Redbank The Long Paddock Victoria Shiraz 2012 $9.50–$13
Redbank won’t reveal exactly which parts of Victoria this attractive blend comes from. But even at the price, there’s no doubting it includes very good material from high-quality producing regions. Its fragrant, ripe and supple, with medium body and spicy, peppery notes derived from cool climate components of the wine. The winemakers added sangiovese to the blend (six per cent of the total) – injecting savour and grip to the otherwise soft tannins. The wine is made for current drinking, not cellaring. Redbank is a Victorian based brand belonging to the Hill-Smith family’s Yalumba group.
Turkey Flat Butchers Block Barossa Valley White 2012 $19.5–$22
This white style seems well suited to the warm, dry Barossa Valley. Made from three Rhone Valley varieties, marsanne, roussanne and viognier, Butcher’s Block offers texture and savouriness rather than the aromatics and fruitiness cooler regions do better. Christie Schulz polished the style over the years, treating each of the components separately, including skin contact for the viognier, early picking for the marsanne and later picking and whole bunch pressing for the roussanne – with 50 per cent of the blend matured in oak. It’s a full-bodied, richly textured dry white with subtle, underlying nectarine and apricot-like flavours.
Brookland Valley Unison Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 $17–$20
I tasted Brookland Valley alongside Chateau Semeillan Mazeau, a cabernet blend from Bordeaux, selling at double the price. The difference seems partly a question of style and not just one of quality. The French red offered good fruit, tightly bound up in tannin – thus putting texture and structure on an equal footing with that fruit. Brookland Valley, on the other hand puts varietal fruit to the fore – both in the sweet aroma and juicy vibrance of the palate. Tannin supports the fruit but without adding depth or length. It offers simple, fruity drink-now pleasure at a fair price
Copyright Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 3 November 2013 in the Canberra Times