Wine review — Domain Day, Wallaroo, Villa Maria, Grove Estate, Voyager and Chapel Hill

Domain Day ‘g’ Garganega 2009 $20
Mount Crawford, South Australia

If you’ve enjoyed Soave, Verona’s famous dry white, then you’ve enjoyed garganega, one of Italy’s many native grape varieties. Robin Day claims his planting at Mount Crawford to be the first outside of Italy. From it he makes a full-bodied, distinctively flavoured dry white. It has some tropical fruit aromas. But there’s another delicious element – reminiscent of sweet and sour, not-quite-bitter honeydew melon, where the flesh meets the rind.

Wallaroo Riesling 2009 $16.67–$20
Hall, Australian Capital Territory

Wallaroo riesling has been a consistent medal winner at the Canberra Regional Wine Show. The gongs include gold medals for the 2002, 2007 (plus trophy) and 2008 vintages and bronzes for the 2005 and 2006. The vineyard is located on the Murrumbidgee Valley side of Hall and the wines are made by Dr Roger Harris at nearby Brindabella Hills. The 2009 is an attractively perfumed, delicate, dry style with pure, lemon-like varietal flavour.

Villa Maria Blanc 2009 $20
Marlborough, New Zealand

George Fistonich founded Villa Maria way back in 1961 and still heads it. It’s one of New Zealand’s most dynamic companies, covering most segments of the market, and making outstanding wines. It has a big presence in Hawkes Bay on the North Island with its Villa Maria and Vidal labels as well as in Marlborough. In the latter it makes notable pinot noir as well as this outstanding sauvignon blanc. It’s quintessential Marlborough with in-your-face capsicum-like varietal flavour and rich, fleshy, zingy fresh palate.

Grove Estate The Cellar Block Shiraz Viognier 2008 $38
Hilltops Region, Young, New South Wales

What a glorious red. It’s saturated with juicy, plush varietal flavours – reminiscent of ripe, dark berries – seamlessly meshed with the slipperiest, smoothest tannins imaginable. A touch of the white variety, viognier, in the blend lifts the aroma and probably accounts, in part, for the vivacity of the fruit flavours. It’s from the Grove Estate vineyard, established by the Flanders, Kirkwood and Mullany families in 1989. Made by Tim Kirk at Clonakilla, Murrumbateman.

Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $60
Margaret River, Western Australi
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It’s labelled as “cabernet sauvignon merlot”, after the two dominant varieties, but a dab of malbec and petit verdot contribute to a sensational blend – ripe and powerful, but restrained and elegant at the same time. The aroma’s not unlike a good Medoc in a ripe year; but the vibrant fruit and soft tannins give an Australian accent. It’s looking very young at five years and should provide exciting drinking for many decades if well cellared.

Chapel Hill Il Vescovo Tempranillo 2009 $20
Adelaide Hills, South Australia

There’s no winemaker artifice here, just a pure, exuberant, fruity expression of Spain’s popular red variety. It begins fragrant, fleshy and fruity ¬– like a combination of ripe blueberry and mulberry – and as you sip away the savoury tannins step in, providing an authoritative real-red-wine finish. Winemaker Michael Fragos reserves Chapel Hill’s Il Vescovo label to emerging varieties, including this wine and a very good white savagnin (initially labelled as albarino).

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010

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