Wine review — Tertini, Centennial, Vionta and Devil’s Lair

Tertini Reserve Pinot Noir 20009 $58
Tertini Yaraandoo vineyard, Southern Highlands, NSW

Tertini’s 2009 reserve pinot noir won gold medals in the 2012 Boutique Wine Awards and 2012 NSW Wine Awards. In the latter it won the trophy for best pinot, beating the gold-medal-winning Tertini Pinot Noir 2010 in the taste. I tasted the reserve at Bowral’s Biota restaurant and again at the winery a couple of days before the trophy announcement. This is classy stuff from such a young vineyard, and no fluke judging by the quality of the 2008 and 2009 standard pinots also tasted at the winery. The reserve’s a buoyant and lively wine featuring ripe, juicy cherry-like varietal flavour layered with fine tannin and hints of stalkiness, spicy oak and savouriness. The whole pinot range shows a distinctive finesse, delicacy and elegance.  Available at cellar door and tertiniwines.com.au

Tertini Cross Roads Berrima Valley Riesling 2006 $33
Tertini Yaraandoo vineyard, Southern Highlands, NSW

Tertini’s museum release riesling, currently offered online and at cellar door, won gold medals in this year’s NSW Small Winemakers Show and Winewise Small Vignerons Awards. It also picked up trophies as best riesling and best boutique white at the former event. I recently tasted Cross Roads at the winery alongside the 2009 and 2009 reserve rieslings, both lovely wines, but upstaged by this, only the second riesling made from the Yaraandoo vineyard (planted 2001). A touch of honeyed, bottle-aged character adds to its pure, intense, delicate lime-like varietal flavour. The racy freshness and the lingering, pure limey aftertaste provide exciting drinking.

Centennial Pinot Chardonnay $22.09–$27.09
Centennial vineyard, Bowral, Southern Highlands, NSW

Nothing better illustrates the Southern Highlands’ peculiar climate than Centennial’s superb sparkling wines – quality more expected of Tasmania or southern Victoria. Their Blanc de Blancs ($28.04–$36.99) and Extreme Brut ($26.59–$29.99) are impressive. But on a recent cellar door visit, I favoured this blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. It shows power and elegance – that unique combination of pinot strength and chardonnay finesse, with the subtle background flavour and texture derived from prolonged ageing on yeast cells following secondary fermentation.

Centennial Raspberry Nectar 375ml $28.04–$34.99
At 17 per cent alcohol, it’s an adult cordial or syrup, made from fruit Centennial buys from neighbouring Cuttaway Creek Raspberry Farm. Winemaker Tony Cosgriff ferments the berries with sugar then adds a white grape spirit. Clearly it’s a very clean spirit as it doesn’t intrude on the heady, pure raspberry aroma and flavour. The alcohol kicks in on the palate, giving a lightly astringent bite to offset the delicious, sweet, berry flavour – a truly nectary sensation. Serve it Kir royale fashion – a teaspoon in a glass of dry bubbly – pour onto desserts or salads.

Vionta Albarino 2010 $22
Rias Baixas, Spain

Since reviewing the 2009 vintage two years ago the price has fallen from around $30 to a more realistic $22. The white wine, made entirely from albarino, comes from the Rias Baixas region, part of Galicia in Spain’s cool, wet and humid northwest. Temperature controlled winemaking aims at preserving grape aromatics and flavours – though a small portion macerates on yeast lees to build texture. The colour’s a medium lemon-gold and the aroma and flavour are both reminiscent of melon rind with a twist of lemon. The smoothly textured, succulent palate finishes fresh and dry.

Devil’s Lair The Hidden Cave Cabernet Shiraz 2011 $19–$23
Margaret River, Western Australia

In this delicious, drink-now red, winemaker Oliver Crawford captured the floral aromatics sometimes seen in cabernet sauvignon. Those seductive floral notes flow through to a supple palate, dripping with juicy summer-berry flavours, cut with very fine tannins and seasoned with cedar-like, barely perceptible oak. While cabernet dominates the aroma and flavour, shiraz gives flesh to the mid palate.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 7 November 2012 in The Canberra Times

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