Wine review — Mr Riggs, Pewsey Vale and Hewitson

Mr Riggs Adelaide Hills Yacca Vineyard Tempranillo 2007 and 2008 $22–$25
I can’t think of a better Aussie expression of this Spanish variety than Mr Riggs 2007. It offers plush, blueberry-like varietal flavour and assertive but soft tannins that give it structure and a satisfyingly dry finish. It’s made by Ben Riggs from grapes grown on the Scott Hicks and Kerry Hysen-Hicks Yacca Paddock vineyard at Kuitpo.  Kuitpo (pronounced kypo) sits at the southern end of the Adelaide Hills near its boundary with the McLaren Vale wine region.  While good, the 2008 lacks the power and harmony of the outstanding 2007. See www.mrriggs.com.au

Pewsey Vale Vineyard Eden Valley

  • Riesling 2009 $13.49–$23
  • ‘Prima’ Riesling 2009 $19–$25
  • ‘The Contours’ Riesling 2004 $25–$28

This trio, made by Louisa Rose, comes from the Hill-Smith family’s 50-hectare Pewsey Vale vineyard. The dry riesling ranks among the best I’ve seen from the vintage – an extraordinarily delicious drop being given away for as little as $13.49. ‘Prima’, harvested weeks earlier when less ripe, retains a moderate level of natural grape sugar (22.6 grams per litre) with the higher acidity to match. At just 9.5 per cent alcohol it’s a delightful warm weather pick-me-up and will probably age and drink well for decades. And the brilliant lime-green colour of ‘Contours’ sets the scene for an intense, delicate, maturing, world-class dry riesling.

Hewitson Barossa Valley Baby

  • Bush Mourvedre 2008 $28
  • Ned & Henrys Shiraz 2008 $25

Early flowering, above average spring temperatures and a two-week burst of 35-degree-plus heat in March 2008 (following a mild February), brought the Barossa vintage on three weeks earlier than normal. The conditions produced exceptional grape sugar levels, terrifying winemakers. But in the end we’re seeing some excellent wines from the vintage, including this vibrant, rich-but-subtle pair from Dean Hewitson. Baby Bush is made from a young mourvedre vineyard propagated from vines planted in 1853 – it’s a gentle but rich, spicy red cut with persistent, soft tannins. The shiraz (containing nine per cent mourvedre) is another gentle, rich drop featuring, full, earthy Barossa shiraz flavours, tempered by mourvedre spiciness and finesse.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010

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