Wine review — Freeman, Henschke and Morambro Creek

Freeman Hilltops Fortuna 2009 $22–$25
Fortuna is a very smart, unusual and lovely blend sourced from five varieties grown on Dr Brian Freeman’s old vines in the Hilltops region. Freeman writes, “It is inspired by the aromatic white wines of two regions of northern Italy – Friuli and Alto Adige, a textural wine crafted from pinot gris, riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and a smidge of aleatico”. The blend works spectacularly well in the outstanding 2009 vintage. It’s highly aromatic with matching intense fruit flavour. However, it’s richly textured and savoury, too; and a firm (but gentle) bite of tannin lends and Italian touch to the finish.

Henschke

  • Barossa Keyneton Euphonium 2008 $48
  • Littlehampton Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris 2009 $34

In March 2008 an unprecedented, prolonged burst of scorching heat sent grape sugars soaring across the Barossa. Winemakers scrambled to harvest their grapes. But after initial pessimism, we’re seeing some decent wines from the vintage, including this elegant Eden and Barossa Valleys blend of shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. It’s in the deeply flavoured but elegant Henschke style, with firm, persistent tannins suggesting a medium-term cellaring. The pinot gris shows the extra fruit richness of the benign 2009 vintage and a complex textural richness derived from maturation on spent yeast cells. It’s one Australia’s leading examples of this style.

Morambro Creek

  • Padthway Shiraz 2008 $26–$28
  • Jip Jip Rocks Padthaway Shiraz 2009 $16–$18
  • Jip Jip Rocks Padthaway Shiraz Cabernet 2009 $16–18

Remember Padthaway – the huge sea of vines about an hour’s drive north of Coonawarra? Its grapes feed mainly into multi-regional blends, but over the years we’ve seen many very good regional varietals under the Lindemans, Stonehaven, Orlando Lawsons and other names. Morambro Creek is an independent operator in the region (see www.morambrocreek.com.au), making good value, generally elegant wines. In the hot 2008 vintage, the flagship shiraz seems notably fuller and more tannic than usual, still with an appealing, complex core of sweet and savoury fruit. The lower priced Jip Jip wines, from the milder 2009 vintage, show more traditional elegance and suppleness.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010

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