Wine review – John Duval and Yellowtail

John Duval Plexus
Barossa Valley Marsanne Roussanne Viognier 2010 $30

Barossa vignerons face a challenge making whites to compete with popular varieties, like sauvignon blanc and chardonnay from much cooler regions. The Barossa succeeds on a limited scale with semillon, and the slightly cooler Eden Valley, to the east, makes wonderful riesling. Rather than trying to emulate cool area wines, John Duval sets out “to build structure and texture, rather than just acid crispness”. His new blend, partly matured and aged in mainly old oak, achieves that deliciously. Its pleasant, citrusy aroma leads to a soft, tasty, savoury, medium-bodied palate with a gentle texture and fresh but not acidic finish.

John Duval Plexus
Barossa Valley Shiraz Grenache Mourvedre 2009 $37–$39

Former Penfolds Grange maker, John Duval, shows his great mastery of fruit selection, winemaking and blending in this beautiful red. It’s a blend of old-vine shiraz (48 per cent) from Krondorf and Marananga, grenache (31 per cent) from old bush vines in Stockwell and Krondorf and mourvedre (21 per cent), some vines more than 100 years old, in Light Pass and Krondorf. It’s appealingly aromatic – led by the grenache – and vibrantly fruity, savoury and spicy on the palate, finishing with delicious ripe berry flavours and soft, fine tannins. It’s a wonderful, harmonious, satisfying drink – with the structure and depth to age well.

Yellow Tail  2010 vintage reds $8.55–$10

  • Pinot Noir
  • Merlot
  • Shiraz 2010
  • Cabernet Sauvignon

The Casella family’s legendary Yellow Tail took America by storm some time back, selling millions of cases there every year. It started as an adventure, using an off-the-shelf label from Barbara Harkness design, Adelaide, then succeeded beyond anyone’s maddest guess. Amazingly, the Casella’s funded the massive expansion and retained control of a business that focuses squarely on the business end of wine. The winemaking aims at capturing flawless, ripe, friendly, fruity wines on a very large scale, and succeeds – particularly with the full, soft shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. They’re decent wines at a fair price.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011

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