Wine review — Battle of Bosworth, Gilberts, Best’s and Xanadu

Battle of Bosworth McLaren Vale Preservative-Free Shiraz 2010 $18–20
Was it wine or grape juice we wondered as the dense, purple liquid splashed into the glass? Heady enough, after a few sips, to be wine, for sure, and a plush, pure, fruity one at that. A leg in each world we decided ¬– too fruity to be like real red but too alcoholic to be juice; perhaps something to quaff with lunch. It’s good news, too, for people sensitive or allergic to sulphur dioxide – the preservative used in wine since Roman times. Without it wines, succumb very quickly, often losing their vitality within months.  This one’s as vibrant as they come, though almost certainly it needs to be consumed early.

Gilberts Mount Barker Riesling 2009 $16–$18
Best’s Great Western Riesling 2010 $20–$22

Meet two contrasting rieslings from either side of the continent – one from Mount Barker, a little north of Albany in southern Western Australia, the other from Great Western, in south-western Victoria. While technically dry, with less than half a gram per litre of residual sugar, Gilberts tastes slightly sweet because it’s so deliciously fruity. Bev Gilbert says this makes it a winner at cellar door. It’s a style that goes particularly well with spicy food. Best’s, a year younger and just 11.5 per cent alcohol, presents riesling’s more steely-dry face. It’s a wonderful aperitif and just right to cut through slightly oily food like fish.

Xanadu Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 $35
Best’s Great Western Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 $25

Following the east-west theme, here’s a couple of exciting cabernets from Margaret River, Western Australia, and Great Western, Victoria. Xanadu shows the class and elegance we’ve come to expect from wines in the Rathbone family group (Yering Station, Mount Langi Ghiran and Parker Coonawarra Estate). It’s classic Margaret River with its complex, high-toned, cigar-box aroma and flavours, built from ripe fruit and beautifully integrated oak, and firm but elegant structure. Great Western shows a chunkier side of cabernet, with ripe blackcurrant varietal flavour and dense, chewy, very firm tannins.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010

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