdoch Hill and Toolangi

Disaster Bay Pambula River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2009 $20
In 2000 Dean O’Reilly planted about a hectare of vines on his parents Pambula River farm. The site was too cool for the Bordeaux red varieties, but the whites, semillon and sauvignon blanc, perform well. Dean crushes the grapes on site then transports the juice to Murrumbateman and makes the wine under the tutelage of Andrew McEwin. It’s barrel fermented, in the Bordeaux style, and at just 12.5% drinks deliciously – cleverly made, light and subtle. It’s available in the better restaurants around town and by the glass at Tongue and Groove, in the city. Dean recently won a place in the prestigious Len Evans Tutorial.

Peter Lehmann ‘Layers’ Barossa Red and Adelaide White $14–$16
Semillon, muscat, gewürztraminer, pinot gris and chardonnay are the unlikely partners in Peter Lehmann’s new non-vintage white blend. It’s a bit like putting the grape equivalents of Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull, Wayne Swan, Tony Abbott and Steve Fielding into one bottle. Surprisingly, it’s an harmonious, soft, gentle blend with none of the idiosyncratic individual varieties starring. The generous, soft red is less political – more like a back room gathering of diverse but like-minded individuals, bent on a single purpose. Shiraz, mourvedre, tempranillo, grenache and carignan were always going to work together – and do so deliciously.

Murdoch Hill Adelaide Hills The Cronberry Shiraz 2007 $22
Toolangi Yarra Valley Shiraz 2006 $25

Here’s a couple of contrasting and attractive cool-climate shirazes – one from South Australia; the other from Victoria. The Downer family’s Murdoch Hill, made by Brian Light and Michael Downer, is the more robust of the two ¬– it’s rounder and a touch more alcoholic with juicy, savoury shiraz flavours and extra palate weight derived from oak maturation (see www.murdochhill.com.au). Julie and Garry Hounsell’s wine, from the Yarra Valley’s Dixon Creek sub-region, shows an even cooler face of shiraz. The flavours are more at the pepper and spice end of the shiraz spectrum, with the taut, elegant structure that goes with that territory (see www.toolanngi.com).

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009

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