Henschke Julius Eden Valley Riesling 2011 $26.90–$34.80
The technical specs read more like something from the cool slopes of Germany’s Mosel than from Australia’s Eden Valley – pH2.88 and acidity of 9.4 grams per litre. A result of the cool 2011 vintage, the unusually high acidity in Julius provides a lean, taut backbone that accentuates the wine’s intense, delicate lime-like flavour. The bone-dry finish and delicious, lingering lime flavours make it a great stand-along pre-dinner drink or good company for delicate seafood. The combination of intense flavour, high acidity and delicacy means potentially long cellaring ability. It’s packaged in the Eden Valley’s new regional bottle.
Gipsie Jack Langhorne Creek “The Terrier” Shiraz Cabernet 2007 $15–$17
Winemaker John Glaetzer’s ties with Langhorne Creek (near Lake Alexandrina) stretch back to the 1960s and his days with Wolf Blass and the creation of the famous grey and black label reds. The area has been called “Australia’s middle palate” – a salute to the generous, rounded flavours of its reds wine so loved by big-company blenders. But in this collaboration between Glaetzer and Ben Potts, Langhorne’s unblended richness stands on its own – a big, warm, friendly wine with a couple of years’ bottle age. Ripe, earthy shiraz leads the flavour, but cabernet’s backbone and distinctive eucalypt notes make an appearance, too.
Barolo (Pio Cesare) 2006 $95–$100
Piedmont’s great red comes from nebbiolo vineyards in the vicinity of Barolo. Typically, it’s deceptively pale in colour and takes on an orange hue around the rim with a little bottle age. The aroma is often floral (rose-like) and voluminous. But the palate, after a cursory sweet kiss, usually attacks with firm tannins that seem completely at odds with the colour and aroma. Pio Cesare’s version ticks all the Barolo boxes (indeed, one of our masked tasters identified it instantly). There’s an elegance to it, and the strong, savoury tannins never quite overwhelm its sweet core of fruit.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 27 November 2011 in The Canberra Times