Wine review — Shingleback, d’Arenberg, Chapel Hill, Brokenwood and Voyager Estate

Shingleback Red Knot McLaren Valley Shiraz 2008 $13–$15
d’Arenberg McLaren Vale The Footbolt Shiraz 2008 $16–$20
Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz 2008 $27–$33

Yum yum yum – there’s flavour galore in these shirazes from the uber-hot McLaren Vale 2008 vintage. They share ripeness, liveliness and a regional savoury undertone. Shingleback’s Red Knot displays the brightest most primary fruit flavours; d’Arenberg’s Footbolt seems slightly earthier – though both provide straightforward, easy drinking without much complexity. Chapel Hill turns up the flavour, savouriness and complexity volume and grows in interest with each glass. It’s smooth and supple in its own robust way.

Brokenwood Beechworth Nebbiolo 2008 $22–$25
Brokenwood Beechworth Indigo Vineyard Shiraz 2008 $45–$55

If any of us still distrusts lighter coloured reds, Brokenwood Nebbiolo is the wine to dispel it. It has the alluring fragrance of Piedmont’s notoriously difficult grape and an Aussie accent in the bright, sweet kernel of fruit lurking under its taut, fine, grippy, savoury tannins. This is a very good, thoroughly enjoyable drink with a difference. The medium bodied shiraz also takes us to new territory. The firm, sinewy tannin backbone reminds me a little shiraz from France’s Hermitage region. But the aroma and flavour are all-Australian, cool-climate shiraz, reminiscent of ripe, dark berries, black pepper and a pleasing earthy note. Outstanding wine.

Voyager Estate Margaret River Shiraz 2008 $30–$34
Voyager Estate Margaret River Chardonnay 2007 $38–$42

The shiraz looked smart in a recent small line up of varied Australian shiraz styles. I’d describe it as in the robust cool-climate style – fairly full bodied but with exceptionally vibrant, spicy, plummy fruit flavours and a tight structure built on high acidity and fine tannins. It was our mutual top wine of the tasting and the only bottle to be drained completely. Voyager’s chardonnay rates among Australia’s best. Winemaker Steve James says that in the hot 2007 he picked the fruit at comparatively low sugar levels, partly accounting for the exceptional vibrancy of this luxurious barrel-fermented white.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010

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