Valentine’s wine review — Lambert Vineyards, Best’s, Taittenger, Main Ridge Estate, Riposte and Tim Adams

Lambert Vineyards Pinot Gris 2008 $24
Wamboin, Canberra District, New South Wales

Ruth and Steve Lambert use the French “gris” rather than Italian “grigio” and back it with a wine in the Alsacian style. The colour’s a deep yellow and fresh, pear-like varietal flavour rises above a viscous, smooth, moderately sweet and warmly alcoholic palate. The viscosity and residual grape sugar set this style apart from the crisp dryness of more mainstream varieties. The body, sweetness and a little kiss of tannin make it good company for robust food, for example grilled salmon.

Best’s Thomson Family Shiraz 2008 $150
Great Western, Grampians Region, Victoria

Why not celebrate Valentine’s day at home, enjoying home-cooked food and savouring a luxurious red. Thomson Family shiraz, sourced from vines planted in 1867, offers a profound savoury, firm expression of the variety – a wine of rare dimension for long cellaring. Its softer, more voluptuously fruity cellar mate, Bin O Shiraz 2008( $65), might be an even more-seductive-now option. It’s sourced from estate vines planted in the late nineteenth and mid twentieth century.

Taittinger Prelude Grand Crus Champagne $130

There’s a lovable elegance and creamy richness to the Taittinger Champagnes. And with the non-vintage Prelude blend comes an extra flavour dimension and pure magic that has little to do with winemaking technique. The key is grape quality – in this instance top-notch material from some of the Champagne region’s greatest vineyards, pinot noir from the Montagne de Reims and chardonnay from the Cotes des Blancs. What a lovely, gentle, elegant Valentine’s treat.

Main Ridge Estate Half Acre Pinot Noir 2009 $70
Mornington Peninsular, Victoria

Sex and wine share a sense of anticipation driven by sensual cues. And if any wine can be sexy, surely it’s pinot noir. No other variety seduces so completely – the shimmering, limpid, crimson colour; the sweet, floral, musky, earthy, savoury aroma; and the juicy, slurpy, slippery, firm-but-tender flood of liquid on our palates. Indeed, for the sufficiently temperate, there’s every hope of enjoying both in one night. Our Valentine’s choice is the demure but ultimately naked pleasure revealed in Main Ridge 2009.

Riposte The Sabre Pinot Noir 2009 $29
Adelaide Hills, South Australia

The Sabre, delivers pinot seduction at a realistic price. Like its impressive $20 cellar mate, the “Dagger” 2010, reviewed last month, it’s made by Tim Knappstein. Where the Dagger offers delicious, upfront, drink-now pinot flavour, The more tightly coiled Sabre needs time to unwind. Over time the fruity, savoury, spicy pinot flavours push through the firm but fine backbone of tannin. The Sabre won the pinot trophy at the Adelaide Hills wine show.

Tim Adams Botrytis Riesling 2010 375ml $31
Clare Valley, South Australia

This is another deeply sensuous Valentine’s wine, suited to sinfully creamy, stinky, veiny, runny cheese, perhaps mixed with honey, perhaps scooped out and slurped down with Silo bread. It’s very sweet, as the style should be. But the intense, lime-like varietal flavour and searing acidity keep it fresh, balanced and interesting for glass after glass. Tim Adams made it from late picked, very ripe, botrytis-infected riesling grapes from his Ireland’s Vineyard.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011

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