Wine review — Four Winds Vineyard, Curly Flat, Goat Square, Terrazes de los Andes, Innocent Bystander and Wynns Coonawarra Estate

Four Winds Vineyard Riesling 2013 $22
Murrumbateman, Canberra District, NSW

Rieslings from Four Winds vineyard have won wine-show awards, including gold medals, in the past – under the Four Winds label and for other winemakers sourcing fruit from the vineyard. But Sarah Collingwood says the thrill went up a notch when the 2013 vintage won the trophy as best riesling at this year’s NSW Small Winemakers Wine Show. The vineyard’s first trophy winner, made by Collingwood’s sister Jaime and brother-in-law Bill Crowe, is about as appealing as young riesling gets. Its pure floral and citrus aroma leads to a vibrant, delicate, deliciously fruity dry palate. Some Canberra rieslings need a year or more in bottle before the fruit outweighs the acidity. But Four Winds sits right in the drinking zone now, though I suspect it will age well for some years.

Curly Flat Chardonnay 2011 $42–$47
Curly Flat vineyard, Macedon Ranges, Victoria
In a year notable for skinny wines, Curly Flat 2011 stands out for its luxurious richness, power and elegance – a stately chardonnay from the maker of some of Australia’s finest. Curly Flat’s Phillip Moraghan writes, “Much has been written about the difficulties of vintage 2011, yet we see it as a triumphant year for our vineyard and team. Our vintage 2011 tee-shirts carry the motto ‘divided we stand’, acknowledging the role of our horizontally divided lyre trellis system in warding off the downy mildew demons”. Moraghan’s team not only defeated disease, but also coaxed the berries to a perfect ripeness that underpins this beautiful, barrel-fermented and –matured white.

Goat Square Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2010 $9.99–$16.99
Barossa Valley, South Australia
Barossa based David Farmer works much as traditional ‘negociants’ do in France. He buys grapes, juice and wine, then makes, blends, matures, bottles, labels and sells it. The majority comes from the Barossa, but he ventures the length of the adjoining Mount Lofty Ranges to the Clare and Eden Valleys and Adelaide Hills, and further south to McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek. He looks for richness and ripeness of the kind displayed in this classic Barossa blend of grenache, shiraz and mataro – a rich, earthy and savoury red with just a little bite of alcoholic astringency in the finish. Farmer is the sole outlet (via glug.com.au), and sometimes offers it on special at $9.99 a bottle.

Terrazas de los Andes Malbec 2010 $27–$30
Mendoza, Argentina
Terrazas de los Andes is a brand of luxury goods group, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, distributed locally by Moet Hennessy Australia. We discovered it at Taze Restaurant, Civic, where they offer it by the glass. It’s a big, dark, brooding wine and a thoroughly enjoyable example of Argentina’s great red specialty. There, the main determinant of style is vineyard altitude, in this instance about 1000 metres above sea level. The black colour, powerful, ripe fruit and mouth-coating tannins make it good company with red meats. It’s a distinctive style and very easy for fans of big Australian reds to adapt to.

Innocent Bystander Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2012 $21–$24
Yarra Valley, Victoria

Innocent Bystander delivers the goods every year as a tasty, satisfying example of modern Australian cool-climate chardonnay. Bright, fresh, varietal flavours resembling grapefruit and melon underpin the wine. But there’s lots more going on in the background – a result of a couple of different approaches to fermentation in seasoned French barrels (some with ambient yeast, some selected strains), followed by maturation and lees stirring in those barrels.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 2012 $15–$20
Wynns Coonawarra Estate, Coonawarra, South Australia

Winemaker Sue Hodder visited Canberra recently, promoting the new releases from Wynns Coonawarra Estate. The release includes some of Australia’s greatest reds as well as grey label shiraz, one of the best value reds on the market. Hodder lets the fruit hold centre stage, from the flashing crimson colour, to the pure fruity, spicy, slightly peppery varietal aromas and flavours to the soft, satisfying, medium bodied palate. It’s pure Coonawarra and made for drinking over the next four or five years. Wynns Black Label Shiraz is the one for cellaring these days, but more on that next week.

Copyright Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 18 September 2013

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