Wine review — Mount Langi Ghiran, Dominique Portet, Seppelt, Vasse Felix, Atlas and Redbank

Mount Langi Ghiran Cliff Edge Shiraz 2008 $22.79–$30
Mount Langi Ghiran Vineyard, Grampians, Victoria
For the first time Mount Langi Ghiran’s popular Cliff Edge shiraz comes entirely from estate-grown fruit, some of it from the estate’s oldest vines. It’s about as sexy as shiraz gets at the price – beautifully, sweetly aromatic with a vibrant, fruity palate to match. A spicy, savoury flavour undercurrent and silky tannins make it the complete red for early drinking – though the flavour intensity and layers of tannin mean good short to medium-term cellaring.

Dominique Portet Pinot Noir 2010 $42
Leongatha South, Gippsland, Victoria
Leongatha South, to the south east of Melbourne, produces at times dazzling pinot noirs, exemplified by those made at Bass Phillip by Phillip Jones. Dominique Portet captures some of the region’s magic with this lovely, lighter-bodied pinot noir. It’s highly aromatic, expressing the cooler, stalky end of the varietal spectrum. This character comes through, too, on a delicious, silky palate that grows in interest with every sip until, all too quickly, the bottle’s gone.

Seppelt Drumborg Riesling 2011 $27–$35
Drumborg Vineyard, Henty, Victoria
In 1964, well ahead of Australia’s table wine boom, Karl Seppelt planted grapes at Drumborg, southern Victoria, first landfall north of Antarctica. The cool site struggled for decades but ultimately produced outstanding grapes and elegant, potentially long-lived table and sparkling wines. In the very cool 2011 vintage, the vineyard produced this extraordinary riesling with intense but delicate lime-like varietal character and lean taut structure (pH2.88 and acidity of 9.6 grams per litre, for the technically minded). It’s a wine destined for greatness over time and worth considering if you’re after a wine to cellar for a special event decades in the future.

Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 $30–$40
Margaret River, Western Australia
Virginia Wilcock’s outstanding red combines cabernet sauvignon (88 per cent) with 11 per cent malbec and one per cent merlot. There’s a violet-like floral lift to an aroma that includes varietal blackcurrant and a sweet, cedary character from the French oak. All these flavours flow through to the elegant palate, which, despite its supple smoothness and fleshy, fruity, core, finishes with the fine, lingering bite of the variety. It’s easy to drink now but has the intensity and structure to cellar well.

Atlas Riesling 2011 $25
Watervale, Clare Valley, South Australia
Winemaker Adam Barton sources grapes from sites he favours in the Clare and Barossa Valleys – in this instance from “a single patch of old, dry-grown riesling, situated on sheltered east-facing slope”. Hand picking, de-stemming and low juice extraction rates produce a delicate riesling with lime-like varietal aroma and flavour and pleasant minerally touch. The palate’s delicate, fine and dry and likely to reveal more over the coming years. This is a brand to watch. See www.atlaswines.com.au for purchasing details.

Redbank Garganega 2010 $25
Myrrhee Ridge Vineyard, King Valley, Victoria
Garganega is the principal variety used in Soave, a well-known savoury dry white from near Verona in Italy’s Veneto region. Redbank’s first vintage was fermented with wild yeast, matured in older oak barrels and blended with 10 per cent fiano, another Italian white. The result is full-bodied dry white with pleasing melon rind and citrus flavours and pleasantly tart, firm finish. It’s a long way from our usual fare and worth trying.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 18 January 2012 in The Canberra Times

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