Wynns Coonawarra Estate
Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 $19.80–$35
Wynns’ dark, crimson-rimmed favourite presents a distinctly Coonawarra side of cabernet, including black-olive and cassis-like flavours, bound up in sweet, spicy oak. It’s a buoyant, balanced cabernet – generous but elegant, with fine, firm tannins. It remains one of Australia’s best value, long-term cellaring wines. It’s probably better now than it’s ever been. As I write, Woolworths-owned Dan Murphy is offering it at $19.80 as part of six-bottle buy. At this price, it’s probably one of the best value cabernets in the world. While it drinks well now with high-protein food (this softens the tannins), it can cellar for decades under the right storage conditions.
Cumulus Wines Orange Chardonnay 2009 $30
Winemaker Debbie Lauritz used all the best chardonnay making techniques on this pleasing wine – only free-run juice, fermentation with both wild and cultured yeasts in new French oak barriques, lees stirring and partial malolactic fermentation. Free-run juice means a fine texture and intense fruit flavour. All the other bits mesh aroma, texture and flavour with that fruit. Add a couple of years’ age and we get a full-flavoured chardonnay (grapefruit and white peach varietal character), a honeyed, mature note and a vibrantly fresh, richly textured palate. It’s ready to drink now and would make good company for Christmas lobster and prawns.
Seppelt Chalambar Grampians Bendigo Shiraz 2009 $18.95–$26
Across years of corporate ownership changes, Seppelt’s Victorian reds retained their identity and quality under the long reign of winemaker Ian McKenzie then, in recent years, Emma Wood. Today’s highly polished wines contain fruit from both long-established vineyards and others planted on plum Victorian sites during the 1990s. The often-discounted Chalambar, a blend from the Grampians and Bendigo, offers vibrant, sweet, red-berry flavours with delicious, cool-climate spices and a touch of cedar-like character from maturation in French oak. The wine delivers layers of satisfying flavours and a deep, rich, smooth texture. Brilliant wine at the price.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 18 December 2011 in The Canberra Times