Wine review — Peter Lehmann and Mitchell

Peter Lehmann Barossa Valley Hill and Valley Semillon 2012 $22
Peter Lehmann’s new Barossa semillon offers light, fresh lemony varietal flavours on a delicate, soft, delicious, dry palate. It’s a unique dry white, softer and more approachable now, say, than a Hunter semillon of the same age. At just 11.5 per cent alcohol it’s less heady than most Australian whites. Lehmann was the first to popularise this light, unoaked Barossa style. Hill and Valley sits in price between Lehmann’s two existing semillons and was sourced “from some of Barossa’s oldest semillon vineyard, owned by two family growers in the Barossa sub-regions of Light Pass and Vine Vale”, writes winemaker Andrew Wigan.

Peter Lehmann Eden Valley Hill and Valley Chardonnay 2011 $22
Lehmann’s new white triumphed at the recent National Wine Show of Australia outscoring a field of 56 upmarket chardonnays and winning the best-premium-chardonnay trophy. Chairman of judges, Steve Pannell, said the wine sparked a debate about “artefact” in chardonnay – in this instance (and in many modern chardonnays) yeast-derived sulphur compounds resulting from fermentation and maturation in oak barrels. To my taste the sulphur compounds outweigh the fruit in an otherwise very pleasant wine – a wine that could be even better with less artefact in future vintages. No gold medal or trophy from me, I’m afraid, but a silver medal in my scoresheet.

Mitchell McNicol Clare Valley Riesling 2006 $35
Thirty-five dollars seems a modest price for a well-cellared riesling from a great Clare Valley vintage. The wine honours Peter McNicol Mitchell, father of winemaker Andrew Mitchell. Mitchell senior arrived in the Clare Valley in 1949, laying the foundation for the vineyards and winery, operated by Andrew and wife Jane since the late 1970s. The riesling, from a cool, elevated site, delivers bright, fresh, citrusy varietal flavours, overlaid with the delicious honey-like character of bottle age. It sits lightly, delicately and softly on the palate – an absolute joy to drink. (Available from mitchellwines.com).

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 9 December 2012 in The Canberra Times

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