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Monthly Archives: August 2010
Alinga Four Winds Vineyard Canberra District Sangiovese 2009 $19 This is one of the juiciest, loveliest Australian Sangiovese’s I’ve tasted. Jaime Lunney made it from the Yarra Yering clone of the variety, grown on her family’s Murrumbateman vineyard. It’s medium coloured and bodied and finishes with sangiovese’s typical firm, fine, savoury tannins. But it differs from most of the local versions in its buoyant, lively, earthy perfume – a characteristic that carries over to the delicious, drink-me-now palate. I know little of this clone. But they say clonal selection is vital with sangiovese. Whatever it is, there’s something very good going on here.
BrokenwoodBeechworth Pinot Gris 2010 $25 Hunter Valley ILR Reserve Semillon 2005 $32–$35
Brokenwood’s is a rich, drink-now version of pinot gris – grown in Beechworth Victoria and made in the Hunter Valley. It’s crisp and fresh, with pear-like varietal flavour, rich but fine mid-palate texture and a little grippiness in the finish – a signature of the variety. The ILR Reserve Semillon is restrained, fine expression of this classic Hunter style. How such a hot region produces such fine-boned whites, I don’t know. But at five years it’s still zingy, lemon fresh with just the first subtle notes of ageing – a little toastiness in the aroma and flavour and a little richness in the texture.
Grant Burge Barossa ValleyFilsell Shiraz 2008 $36–$40 Meshach Shiraz 2005 $145
Grant Burge owns substantial areas of vines towards the cooler southern end of the Barossa Valley in the vicinity of Williamstown. The Filsell vineyard, with vines planted in the early 1920s, is the pick of Burge’s holdings and provided the fruit for both Filsell and the company’s flagship, Meshach. Filsell shows the power and body of the hot vintage, with generous, deep, chocolaty fruit flavours ¬– coated lavishly with the Barossa’s tender, soft tannins. Despite it size and intensity, Meshach, looking young at five years, is beautifully proportioned, seductive and silky textured. It’s bound to become even finer over time, ultimately emerging as a powerful but elegant expression of the Barossa style.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010
Thanks to my old friend, Jeremy Stockman for collaborating on this feature. Jeremy is a wine show judge, wine consultant and former fine wine buyer for Vintage Cellars
WHY WE CELLAR AND CONDITIONS FOR CELLARING Chris Shanahan
There’s terrific pleasure in cellaring wine, whether for two years or twenty. It’s about savouring the lovely changes in colour, aroma, flavour, texture and structure brought about by age – a pleasure that’s amplified when you follow a dozen bottles from youth to mellow old age over several decades. It’s an entirely different concept from short-term storage for daily consumption – this requires nothing more than a living-room rack, hall cupboard or corner in the garage – somewhere not too hot.
But cellaring wine for long periods demands more controlled conditions – somewhere dark, free of vibration and odours and, most importantly, within an acceptable temperature range. Fortunately for would-be cellars this can be well outside the constant 14 degrees C often cited as ideal. Even high humidity, another sacred cow, isn’t crucial in all circumstances, especially since the advent of the screw cap.
Over the years I’ve enjoyed many superb decades-old reds and whites stored in many good but less than perfect conditions under Canberra houses, including Chateau Shanahan. Typically the temperature in these cellars varies from around 10 degrees in winter to about 20 degrees in summer. Importantly, though, the cellar temperatures move slowly, seldom by more than half a degree from day to day – meaning the wine isn’t subject to sudden large temperature changes, which can be damaging, especially to cork sealed wines.
Where the temperature fluctuates widely, a cork-sealed bottle acts like a pump: the wine expands as it heats up, often moving the cork forward a few millimetres forcing out minuscule amounts of air, or even wine. As the wine cools, it contracts, and draws in a little air. Over time this combination of oxygenation and daytime heat destroys wines. While the damaging affect is likely to be less on wine sealed with screw caps, it’s still prudent to avoid temperature spikes, and especially high temperatures.
Achieving adequate natural cellar conditions in Canberra depends on having a house with adequate space underneath, preferably away from external walls, in a south eastern corner or partly excavated into the ground or pushing back into a hillside. Before building up a collection in an area like this, though, it’s worth monitoring the temperature over the summer months. If it moves much above 20 degrees or varies markedly from day-to-night or day-to-day, mechanical cooling might be needed.
Houses built at ground level or apartments generally can’t provide natural cellaring. And in the case of apartments, space becomes a limiting factor. But cellar fridges and other temperature-controlled spaces provide very good, sometimes perfect, cellaring conditions for anything from a few dozen to a few thousand bottles. We describe examples and options elsewhere in this feature.
As the value, quality and desired cellaring period of a wine collection increases, the greater the need to provide ideal cellaring conditions. Unquestionably, wine held at a constant low temperature ages more consistently and for longer than wine stored in more variable conditions. And for cork-sealed wines, humidity matters, too.
Perhaps the greatest Australian example of controlled cellaring was the Lindeman classic wine cellar, containing hundreds of thousands of bottles. It was established in Sydney and later transferred, after a major culling, to Karadoc, near Mildura. Though commercially unviable, it demonstrated on a large scale the ageing qualities of many Australian whites and reds covering the 1950s to 1980s and the benefits of temperature and humidity control.
While we generally collect wines for our own pleasure, some collections extend beyond a single life. Some of France’s Champagne houses, for example, hold archives stretching back to the nineteenth century. Other collections have survived, accidentally, for amazing lengths of time. Read, for example, this quote from Michael Broadbent of Christie’s Auctions, London, on an 1865 Chateau Lafite Rothschild tasted in 1979: “… from Sir George Meyricks cellars… although never re-corked, had been preserved for a century by the cold and very damp conditions at Bodorgan, in Angelesy… a lovely and lively colour, still remarkably youthful… still fairly full-bodied it was amazingly good on the palate.”
From Sir George we learn that in very cold, very damp cellars, very good wines last a very long time. Longer than us, in fact. From the Champagne region we learn that even delicate sparkling wines mature gracefully for decades when cellared at a steady 10 degrees.
From Canberra’s natural cellars we learn that cellaring can be effective and fun and comparatively cheap, even with high quality wines. Aged wines we’ve enjoyed from Chateau Shanahan, include Burgundy and Bordeaux, Australian cabernet, shiraz and pinot noir and delicate, decade-old, inexpensive Clare and Eden Valley rieslings and Hunter semillons.
Successful twenty-year cellaring in these Canberra’s dry conditions also challenges conventional wisdom about the need for high humidity. Corks do dry out and become crumbly with time. But I’ve seen few corks collapse and little evidence of greater ullage (wine loss) than in humid cellars. Maybe high humidity is important in warmer cellars than we have in Canberra. And it’s probably very important for very long-term cellaring, as Sir George Meyricks’ cellar demonstrated
From the Lindeman cellar we learned, though, old reds and whites from a constantly very cool cellar seem to have an edge over those from more variable natural cellars – like the ones we tend to have in Canberra.
As a general rule, wine matures more rapidly in warmer cellars and more slowly in cooler cellars. This supports the argument for temperature control in long-term cellars of substantial value.
Louisa Rose on cellars, screw caps and maintenance
Louisa Rose, head winemaker at Yalumba in the Barossa Valley, presides over a large museum cellar of notable Australian and imported wines. She says the cellar still contains Yalumba screw-capped rieslings from the 1970s – the wines that kick started Australia’s conversion to this seal a decade ago. “They’re fantastic”, says Rose. “It’s great to open a forty year old riesling and find it’s still a little fizzy, with amazing freshness. They age normally, but seem to slow down at about 20 years then plateau, offering a mix of toast and freshness – it’s just pure bottle age without the oxidation you get with cork”. She said screw cap reds came along only in the last decade, but they’re “ageing beautifully”, too
Rose believes a steady temperature to be more important for cellaring than a lower temperature – but the steady temperature should be below 20 degrees. She says the temperature is equally important to bottles sealed with cork or screw caps. But screw caps should prove more resilient to temperature fluctuations as they won’t suffer the “double whammy of cork” – meaning that cork sealed bottles not only warm up but, unlike the better sealed screw cap wines, can draw in air when they cool down and contract.
Rose also believes that screw caps, unlike cork, don’t require humidity to maintain their seal or minimise evaporation from the bottle into the outside air. This has significant advantages for people starting cellars now comprising largely screw caps, as it’s one less variable to control.
Another advantage of screw caps, says Rose, is that they can be stored upright of lying down.
She says that long-term cellars require constant maintenance, especially for cork sealed bottles. Over time, corks can become crumbly and leak, so they need to be consumed or re-corked. For domestic cellars, consumption seems the realistic option – though Penfolds offers free re-corking clinics for its top-end wines every few years.
Rose says the Yalumba cellar isn’t temperature controlled. It’s housed in old underground concrete tanks. Encouragingly, the Barossa’s dry atmosphere parallels Canberra’s, and the temperature sits a steady 17–18 degrees. Good enough for some of the world’s best wines, it seems.
A great natural cellar — Seppelt Great Western, Victoria
Winemaker Emma Wood presides over one of Australia’s greatest natural cellars –the famous “drives” at Seppelts Great Western Winery near Ballarat, Victoria. Joseph Best first made wine there in 1868 and at about that time employed out-of-work gold miners to cut the cellars. Benno Seppelt acquired the business in 1918.
Wood says the 2.7 kilometres of drives, six to eight metres below ground level, maintain a steady16–18 degrees year round with high but variable humidity.
Today the cellars house the Seppelt reserve range of white and red sparkling wine and museum stock of red and white table and sparkling wine going back to the 1920s. Wood credits the naturally cool, humid environment with the good condition of even the very old wines. She says, however, that some corks have given up entirely and some of the bottles are completely empty.
WHAT TO CELLAR — AND 10 GOLDEN RULES Chris Shanahan and Jeremy Stockman
Like savings accounts, cellars accrue over time. Bit by bit as we add more than we subtract, the bottles grow. And because we’re withdrawing as well as depositing wine, the spectrum of styles and vintages in our cellars expands for as long as we’re active. That’s the pleasure of cellaring.
But to maximise the pleasure, we have to cellar wines with the potential to age gracefully – whether for four or five years or for many decades. We’ve therefore assembled a short list, largely of time-proven performers, but all wines we know and love personally.
We also suggest three start-up cellars in budgets $2,000, $5,000 and $20,000.
Australian cellaring wines
Red wines that won’t break the bank $15 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz $30 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon $20 d’Arenberg McLaren Vale Footbolt Shiraz $35 Majella Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon $28 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Seventy Six $28 Penfolds Bin 138 Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre $30 Seppelt Chalambar Grampians and Bendigo Shiraz $35 John Duval Plexus Barossa Valley Shiraz Grenache Mourvedre $27 Collector Marked Tree Canberra District Shiraz $28 Nick O’Leary Canberra District Shiraz
White wines that won’t break the bank $15 McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon $15 Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling $25 Crabtree Watervale Riesling $20 Leo Buring Eden Valley Riesling $18 Richmond Grove Watervale Riesling $24 Pewsey Vale Contours Eden Valley Riesling $35 Picardy Pemberton Chardonnay
Outstanding reds $100 Moss Wood Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon $175 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon $90 Majella The Malleea Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz $100 Cullen Diana Madeline Margaret River Cabernet Merlot $160 Mount Mary Quintet Yarra Valley $75 Wynns John Riddoch Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon $550 Penfolds Grange $550 Henschke Hill of Grace Eden Valley Shiraz $75 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz $100 Clonakilla Canberra Shiraz Viognier $100 Wendouree Clare Valley Shiraz Malbec $100 Giaconda Warner Vineyard Beechworth Shiraz $130 Brokenwood Graveyard Hunter Valley Shiraz $90 Jasper Hill Emily’s Paddock Heathcote Shiraz Cabernet Franc $65 Best’s Bin 0 Great Western Shiraz $60 Ulithorne Frux Frugus McLaren Vale Shiraz $40 Paradise IV Dardel Geelong Shiraz $120 Teusner Astral Series Moppa Mataro $75 Houghton Jack Mann Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon $70 Hewitson Old Garden Barossa Vale Mourvedre $160 Penfolds RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz $47 Curly Flat Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir $65 Main Ridge Half Acre Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir $110 Parker Estate Terra Rossa First Growth Coonawarra Cabernet Merlot $45 Collector Reserve Canberra Shiraz $85 Mount Langi Ghiran Grampians Shiraz $175 Glaetzer Amon-Ra Barossa Valley Shiraz $45 John Duval Entity Barossa Valley Shiraz $51 Rockford Basket Press Barossa Shiraz $50 Charles Melton Nine Popes
Outstanding whites $100 Leeuwin Art Series Margaret River Chardonnay $90 Cullen Kevin John Margaret River Chardonnay $40 Curly Flat Macedon Chardonnay $75 Bindi Quartz Macedon Chardonnay $61 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay $45 Grosset Polish Hill Clare Valley Riesling $37 Grosset Springvale Watervale Riesling $40 Peter Lehmann Reserve Wigan Riesling $30 Knappstein Ackland Vineyard Watervale Riesling $50 Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Hunter Valley Semillon
Ready made cellars
$2,000 to spend
Whites 12 Richmond Grove Watervale Riesling 12 Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 12 McWilliams Mount Pleasant Hunter Valley Semillon 6 Picardy Pemberton Chardonnay 3 Curly Flat Macedon Chardonnay
Reds 12 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 12 d’Arenberg Footbolt McLaren Vale Shiraz 3 Collector Reserve Canberra District Shiraz 3 Penfolds Bin 138 Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 6 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
3 Curly Flat Pinot Macedon Pinot Noir
$5,000 to spend
Whites 12 Richmond Grove Watervale Riesling 12 Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 3 Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 3 Peter Lehmann Wigan Reserve Eden Valley Riesling 12 McWilliams Mount Pleasant Hunter Valley Semillon 6 Picardy Pemberton Chardonnay 6 Curly Flat Macedon Chardonnay 3 Bindi Quartz Macedon Chardonnay 3 Cullens Kevin John Margaret River Chardonnay 3 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 3 Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Hunter Valley Semillon
Reds 12 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 12 d’Arenberg Footbolt McLaren Vale Shiraz 12 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 6 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 3 Curly Flat Macedon Pinot Noir 3 Main Ridge Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir 3 Clonakilla Canberra District Shiraz Viognier 3 Moss Wood Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 3 Cullens Diana Madeline Margaret River Cabernet Blend 3 Majella The Malleea Coonawarra Shiraz Cabernet 3 John Duval Entity Barossa Shiraz
$20,000 to spend
Whites 12 bottles each of: Richmond Grove Watervale Riesling Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling Leo Buring Eden Valley Riesling Crabtree Watervale Riesling Knappstein Ackland Vineyard Watervale Riesling Pewsey Vale The Contours Eden Valley Riesling Peter Lehmann Wigan Reserve Eden Valley Riesling McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Hunter Valley Semillon Picardy Pemberton Chardonnay Tyrell’s Vat 1 Hunter Valley Semillon Curly Flat Macedon Chardonnay 8 bottles of Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 6 bottles each of: Grosset Polish Hill Riesling Grosset Springvale Watervale Riesling Leeuwin Art Series Margaret River Chardonnay Cullen Kevin John Margaret River Chardonnay Bindi Quartz Macedon Chardonnay
Reds 12 bottles each of: Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon d’Arenberg McLaren Vale Footbolt Shiraz Penfolds Koonunga Hill Seventy Six Penfolds Bin 138 Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre Seppelt Chalambar Grampians and Bendigo Shiraz Collector Marked Tree Canberra District Shiraz Nick O’Leary Canberra District Shiraz 6 bottles each of: Majella Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon John Duval Plexus Barossa Valley Shiraz Grenache Mourvedre 2 bottles each of: Penfolds Grange Henschke Hill of Grace 3 bottles each of: All of the reds in the “outstanding” list above, bar Grange and Hill of Grace.
Our ten golden rules of cellaring
1. Buy wines built for cellaring. If you’re unsure seek advice.
2. It’s better to drink a wine too young than after it’s dead and gone. So, sample from your stock regularly. Enjoy the changes that come with age. Don’t let the special occasion you’re waiting for be your own wake.
3. Crook wines never get better. If you’ve got a dud, get rid of it. Send it to auction –you can put the money into something you enjoy.
4. Check your wines regularly and rink ullaged wines or ones with weepy corks first.
5. Follow your taste. Cellar only wines you like. Don’t be fooled into believing a wine you dislike now might somehow come good in the cellar. It won’t.
6. Cellar for pleasure not investment. Some people make money on wine, but it’s very, very difficult to do so.
7. Lie cork-sealed bottles down to keep the cork moist and elastic. You can store screw caps upright or lying down.
8. If you’re moving house, use sealed boxes, move the wine as as quickly as possible and avoid exposure to direct sunlight or other heat sources. Five minutes in direct sunlight on a car seat can pop a cork out.
9. Choose screw caps over cork.
10. Lock your cellar. And before long dinner parties trust your key to a parsimonious spouse or heir. Late night raids on the Chateau Lafite don’t seem such a good idea next day.
Myth Wine bottles need to be turned regularly. They don’t. They’re best left undisturbed.
PUTTING THE CHILL ON A CELLAR Chris Shanahan We can go the whole hog and install humidity and temperature controlled cool rooms or wine cabinets. But there are cheaper solutions, especially if you’re handy and have room.
If you have space available – say in a large garage or under the house – a small split system air conditioner may be your best friend. In a corner, for example, you can build a good cellar by constructing two insulated stud walls and an insulated door and installing a split system. The room doesn’t have to be very big to accommodate hundreds of racked or boxed bottles. And generally the air conditioner’s only needed to knock off the high temperatures. If the upper temperature never rises above 18–20 degrees, it’ll most likely be a good cellar – provided the space is adequately insulated to prevent big daily temperature movements.
There are other solutions. For example, I recently enjoyed a beautiful, delicate 20-year old Burgundy from a Sydney cellar, controlled by thermostats measuring air temperature inside the cellar and outside the house. When the external temperature falls below cellar temperature fans draw cool air into the cellar.
Tyson Stelzer’s book, Cellaring Wine, do-it-yourself solutions provides terrific detail for creating your own cellar. It sells for $9.95 at www.winepress.com.au
Wine rooms For seriously good, valuable wine collections, climate controlled wine rooms provide space, security and ideal long-term storage conditions. They’re not cheap; but they’re not expensive in relation to the value of wine they generally protect. And they’re certainly way cheaper than excavating an underground cellar.
Tim Webb, proprietor of Wine Cellar Designs Mitchell (phone 6262 2151), says a three metre by two metre room, 2.4-metres high, complete with racking for 1,200 bottles and a French-made Fondus climate controller, costs around about $15,000. Larger units, ten metres by ten metres, capable of holding 5,000–6,000 bottles cost $70,000–$100,000.
Tim says he imports the wall and roof components from China – they’re made of extruded polystyrene or polyethelene clad with metal on each side.
Webb sells wine racks but he says he mostly builds complete cellars. This can be racking for an existing space or as part of a climate controlled wine room. He has a Chinese factory manufacturing modular racking and also offers custom-made timber racking built in-house.
Wine Cellar Designs is also the Canberra agent for Vintec and Transtherm wine fridges.
WINE CABINETS Jeremy Stockman
Why buy a wine storage cabinet? Interviewing various owners of wine storage units and retailers of them, it became apparent that it is worth first asking what you are buying a wine fridge for?
Is it for long-term storage of fine wine? If so, the performance of the unit needs to be guaranteed and its appearance may be less important.
Where will it be located? In home or in the garage. If you intend to put your wine fridge in the dining room, living area, or on display then there are many options for finishes that do not enhance the storage capabilities but enhance the look – for example customized glass door, colours, leather and stainless steel finishes). Also, cabinets can be built into existing furniture. Be sure that it’s front vented if this is the case.
Do you need different temperature zones? Dual or multi-temperature zones are a nice feature but do you need them? If you want to store wine in ideal conditions for longer term you probably don’t need this expensive feature. But if you want a storage AND serving facility you may want a zone that keeps some wine colder. I don’t see the point personally – why not just move the wine from cabinet to fridge for a while?
How much wine do you intend to store? There are many different capacity units: from 6 bottles to over 470. You need to decide how many bottles you have to store now and consider how your wine collection may grow in the future. In my experience, many wine collectors buy more wine once they find a wine storage solution – so, buy a larger cabinet than you think you initially need. If your budget is limited, invest in a larger size wine cabinet before opting for all the bells and whistles such as extra sliding shelves and glass door.
What to look for in a wine storage cabinet
It is worth researching as you get what you pay for:
How long has the brand been around?
Where was cabinet manufactured?
What is the after-sales service like?
What guarantees do they offer? (this is really important as you may have your wine in there for many years – will the fridge last?). Will the seller be responsible for after sales service or will they pass you on to the manufacturer?
Many cheaper versions now exist but they may be fridges with a clear door only – not a proper storage facility (OK if you only want short term cooling).
How many shelves? They’re expensive: more shelves mean easier access to your wine more easily, but they reduce the number you can store. So how often do you need access to the wines (remembering that if you want one from the bottom of a stack you have to move and disturb all the other wines).
Does it have both temperature and humidity control?
Can I stand screwcaps up? You may want to stand some wines up these days as laying down was always in order to keep cork moist.
Does it cater for different bottle shapes?
Do shelves slide in and out when fully laden? Many don’t.
How much noise does it make? – especially if the unit is in a smaller living environment such as an apartment.
Where to buy Traditional high street stores now wine cabinets and the makes and models vary widely from store to store, even within the same chain. Generally it is worth asking what they can get in and how long it will take as all the stores I tried had minimal stock at the time.
These included:Harvey Norman Domayne Dan Murphy David Jones Vintage Cellars Independent stores
On line suppliers include:WineArk MacPhee’s – exclusive distributor of Eurocave BigShop.com.au The Wine Society Kitchener.com.au And of course sites like ebay
Brands Note that prices quoted quoted are indicative only and vary depending on the features taken (temperature zones, fridges, doors, etc). Smaller capacity units with higher prices reflect some of those add-ons.
Generally, delivery is extra for all units – so do ask when getting a quote.
Some suppliers offer to match others so it’s worth haggling.
TRANSTHERM AND VINTEC By far the most reputable, endorsed and available are the two brands from the same company, Vintec and Transtherm
Reports back of after-sales service are good: no questions, repair or replace if there are any issues. Their website publises various endorsements, including this one from James Halliday:
“I am totally delighted with my Vintec Wine Cabinet; it combines elegance and functionality of the highest order. Because it is surprisingly light, notwithstanding its size, it is easy to move should the need arise, and installing it is little more than plugging it into a conventional power outlet. The ability to have wines stored at two temperatures is extraordinary, allowing you to keep red wines at optimum temperatures for service throughout the summer, and – of course – white wines at a much lower temperature.”
Anecdotally the largest retailers of these seems to be Wine-ark and David Jones. The prices below are those advertised by Wine-ark (who say they will match any price offered, but most other sites advised you to enquire on price at store). The units are also offered by Canberra’s Wine Cellar Designs, Mithcell.
Transtherm Elegance 36–42 bottle cabinet $2,750 140 bottle cabinet $3,700 202 bottle cabinet $3,900 267 bottle cabinet $4,300 60 bottle cabinet $4,200 (multi zone) 65–73 bottle cabinet $3,900 90–132 bottle cabinet $6,200 (multi zone) 124–168 bottle cabinet $7,100 (multi zone) 137–173 bottle cabinet $5,600 179–229 bottle cabinet $6,300
Vintec 30 bottle cabinet $599 40 bottle cabinet $1,450 40 bottle cabinet $1,799 (multi zone) 54 bottle cabinet $1,899 (multi zone) 80 bottle cabinet $2,599 110 bottle cabinet $2,299 (dual zone) 120 bottle cabinet $2,899 155 bottle cabinet $3,199 154 bottle cabinet $3,299 (dual zone) 170 bottle cabinet $3,499
EUROCAVE EuroCave Wine Cabinets are sold exclusively by MacPhees.
They’re French made, claiming a quality of building (five centimetres thick, expanded CQI insulation (equivalent to two-metres of earth) and “stippled” aluminium interior, for better conductivity and maintaining humidity, offering the highest standard of performance and stability.
An alarm system alerts you if the humidity falls below the threshold limit of 50%, thus avoiding any possibility of damage to your corks.
Mounted on vibration free “silent” blocks – EuroCave claims to be the quietest wine cabinet on the market.
EuroCave – from MacPhees
Essentials range 92 bottle cabinet from $2,750 183 bottle cabinet from $3,595 235 bottle cabinet from $3,825
Classic range 92 bottle cabinet from $3,200 183 bottle cabinet from $4,655 235 bottle cabinet from $5,185 Compact/Integrated range 38¬–56 bottle cabinet from $3,495 70–106 bottle cabinet from $4,150 118–167 bottle cabinet from $5,750
Professional From $6,500
CARA Available from BigShop.com.au – 12-montt guarantee on fridge but not insurance for stock.
6 bottle cabinet $130 10 bottle cabinet $140 28 bottle cabinet $220 48 bottle dual zone cabinet $450 72 bottle cabinet $450
CYBERCOOL Available from DeluxeProducts.com.au. Little known about the performance but the prices, as expected, are cheap.
12 bottle cabinet $175 18 bottle cabinet $215 32 bottle cabinet $263 48 bottle cabinet $449 (dual temperature zone) 72 bottle cabinet $449 420 bottle cabinet $1,699
KITCHENER (CT & PELTIER) KITCHENER.com.au. Melbourne kitchen cabinet makers since 1988 Make a range of cabinets:
CT Series Temperature (6–18C) and humidity controlled, glass door units. Some can be built into furniture, some are free standing for larger bulk storage.
Guarantee of quality associated with Kitchener Wine Cabinets – whatever that means!
36 bottle cabinet $1,150 100 bottle cabinet $2,095 126 bottle cabinet $1,850 142 bottle cabinet $1,750 182 bottle cabinet $2,150 204 bottle cabinet $1,995
Peltier These units use long-life, no vibration Peltier cooling. The thermoelectric device is a ceramic plate that becomes cold on one side and hot on the other when low voltage electricity is applied. Using this device means there are no moving parts in the cooling system. The only moving part is a fan revolving on a vertical spindle, with a heavy-duty, slow-speed, long-life motor with negligible impact on the cabinet. Kitchener claims this guarantees no vibration.
252 bottle cabinet $3,050 284 bottle cabinet $3,400 430 bottle cabinet $4,950
WineVac Kitchener also make WineVac cabinets: wine storage with “wine by the glass” preservation. The patented WineVac system inside (on the top shelf for easy access) helps preserve an opened bottle for up to 10 days, according to the manufacturer. It is a vacuum system which automatically takes out a precise volume of air.
32 bottle cabinet $1,800 96 bottle cabinet $2,450
LIEBHERR Fridge makers since 1949, expanded into wine cabinets in the 1980s. Good name internationally (German based). Its features include:precise temperature, electronic thermostats, heaters, fans and temperature selection from 5C to 20C. 50%–80% humidity air quality: they contain an activated charcoal filter and natural untreated wood shelves which ensure perfect air quality and reduce the instance of mould growth vibration free – compressors are mounted on “isolation blocks” designed to absorb vibrations 90-day money-back guarantee
Range includes Grand Cru (entry level, electronic control) and ¬ (temperature zones)
GrandCru 108 bottle cabinet (WK2977) 162 bottle cabinet (WKes4177) 173 bottle cabinet (WTes4177) 187 bottle cabinet (WK4677) 312 bottle cabinet (WK6476)
Vinidor 38 bottle cabinet (WTUes 1653) dual zone 64 bottle cabinet (WTEes 2053) dual zone 143 bottle cabinet (WTes 4677) multi zone I could not find a price on these cabinets, but some websites did have them available.
Wine-ark Claims to be one of the largest retailers of wine cellar cabinets in Australia, with over 10 years providing climate-controlled wine-storage solutions around Australia. They say they “will beat any other advertised price on any of the cabinets in the Vintec and Transtherm range”.
The Wine Society Owned by its members, has been around for many years. The society sells Vintec cabinets at special member-only prices, but most prices not shown. Two that are shown:
Vintec 40 bottle cabinet $1,450 (same as Wine-ark) 160 bottle cabinet $3,100 (wine-ark advertises a 155-bottle unit for $3,199).
Others Prices are not advertised at other retailers. They all advise you to call into your local store and get a quote on the model you are looking for. These include Harvey Norman, Vintage Cellars, Dan Murphy and David Jones.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan and Jeremy Stockman 2010
Alinga Four Winds Vineyard Canberra District Riesling 2010 $17 Murrumbateman, New South Wales Alinga’s very much a family affair, based at the Four Winds Vineyard, Murrumbateman. Graeme and Suzanne Lunney planted the first vines in 1998 and their children, Tom, Sarah and Jaime later joined the business. Following Tom’s death early this year, Sarah’s husband John Collingwood took over the vineyard management. Alinga 2010 riesling is an appealing, gentle style – delightfully aromatic, with a delicate, juicy, soft palate and a good burst of acid giving backbone and crispness to the dry finish. It’ll probably be at its best over the next two or three years.
Grosset Polish Hill River Riesling 2010 $47 Clare Valley, South Australia Jeffrey Grosset doesn’t enter wine shows. Indeed, were he to show his young rieslings, they’d likely be overlooked for more forward, juicy drops like the lovely Alinga above. But behind the shy aroma of this 2010, from Clare’s cool Polish Hill River sub-region, lies an intense, citrusy palate of rare dimension, building with each sip and finishing very long and bone dry. It’s like an essence of riesling. And we know from past experience that the aroma and palate will build in complexity and interest with bottle age.
Cofield Vermentino 2010 $20 King Valley, Victoria Winemaker Damien Cofield writes that he discovered this Italian variety in French Corsica, “It was a bit like sav blanc but with more palate weight and viscosity, which made it go beautifully with the seafood we were eating”. Back in Rutherglen this year he trucked a small parcel in from the King Valley, with pleasing results – in an Italian way: it’s wine-like rather than overtly fruity, with a rich texture, pear-like aftertaste and dry, savoury finish.
TarraWarra K-Block Merlot 2008 $35 Yarra Valley, Victoria In “Sideways” Miles loathed merr-low – gagging, perhaps, on the thought of sweet, mawkish red wine – a perception shared for a time in Australia. But one sip of TarraWarra dispels the mawkish merlot myth – as it sucks the water from your eyes. It’s made from an Italian clone with tiny berries, each bearing a truckload of tannin, deep purple colour and a core of delicious fruit flavour, reminiscent of black olives. It’s a powerful and distinctive wine needing time in the cellar or high-protein food to tame the tannins.
Walnut Tree Pinot Noir 2008 $32 Marlborough, New Zealand This impressive pinot comes from Clyde and Nigel Sowman’s Walnut Block vineyard in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley. The aroma and flavour reveal both the fruity and savoury characters of pinot, with deep, ripe flavours, woven in with persistent, fine tannins and an acidity that accentuates the fruit and adds to the structure. The usual ingredients accounts for its success: cool climate, low yields, gentle winemaking and maturation in high quality, sympathetic oak.
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 $19–$34 Coonawarra, South Australia The release of the new-vintage Black Label coincides with today’s feature on cellaring. That’s appropriate because it’s hard to think of an Australian cellaring red with such a reliable cellaring history. At a tasting of all the Wynns cabernets in 2004, almost every wine, stretching back to the original 1954 vintage, still drank well. The 2008 is cast in the same mould, albeit more solid than recent vintages. It’s densely coloured, intensely varietal, with a touch of Coonawarra “mint”, and firmly structured. The big retailers occasionally slaughter the price, hence the wide price range.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010
Murray’s Dark Knight Porter Style 330ml $4.50 Murray’s delicious take on the porter style includes a vein of hops – starting with a herbal, resiny note hovering over the malty aroma, then combining with the bitter black-chocolate flavours of the malt and finally freshening up the finish. The mid-palate’s generous, packed with toffee-like and chocolaty flavours
Brouwerij de Ranke XX Bitter 330ml $8.50 What do we learn from XX? Primarily that this Dutch brewer adopts a take-no-prisoners approach to “bitter”. It’s a pale coloured ale and the aroma’s delicately, aromatically hoppy. But the 6.2 per cent alcohol palate screams for attention – the full, delicious malt flavour seduces momentarily before a monumental hops bitterness takes over.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010
With today’s focus on alcohol and health, there’s sweet irony in the history of Coopers Brewery. Its founder, Thomas Cooper, first brewed beer in the family bathtub, urged to do so by an ailing Yorkshire-born wife, convinced of beer’s health benefits. She died.
But not because of the beer, said Dr Tim Cooper on a visit to Canberra last week. His ancestor remarried, fathered 19 children in the two marriages, and in 1862 moved from the bathtub to a proper brewery, perhaps so the kids could bathe.
A Methodist, convinced of the evil of spirits, wine and pubs, Thomas Cooper built his business on door-to-door sales. Only in 1905 did a descendent embrace the devil, and Coopers has been in pubs ever since.
But as the business faltered in the 1970s young Cooper opted for a career in medicine. In the mid eighties, practicing in the UK and seven years into cardiology studies, he felt the call of the family business – motivated partly by a belief in beer’s health giving qualities. So, it was off to Birmingham University to study brewing.
Cooper joined the family company in Adelaide as brewer in 1990, continuing to practice medicine on weekends. In 2001 Coopers moved from its original site to a new $40 million facility at Regency Park. Since then the company has fought off a hostile bid from Lion Nathan, invested another $70 million in production facilities and boosted production from 27 to 62 million litres – lifting its share of the Australian beer market from to 3.6 per cent, from one per cent. Dr Cooper still advocates the health benefits of moderate beer consumption.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010
Brand’s Laira Coonawarra Stentiford’s Old Vine Shiraz 2006 $67–$75 We’ll kick off today’s Coonawarra theme with this beautiful, elegant shiraz sourced from some of the region’s oldest vines. When John Riddoch opened Coonawarra’s first winery in 1896, retired sea captain Stentiford, sold Riddoch shiraz grapes from his Laira vineyard, named after his old ship, and probably planted in 1893. The vineyard now belongs to McWilliams (and before that Eric Brand and family) and in good years produces up to 500 dozen bottles. In the outstanding 2006 vintage winemaker Peter Weinberg captures the deep, sweet elegant flavours produced by the old vines, woven with taut tannins and sympathetic, spicy oak.
Wynns Coonawarra Estate $13–$19Riesling 2010 Chardonnay 2010
Riesling once occupied plum terra rossa soil in Wynn’s Coonawarra vineyards but it’s been paired back now, in favour of cabernet, leaving a respectable 70-hectares, much of it off the terra rossa. Because 2010 was a warm vintage, the new release is slightly fuller and softer than the 2009. But it’s still in the lemony, crisp, bone-dry style. While about 50 per cent of the chardonnay blend is still barrel fermented and matured, in older oak, modern Wynns simply screams with vibrant, melon-like varietal flavour. The oak treatment simply adds to the texture and complexity without inserting overt woody flavours.
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 2009 $10–$22 The big retailers regularly use strong brands, like Wynns, to drive trade, hence the wide variation in retail price. Wynns Shiraz offers good value at $22, but if Dan Murphy and 1st Choice (Woolworths and Coles respectively) mete out the same treatment to the 2009 vintage they did to the 2008, then join the rush when the price hits $10. It’ll drive other retailers, and Wynns crazy. But don’t miss out. The 2009 stands out for its pure, intense, spicy varietal flavour and plush, but fine, velvety texture. Wines of this pedigree are rare at the price. Buy up.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010
McWilliams recently released the 2006 vintage of a distinguished, if little known red wine – Brands Laira Stentiford’s Old Vine Coonawarra Shiraz. The wine’s story stretches back more than a century, involves some of Coonawarra’s oldest vines and provides unique drinking at $75 a bottle – a modest price for a scarce wine of such individuality.
It comes from a surviving 1.65-hectare patch of vines tended by retired sea captain Stentiford during Coonawarra’s first decade as a wine-producing region.
In an interview some years back Diana Clayfield, Stentiford’s great grand daughter, said the captain’s records show that he rented the land for a time before purchasing it in 1896, naming it “Laira” after his square-rigged ship.
The records, however, say nothing about why a retired seaman from England chose to settle in out-of-the-way Coonawarra. Diana said she still wondered why he did such a thing.
We know that he extended the vineyard to 28-hectares, but not when the original vines went in. However, winemaker Peter Weinberg says the vineyard’s first recorded sale of grapes to John Riddoch was in 1896 – suggesting a likely planting date of 1893.
Most of the vines are long gone. But the 1.65-hectare remnant of Stentiford’s vines survived all the difficult years to be cherished now by the present owners, McWilliams, and a small but appreciative group of wine drinkers.
Across the years the vines almost certainly contributed to some of Coonawarra’s legendary reds. And almost certainly, from the 1890s and for the first two thirds of the twentieth century, grapes from the vines were simply sold to other winemakers under the successive ownership of Stentiford, Tom Ahrens and Eric Brand.
I’m not sure of the exact date, but Eric, a baker, bought the vineyard from Ahrens, along with other orchard and vineyard land from Bill Redman, after marrying Nancy Redman and moving to Coonawarra in about 1950.
According to James Halliday, only a little over two of the 24 hectares originally purchased by Brand was under vine, the remainder being orchard and, until 1966, Eric remained a grape grower, not a winemaker.
In another interview some years back Eric’s son, Jim, recalled that in the family’s first vintage, 1966, about half of the shiraz came from the old Stentiford plantings. Of this wine, James Halliday wrote in 1985, “Anyone who has the 1966 or 1968 wines in the cellar will readily understand just why this variety was able to carry the reputation of Coonawarra for more than fifty years”.
Grapes from the old vines continued to be joined with those from new plantings on the “Laira” vineyard until 1981, when the Brands decided to make and bottle wine from the Stentiford vines separately.
The Brands repeated the practice in 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1990, the year McWilliams took a half stake in the business. Under the new co-ownership, “Original Vines Shiraz”, as it was called, appeared again in 1991. And after McWilliams full take over in 1994, the wine was made in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000. And since then, says current winemaker Peter Weinberg, “in particularly exceptional vintages”.
And just where is this ancient vineyard? Look at a map of Coonawarra. You’ll see Brand’s Laira Vineyard sitting in the middle of a particularly distinguished sector: adjacent and to the north its neighbours are Redmans and Lindemans St George Vineyards; to the west is a Treasury Wine Estate’s vineyard, source of material for the sublime Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet; and to south the Zema Estate and Lindemans Limestone Ridge Vineyards.
These are some of the earliest-planted sites in Coonawarra. And, as long time Coonawarra wine maker, Greg Clayfield (brother in law of Diana) quipped, “they didn’t plant the worst land first.” To this, Bruce Redman added, “It [the Stentiford vineyard] is on some of the best terra rossa soil in Coonawarra”.
The vines were originally planted in rows seven feet apart and independently staked. Prior to the Brand family’s arrival, every second row had been removed — increasing the row spacing to fourteen feet – and the vines had been trained to a single-wire trellis.
Later, about half the vines were converted to a double trellis to open the leaf canopy. This resulted in slightly higher yields of better quality fruit. Even so, the average yield is low and Peter Weinberg says total production reaches no more than 500 dozen in a good year.
The vines are hand-pruned, hand harvested and the fruit processed in five tonne fermenters before maturation in new French oak barrels of varying sizes for about 22 months.
The resulting wine is a finely crafted expression of a distinguished Coonawarra vineyard, featuring rich but elegant Coonawarra berry flavours with a special sweet lift in the aroma and an exquisite delicacy and tenderness on the palate.
While some of the early vintages tended to mask the superb fruit with a too much extract or oak, it could always be glimpsed. But over the last decade the winemakers finessed the style. The process now extracts less colour and tannin, the wine spends less time in oak, and the oak is finer and beautifully in tune with the delicate fruit. The just-released 2006 is simply stunning – and it’s barely begun its long journey. The sweet fruit is there, peeking through the fine tannins and elegant, taut structure.
It’s one of those rare wines that stop you in your tracks – especially when you know the story, good husbandry and luck behind the venerable old vines that produced it. Its retail price of $75 is just $10 a bottle above the asking price ten years ago – indicating limited appreciation of how good it is.
But its gold medal at last year’s National Wine Show of Australia and little bit more song and dance from McWilliams surrounding this year’s release may change that.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010
Crittenden Estate Los Hermanos Tributo a Galicia 2009 $27–$30 Symphonia Vineyard King Valley, Victoria In early 2009 Australian growers learned that their prized plantings of the Spanish white, albarino, were, in fact, traminer, also known as savagnin blanc. There’d been a gigantic stuff up in Spain decades back and, as a result, the CSIRO imported a woolly pup. Crittenden took the shock graciously, pushing ahead with savagnin and renaming the wine in honour of albarino’s home, Galicia. The partially barrel-fermented wine offers delicious, rich, peachy flavours and a bone-dry, fresh, savoury finish.
Coldstream Hills Chardonnay 2009 $23–$29 Yarra Valley, Victoria Coldstream Hills has the intensity of fruit flavour and searing acid backbone to match its quite assertive barrel-ferment character. This declares itself in the aroma with a distinctive bacon-rind character hovering over the fruit. The palate springs to life with juicy flavours reminiscent of nectarine spiked with lemon and grapefruit – sweet but also lively and refreshingly acidic at the same time. The barrel-ferment element adorns the lively fruit flavours and adds richness to the texture. Coldstream is a distinguished member of Foster’s recently renamed Treasury Wine Estates.
Crittenden Estate Los Hermanos Tempranillo 2009 $27–$30 Patterson Lakes and King Valley, Victoria This is an appealing, pure expression of Spain’s tempranillo grape, unburdened by obvious oak – but benefiting from ten months maturation in old barrels. Aromas and flavours of ripe summer berries peek through a pervasive savouriness and spiciness, setting it apart from other red varieties. And on the palate, fresh acidity boosts the fruit flavour, while firm, drying tannins give a farewell tweak. Clearly tempranillo adapts well to Australian conditions – and winemaker Rollo Crittenden’s all over it.
Dutschke Cab Mac Shiraz 2010 $20 Lyndoch, Barossa Valley, South Australia In the early and mid eighties a boom in Beaujolais imports, prompted development of many Australian lookalikes, notably the late Stephen Hickinbotham’s Cab Mac – a name play on the French “maceration carbonique” winemaking technique. In this wine, Wayne Dutschke applies the technique (see www.dutschkewines.com for details) to shiraz from old Barossa vines with mouth-watering results. The aroma’s pure, ripe and fragrant and the palate opulent, juicy, slurpy and soft. Dutschke played a part in the original Cab Mac and salutes it by resurrecting the original label.
Majella The Musician Cabernet Shiraz 2009 $17 Coonawarra, South Australia There’s great excitement in Australian regional wine specialties – glimpsed in today’s diverse selections. Majella’s contribution couldn’t be anything but Coonawarra in its high-toned aroma, sweet, ripe berry flavours and elegant structure. Cabernet, the area’s signature variety, makes up 60 per cent of the blend. It leads the aroma and accounts for the tight structure; and shiraz gently fleshes out the mid palate. It remains one of the best value reds in Australia. It’s sourced entirely from Majella Vineyard, owned by brothers Brian “Prof” Lynn and Anthony Lynn, and the wine’s made on site by Bruce Gregory.
Houghton Gladstones Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $70 Margaret River, Western Australia This is about as good as cabernet gets. I’d happily slip it in a masked tasting of top-end Bordeaux reds – including the likes of $1,300-a-bottle Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2005 – and expect an expert panel to see them as peers. At five years’ age, Gladstones, named for visionary viticulturist, Dr John Gladstones, still has the bright crimson colour of youth. It has profoundly, deep, sweet varietal fruit flavour beautifully integrated with superb oak – and the fine, firm structure of great cabernet. It should age well for decades and, from a global perspective, delivers huge value.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010
There they were at last, side by side on the tasting bench – two beers for the cellar, both made in single batches each year and released in winter; one aimed at beer enthusiasts, and affordable at $20 a 375ml 6-pack; the other seemingly aimed at the hospitality PR machine first, then well-healed collectors, and finally, perhaps, very curious beer enthusiasts prepared to pay $90 a 750ml bottle.
One’s ale, the other’s lager. Both are bottle conditioned. Both are high in alcohol – Cooper’s Extra Strong Vintage Ale 2010 weighing in at 7.5 per cent, about half as strong again as a normal full-strength beer; Crown Ambassador Reserve Lager 2010 hitting a strapping 10.2 per cent – way up there with Belgium’s specialty ales.
Both share a deep-amber colour, the Cooper’s a tad darker, with a mahogany tone. But from there on, each spins off in its own orbit. Cooper’s heading down the banana-fruity end of the ale spectrum; Crown Ambassador where lager seldom treads, but initially defined by distinctive, pungent hops aroma boosted by alcohol.
They’re both complex, substantial beers brewed with bottle ageing in mind. We know Coopers ages well as it’s been around since 1998. Crown looks the goods, but we’ll hold judgement until we see a few oldies.
Cooper’s Extra Strong Vintage Ale 2010 375ml 6-pack $20 Specification – Australian malted barley. Hops: New Zealand Nelson Sauvin, German Magnum and Perle bittering, English Styrian Golding aroma hops. Initial aroma impact is of sweet, banana-like esters. But under that lies a pleasing hoppy note and sweet malt. The opulent, malty palate is cut with spicy hop flavours and a lingering bitterness balancing the malt sweetness.
Crown Ambassador Reserve Lager 2010 750ml $90 Specification – Malt unstated. Hops: fresh picked Galaxy hops from Myrtleford, Victoria. A portion of 2009 vintage, oak-matured for 12 months, added to the brew. Pungent, spicy hops dominates the aroma and persists through the powerful palate — of rich malt, heady alcohol, complex, dried-fruit flavour, and a bite of tannin from the oak.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010
Hungerford Hill TumbarumbaPinot Noir 2009 $27–$30 Chardonnay 2009 $27–$30
Southcorp Wines merged with Rosemount Estate in 2001 and in 2002 sold its Hungerford Hill Brand to the Kirby Family. Michael Hatcher now makes the wines, including these two from Tumbarumba, in the company’s winery at Pokolbin, Hunter Valley. The chardonnay’s intense, cool-climate nectarine-like varietal flavour melds seamlessly with barrel-derived characters; brisk acidity adds structure and freshness – adding up to a vivacious, complex white. Tumbarumba’s pinots tend to be on the lighter side and fine boned, but with good varietal flavour depth. Hungerford Hill 2009 throws in a pleasing tight but fine tannin structure and savoury note or two.
Amungula Creek Canberra District Pinot Noir 2008 $16 Amungula is the second label of Brian Schmidt’s 1.1 hectare, Maipenrai Vineyard on the Yass River Valley. At 760 metres it’s one of Canberra’s highest vineyards (they vary from about 550 metres to 860 metres). Maipenrai’s planted entirely to six clones of pinot noir, managed to yield a miserly 2.5 to 4.0 tonnes a hectare. Schmidt writes that he’ll release the flagship Maipenrai 2008 next year – all three barrels of it. Meanwhile there’s about six barrels of Amungula. It reveals a spectrum of pinot aromas and flavours – from a touch of stalkiness to ripe berries. Despite the light colour, it has a good depth of flavour and the silky but firm structure of good pinot.
Houghton Wisdom Frankland River Shiraz 2008 $26–$32 Frankland River has a unique niche in Australia’s wide and impressive spectrum of shiraz styles. And it’s expressed clearly in this very good wine from Houghton, part of Constellation Wines Australia. At the heart of the wine is beautifully fragrant, ripe, juicy berry flavours (like mulberry and blueberry). As the wine breathes, the ripe berry aromas, tinted with lovely oak, become more apparent. On the medium-bodied palate, though, the berry flavours become a core of sweetness, tightly wrapped in firm, savoury tannins. That savouriness and grip, in combination with the underlying teasing, juicy fruit, sets the style apart from other Australian shirazes.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010