Tim Gramp Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 $21
Gramp Vineyard, Watervale, Clare Valley, South Australia
I’m not sure how a wine this good at this price makes commercial sense. By my reckoning Tim Gramp’s yield of just .076 tonnes to the hectare implies production of just 57 dozen bottles from a hectare of vineyard. But let’s not argue. This is a brilliant, distinctive, drink-now (or over the next five years) cabernet. Fruit aroma pours from the glass – pure and sweet with varietal red berry, mint and herbal notes. These are reflected, too, on the terrifically lively, elegant palate, but coated in juicy, soft tannins, courtesy, says Gramp, of gentle basket pressing.
Grosset Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2011 $32
Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Cross-regional blending is alive and well in Australia – and makes perfect sense when you try Jeff Grosset’s latest release. It combines semillon from the warmer Clare Valley with sauvignon blanc from the higher, cooler, more southerly Adelaide Hills (both on the Mount Lofty Ranges). Semillon tempers the in-your-face fruitiness of sauvignon, adding body and depth to the palate. The focus remains on shimmering, fresh fruit, but more in the lemon-citrus spectrum, with brisk acidity.
Madfish Sideways Chardonnay 2010 $16.70–$22
Yallingup and Karridale, Margaret River, Western Australia
Madfish, part of Jeff and Amy Burch’s Howard Park operation, presents amazingly good regional wines at fair prices. Their pure, vibrant chardonnay is loaded with white peach and melon-rind varietal flavour, backed by the rich texture and subtle complexity added by fermentation and maturation in older oak barrels. While richly flavoured the wine skips lightly over the palate. Amy Burch says she sourced the fruit from Margaret River’s Yallingup and Karridale sub-regions
Maximus Premium GSM Cadenzia 2009 $24.99
McLaren Vale, South Australia
Roland and Shelley Short bought their McLaren Vale vineyard only recently. With the help of winemaker Tim Geddes and a few extra parcels of local grapes, they made this gold-medal-winning blend of grenache (50 per cent), shiraz (35 per cent) and mourvedre (15 per cent). It works particularly well as none of the components dominates. While the sometimes musk-like grenache boosts the aroma, it’s from start to finish a deep, earthy, savoury red with a fleshy, juicy mid-palate countering the abundant tannins. It’s available at Canberra Cellars and www.maximuswinesaustralia.com.au
Turkey Flat Grenache 2009 $25
Turkey Flat Vineyard, Tanunda, Barossa Valley, South Australia
The Maximus wine reviewed today showcases grenache harmonising with shiraz and mourvedre. In Turkey Flat, grenache sings solo – hitting the musk and floral aromatic high notes of the vintage. On the palate, a piquant spiciness cuts through the sweet, fleshy fruitiness, with soft tannins completing the red wine tune. Turkey Flat owners Pete and Christie Schulz say they make the wines from low-yielding 90 year-old vines, pruned into a goblet shape. Have a look at them next time you’re in the Barossa.
Yering Station Pinot Noir 2010 $31.35–$38
Upper and lower Yarra Valley, Victoria
Yering Station was planted to vines in 1838 by the Ryrie brothers, a branch of the family that set up first at Braidwood and Michelago. Today it’s part of the Rathbone Wine Group, alongside Mount Langi Ghiran Grampians, Parker Coonawarra Estate and Xanadu Margaret River. Yering Station 2010’s red-berry, savoury, subtly stalky varietal flavours underpin a lively, elegant pinot. It grows more interesting with every mouthful – a medium bodied, elegant wine with a fine but firm structure. It should evolve very well over time in the cellar.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 14 September 2011 in The Canberra Times