Wine review — Jacob’s Creek, Coldstream Hills, Bream Creek, Capercaillie and Wandin Valley

Jacob’s Creek Reeves Point Chardonnay 2005 $26–$32
Jacob’s Creek St Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $32–$40

Reeves Point is a terrific example of modern Australian chardonnay – bright, fresh, beautifully varietal (with Padthaway’s unique melon-like flavours), full bodied (but not heavy), finely textured and with layers of complexity derived from oak fermentation and maturation. Four years’ bottle age brings out the beauty of this wine – and it’ll prosper for a few more years yet. St Hugo starred at a recent Canberra tasting, loved for its deep, rich cabernet flavours and firm but elegant structure – classic Coonawarra. Reds of this dimension need a few years show their best – good to see it being released at four years’ age.

Coldstream Hills Yarra Valley Reserve Chardonnay 2006 $50
Bream Creek Tasmania Chardonnay 2007 $22

Meet two absolutely delicious and contrasting chardonnays – the first an opulent, vivacious giant killer and top scorer in Winewise magazine’s recent international chardonnay shoot out; the second a leaner, understated, mouth-wateringly intense gem from Fred Peacock’s Bream Creek Vineyard, Marion Bay, south eastern Tasmania. Recalcitrants still in the ABC (anything but chardonnay) club stopped drinking chardonnay ten years ago – there just isn’t a sauv blanc in Australasia to match these two for quality and complexity. The Coldstream wine, made by Foster’s, is sold out officially, but a number of retailers still offer stock. Bream Creek is available at www.breamcreekvineyard.com.au

Capercaillie The Ghillie Hunter Shiraz 2007 $70
Wandin Valley Estate Bridie’s Reserve Shiraz 2007 $35

At the Winewise Small vignerons Awards recently we awarded three gold, five silver and five bronze medals in a class of 18 Hunter shirazes from the 2007 vintage. The extraordinary 72 per cent strike rate suggests rich pickings from that vintage well beyond the few wines we tasted on the day. The best probably won’t have been released yet. But it could be rewarding looking in this often-neglected corner of Australia’s wine world. These are very fine, soft wines, quite often with exceptional keeping qualities. The three gold medallists were Capercaillie The Ghillie, Wandin Valley Bridie’s Reserve and Thomas DJV – I’ll detail the release dates in a future review.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009

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