Printhie Mountain Range Orange Chardonnay 2012 $20
Juicy, just-ripe, nectarine-like varietal flavour underpins Printhie’s new release. Like other very good mid-priced chardonnays, Printhie gets the price:quality ratio right through efficiencies of scale in fruit production, then using a combination of tank and barrel-fermentation to keep production costs at the right level. The very best chardonnays, on the other hand, are generally 100 per cent barrel fermented – a labour-intensive process requiring large outlays on oak. The intense flavour and high natural acidity of cool-grown fruit drive this appealing, generous-but-taut dry white. Proprietor Ed Swift rates the 2012 Orange vintage very highly.
Tyrrell’s Lost Block Heathcote Shiraz 2012 $18
Tyrrell’s Lost Block began as a single wine in 1993 – a bottling from a block of semillon grapes harvested as an after thought. The latest iteration features quirky labels on a small range of regional–varietal specialties, including this shiraz from Heathcote, Victoria. Tyrrell’s bring the fruit to the Hunter for winemaking. The winemaking and maturation techniques capture vibrant fruity–savoury varietal flavour meshed with soft but substantial tannins – with an undercurrent of the region’s distinctive savouriness. It’s made to enjoy over the next three or four years.
St Huberts Yarra Valley Roussanne 2012 $30
Roussanne, perhaps the least known of the Rhone Valley’s white trio – roussanne, marsanne and viognier – makes a more subtle wine than its peers. In this instance, winemaker Greg Jarratt barrel fermented juice from handpicked fruit in French oak barrels. The wine shares textural characteristics with other barrel fermented whites, but the flavours head off in their own direction, well removed from those of say chardonnay, marsanne or viognier. It’s a distinctive, full-flavoured (but not heavy), smooth-textured dry white with subtle, pear-like flavour and tangy, slightly tart finish.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 1 December 2013 in the Canberra Times