Wine review — Binbilla, Wignall and Bourke Street

Binbilla Hilltops Good Friday Shiraz 2009 $25
Binbilla is a tiny, hand-tended vineyard near Young, owned by Gerard and Bez Hines. Nick O’Leary makes the wine and describes the 2009 as a “leaner style” than the typical Hilltops shiraz. He picks the grapes comparatively early, “when the vines are healthy, before the leaves turn yellow” – thus capturing the fruit at its vibrant best, before it shrivels. The result is a fragrant, lively, bright, medium bodied shiraz with a firm, fine, silky, tannic structure. It’s wonderful to see so much innovation and excitement in Canberra’s backyard. Watch this vineyard. See www.binbillawines.com

Wignall Albany

  • Pinot Noir 2009 $31
  • Sauvignon Blanc 2010 $18.50

At only 35 degrees south and just 33 metres above sea level, Albany ought not be cool enough to make good pinot. But high humidity helps retain varietal aromatics. And, says Rob Wignall, the “Albany doctor”, whistles in from the Antarctic, dropping afternoon and nighttime temperatures dramatically, further enhancing varietal flavour. It shows in Wignall’s highly aromatic, vibrant 2009 – a deliciously fruity drop probably best enjoyed in the first five years from vintage. Likewise the 2010 sauvignon blanc delivers clear but subtle varietal flavour in a distinctive zesty but soft way. See www.wignallswine.com.au

Bourke Street Canberra District

  • Pinot Noir 2010 $21
  • Chardonnay 2010 $21

Local winemakers Alex McKay and Nick O’Leary launched their Bourke Street brand last year with a lovely Canberra District shiraz 2008. They recently added to the range pinot noir and chardonnay, sourced mainly from Bob Knight’s high-altitude, low-yielding vineyard. While on the light and elegant side, the pinot shows good varietal character and has the flavour depth and structure to be taken seriously. The chardonnay is a notch better again. It’s on the tight, lean side, but packed with delicious nectarine and grapefruit varietal flavour – barrel fermentation and maturation added subtly to the texture and complexity. Both wines are bargains.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011

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