Wine review — Brokenwood, Majella, Ten Minutes by Tractor, Yalumba, Vinaceous and Blandy’s

Brokenwood Stanleigh Park Vineyard Semillon 2007 $45
Lower Hunter Valley, NSW

People tend to have or hate the Hunter Valley’s idiosyncratic semillon style. If, like me, you love it; or if you’ve heard of it but haven’t tried it, Brokenwood’s just-released 2007 provides the perfect opportunity. It’s travelled through the early, lemony, austere stage of its development, and at five and a half years reveals the first of the magic extras that come with bottle age. The classic, ultra-fresh lemon and lemongrass flavours remain. But bottle age has added the beginnings of richer toasty and honey characters. These fill the palate out deliciously, despite an alcohol level of just 10.5 per cent. (Available cellar door, www.brokenwood.com.au).

Majella Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 $28.75–$33
Majella Vineyard, Coonawarra, South Australia
Sensational – simply sensational. How else to describe Brian and Anthony Lynn’s latest release. They own one of Coonawarra’s great vineyards, established in 1968, and have tended it ever since – originally as suppliers to other wineries but from 1990 as winemakers, too.  Bruce Gregory makes the wine on site and in 2010 produced a particularly floral, fragrant wine to equal anything made to date from the property. The seductive violet-like aroma leads to an equally seductive, supremely elegant cabernet with layers of juicy, sweet fruit and fine tannins.

Ten Minutes by Tractor 10X Chardonnay 2011 $28–$30
Judd, McCutcheon and Wallis Vineyard, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Martin Spedding writes, “After a decade of warm and dry conditions the 2011 vintage broke the drought with over 600mm rain during the growing season versus an average of 350mm, the cool and wet conditions resulted in our latest harvest on record”.  The cooler season also produced a leaner, tighter chardonnay than usual. The aroma shows grapefruit and white peach varietal character with “struck match” notes derived from ageing on yeast lees in barrel. The richly textured palate, like the aroma leans more to citrus than stone fruit varietal flavours

Yalumba Y Series Shiraz 2010 $9.49–$15
Adelaide Plains, Barossa and Virginia, South Australia
Yalumba’s Y series wine provide high quality current drinking at realistic prices. This wine, from the very good 2010 vintage, delivers ripe, rich shiraz flavours reminiscent of dark berries. A post-ferment maceration and clever use of oak barrels helped build the soft tannins that give structure to the wine. The wide price range reflects periodic discounting by the big retailers. Made for drinking over the next year or two.

Vinaceous Divine Light Sauvignon Blanc 2012 $19–$21
Margaret River, Western Australia
Vinaceous — an export-focused venture created by wine marketer Nick Stacy and winemaker Michael Kerrigan features quirky labels and wines from several Australian regions. The pair’s fresh-from-the-vine Margaret River white delivers the lighter, herbal flavours of early picked sauvignon blanc. It’s well removed from the overt Marlborough style, but still clearly sauvignon blanc with its pungent, tangy edge. It’s a good aperitif quaffer and suited to shellfish, especially oysters.

Blandy’s Malmsey Madeira 10 Years Old $49.99
Madeira, Portugal

Madeira’s famous fortified wine ranges from dry to sweet – sercial, verdelho, bual and malmsey. It’s hard to find in Australia these days, but Woolworths’ owned Dan Murphys now imports the sweetest version, malmsey (made from the malvasia grape). Fortification with brandy arrests fermentation, leaving a considerable amount of natural grape sugar. Prolonged ageing in oak casks at varying temperatures produces the distinctive olive green colour of the rim and mellow, earthy aroma. The oak ageing also gives the wines its unique bite, cutting through the luscious sweetness.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 29 August 2012 in The Canberra Times

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