Wine review — Wicks Estate, Heemskerk, Cape Mentelle and d’Arenberg

Wicks Estate Adelaide Hills Riesling 2008 $15
Heemskerk Coal River Valley Riesling 2008 $40

Here are two contrasting and lovely rieslings from the 2008 vintage. The Wicks Estate Wine is not as austere as you’d expect from the cool Adelaide Hills. It’s invitingly aromatic, in riesling’s citrus-like way, with a soft, deliciously fruity and very fine, crisp palate. It’s a bargain at $15 cellar door – see www.wicksestate.com.au. Heemskerk, from Tasmania’s Coal River Valley, near Hobart, offers a contrasting expression of riesling – one with a bracing, steely, acidic spine that’s offset by an intensity of fruit flavour and a subtle texture.  It’s a Foster’s brand. Hopefully you’ll have more luck than I did trying to enter www.heemskerk.com.au.

Cape Mentelle Wallcliffe Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2006 $40
You’ve probably read by now that sauvignon blanc overtook chardonnay as our biggest selling white style a few months ago. It’s a great quaffer, but to me it’s one of the most boring varieties of all. However, sometimes in tandem with semillon it’s a bit more attention grabbing and satisfying. Following the Bordeaux style, Cape Mentelle, combines the two varieties, including in the blend components that’ve been fermented in French oak barrels. The resulting wine retains the pungent varietal character of sauvignon. But the semillon and oak-ferment makes the aroma and flavour more complex and adds greater texture and depth to the palate.

d’Arenberg The Stump Jump Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2007 $9–$11
d’Arenberg The Footbolt McLaren Vale Shiraz 2006 $16–$20

Wirra Wirra McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz Merlot 2007 $18–$23
By the way, don’t be surprised to see any of these big-value reds even cheaper. A big wine surplus continues to feed into the retail price brawl, dragging prices ever lower. The predominantly grenache Stump Jump’ is the lighter of the three – a vibrant but earthy and dry medium bodied red to enjoy now. ‘The Footbolt’ offers good old juicy, savoury McLaren Shiraz flavours with a full, velvet-smooth palate. The vibrant ‘Church Block’ leans towards leafy and ripe-berry cabernet flavours – the little touch of astringency making it good company for roasted and barbecued red meats.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009

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