Wine review — Jim Barry, Grosset, Williams Crossing, Stefano Lubiana, Curly Flat and Mitchelton

Jim Barry Watervale Riesling 2009 $14.95
Grosset Springvale Watervale Riesling 2009 $36
Grosset Polish Hill Riesling $45

Probably because it’s so subtle and delicate as a young wine, riesling can be difficult to assess. Even our best wine judges struggle, regularly ranking modestly priced wines ahead of more expense and, given a little bottle age, better wines. Even then, the quality gap can be out of proportion to the price difference. In a recent tasting, for example, we rated these three wines closely – making the lovely, limey, dry Jim Barry wine a great bargain for drinking any time in the next 20 years (the 1989 still drinks well).  Nevertheless, the Grosset wines are impressively delicate yet intense.

Williams Crossing Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2007 $24
Stefano Lubiana Tasmania Primavera Pinot Noir 2008 $33
Curly Flat Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2006 $46

Does Aussie pinot get better than this? For current drinking try Steve Lubiana’s delicious Primavera. It’s fragrant, generous, supple, elegant, pristinely varietal and ready to drink now. Williams Crossing presents more mature and savoury pinot flavours – it’s a blend of the barrels that didn’t quite make the cut for Curly Flat and, in my view, remains the best value pinot noir in Australia. It’s sensational at the price.  Curly Flat rises to another level again, a pinot of great complexity and length and built to last.

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Clare Valley Shiraz 2007 $17–$20
Mitchelton Goulburn Valley Shiraz 2007 $17–$20

Put these two shirazes side by side and enjoy the contrast. Jim Barry’s wine comes predominantly from the Lodge Hill vineyard, high up in the Clare with views across to the Petaluma and original Knappstein vineyards. It’s a powerful, but not heavy shiraz featuring ripe fruit flavours, with a note of mint, and a round, soft tannins. It’s easy to love, delivering heaps of flavour and enjoyment at a reasonable price. The Mitchelton wine, from the cooler Goulburn Valley, Victoria, is also generous, but there’s an appealing spicy, meaty, savouriness in its flavour.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009

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