Wine review — Tahbilk, Leo Buring, Shingleback Red Knot, Wynns Coonawarra Estate and Pipers Brook

Tahbilk Marsanne 2010 $13.00–$16.45
Nagambie Lakes, Victoria

In the me-too line up on most retail shelves, Tahbilk marsanne stands out. It’s become a signature wine style for Tahbilk and under Alister Purbrick (his great grandfather bought the already established property in 1925) the style has become finer. Marsanne, a Rhone Valley white variety, tends to be fat and slightly hard. But the long-lived Tahbilk style takes the rough edges off. The 2010 is fresh and bright, with lemon/lemon zest notes, a bone-dry, savoury palate a little tweak of tannin in the finish.

Tahbilk Marsanne 2001 $35.95–$43.00
Nagambie Lakes, Victoria

In Tahbilk’s mature marsanne we smell and taste the signature, often written about “honeysuckle” character of the variety. Like the younger version, the veteran is bone dry and savoury. But for its age, the colour’s still a vibrant, pale gold and the palate’s lively and fresh – albeit with pleasant honeyed, aged flavours, a familiar bite of tannin in the finish, and not a trace of the oiliness sometimes seen in old marsanne.

Leo Buring Riesling 2010 $19.99
Clare Valley, South Australia

Leo Buring (part of Fosters-owned Treasury Wine Estates) recently released a pair of 2010 rieslings – this dry version from the Clare Valley and a medium dry style from the cooler Eden Valley. The dry wine offers Clare’s pure, delicate, floral and citrus flavours and fresh, dry finish at a modest 11.5 per cent alcohol. It’s an attractive aperitif wine. The medium dry wine, containing about 11 grams per litre of unfermented grape sugar, works well, too. High acidity offsets the sweetness, emphasising the wine’s delicious grapiness.

Red Knot by Shingleback Shiraz 2009 $10.90–$14.99
McLaren Vale, South Australia

Brothers Kym and John Davey own and manage the100-hectare Shingleback vineyard – a big enough operation to produce outstanding regional wines across a range of price points. Their entry-level Red Knot shiraz really captures the Vale’s style. It’s a big, warm, generous wine built on ripe, varietal flavours, with earthy, savoury undertones and firm, but not hard, tannins. Because it’s balanced and harmonious, it’s not at all heavy. It’s ready to drink now.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate “The Siding” Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 $21.99
Coonawarra, South Australia

How unfortunate for Wynns that the release of this beautiful, elegant new cabernet coincided with the retail slaughter of its classic, long-lived, black-label cellar mate at around $18. We should all buy a truckload at that price, as the regular tag is around $31. The new wine focuses on drinkability now, and captures purity of varietal aroma and flavour in the most fragrant, elegant, delicious style imaginable. This is a class double act from winemaker Sue Hodder and vineyard manager Allan Jenkins.

Pipers Brook Estate Pinot Noir 2008 $41.50
Pipers Brook and West Tamar, Tasmania

This is another Tasmanian pinot to step away from mainstream aromatic, fruity styles. First impressions are of a substantial red combining deep, sweet, ripe, black cherry varietal flavour with the assertive flavour and tannins of very high quality oak. The sheer depth of fruit flavour, however, suggests the oak will ultimately be subsumed into the wine. Even now, though, with the oak so apparent, it’s a satisfying wine that invites one more sip.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011

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