All Saints Estate Rutherglen Marsanne 2010 $18.70–$22
The Rhone Valley white varieties seem a better bet than chardonnay for full-bodied dry whites in warm regions like Rutherglen. All Saints makes two versions – the richer, fuller, barrel fermented Family Cellar ($30) and this stainless steel fermented version featuring the variety’s bright citrus flavours. Early picking means a comparatively low alcohol content (12.2 per cent) and less of the viscous, oily texture the variety sometimes displays. The creamy texture behind the vibrant fruit comes from a brief period in barrel on the yeast sediment left by its big brother, says winemaker Nick Brown.
Moorilla Tasmania Praxis Pinot Noir 2011 $30
I visited Moorilla in late 2009 during a period of transition – reflected in the varying quality of wines on tasting, some pre-dating new winemaker Conor van der Reest’s arrival. Shortly after our visit, owner David Walsh opened his Museum of Old and New Art on the same site. And three years on, the wines reflect all the vineyard and winemaking changes van der Reest had in train in 2009. His Praxis pinot delivers a pure, intensely aromatic expression of the variety, laced with the delicious, telltale stalky character of whole-bunch fermentation. The intense fruitiness continues on a vibrant, silky palate, inviting another mouthful.
Seville Estate Yarra Valley The Barber Chardonnay 2010 $18–$20
Seville’s Barber range complements its estate-grown wines while still offering an expression of Yarra Valley flavours. The 2010 chardonnay, made from both contract and estate-grown fruit, presents pure, tingly cool-climate varietal flavours (citrus and melon rind) in a bright, refreshing drink now style. It has good mid-palate richness and texture, but the focus never moves from the zesty fruit. Made by Dylan McMahon. This is a great example of the finessing of Australian chardonnay styles over the last twenty years – growing it in the right places, capturing the varietal flavour and not overwhelming it with winemaking tricks.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 6 May 2012 in The Canberra Times