Wine review — Curly Flat, Heartland and Leconfield

Curly Flat Macedon Ranges Pinot Gris 2010 $26–$29
Phillip and Jeni Moraghan’s pinot gris sits right at the top of the pile in Australia – a pile comprising largely insipid wines, labelled as either “pinot gris” or “pinot grigio”. But grown in a cool region, like Victoria’s Macedon Ranges, and handled properly, the variety can make delicious, richly textured wines, sometimes with a grey or pink tint. Curly Flat, though, is a pale, bright lemon-gold colour with seductive pear, spice and musk aroma. The pear and spice follow through on a savoury, richly textured palate with its satisfying little tannin bite as it slips down.

Heartland Langhorne Creek-Limestone Coast Shiraz 2009 $18–$20, Director’s Cut Shiraz 2009 $28–$33
Heartland, a joint venture by several long-term wine industry people, including winemaker Ben Glaetzer, focused originally on the export market. But economic turbulence, and no doubt the strong dollar, means we’re seeing more Heartland wines at home. They offer terrific value. Both shirazes come from Langhorne Creek (near Lake Alexandrina) and the Limestone Coast, a little further south. The medium bodied shiraz packs in oodles of bright, ripe, varietal fruit flavours with a layer of oak and quite firm tannins. Director’s Cut moves up a notch with deeper, more savoury, fruit flavours and greater flavour length – a good cellaring wine.

Leconfield Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 $25–$33.50
Septuagenarian Syd Hamilton came out of retirement in the mid 1970s, bought land in Coonawarra, established a vineyard and built the elegant Leconfield Winery from Mount Gambier limestone. Hamilton, a 1930’s pioneer of refrigerated fermentation for white wines, proved a adept at red winemaking, too, making classics like the long-lived Leconfield Cabernet 1980 (“hand picked by experienced girls”, read the label). He eventually sold to his nephew Richard Hamilton and today the wines are made by Paul Gordon. Under Gordon the wines seem to have become riper and fuller, like this generous but still elegant and clearly varietal 2009.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011

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