Draytons Vineyard Reserve Pokolbin Shiraz 2007 $30
This is one of those beautiful old school Hunter reds – medium bodied, gentle, supple and soft but savoury and earthy, too. It’s sourced from two old Drayton family vineyards at Pokolbin, a sub-district of the Hunter Valley – the 40-year old Bull Paddock Block and 110-year-plus Old Flat Shiraz Block. The grapes were hand picked, fermented in small, open vats and matured in a mix of new French oak and older French and American barriques. While the oak supports the wine, it doesn’t get in the way of the pure fruit flavour from those venerable old vineyards. It’s a gem.
Vineyard Reserve Pokolbin Chardonnay 2009 $30
Try this and you’ll see why judges at the 2009 Hunter Valley Wine Show gave it a gold medal and trophy. Winemaker Will Rickard-Bell captured the vibrant, pure, succulent, nectarine-like varietal flavour and added subtle background flavours and texture with careful oak treatment: fermentation of half the blend in new French barrels and the balance in steel tanks, followed by a few months in older barrels. Will says it’s sourced from a very small plot of vines planted to the Penfolds clone back in 1965 – making it one of Australia’s oldest chardonnay vineyards. See www.draytons.com.au
Yalumba Langhorne Creek Vermentino 2009 $14.95
Running With Bulls Barossa Tempranillo 2009 $18.95
The ability of vermentino, an Italian white variety, to withstand heat and drought makes it a good candidate for Australian vineyards. There’s a fair bit of it being planted now. But the true test will be whether we enjoy the wines it makes. This one has a fresh passionfruit-like aroma and flavour, reminiscent of ripe sauvignon blanc, but seems a bit coarse and hard on the palate. Spain’s tempranillo is another comparative newcomer to Australia with potential to become mainstream, thanks to its flesh fruit flavour and firm, but not hard, tannins. Yalumba’s is a ‘bistro’ version of the style – zesty, fruity and ready to drink now.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009