Wine review – Joseph Perrier, Wolf Blass and Taylors

Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale NV Brut Champagne $47.49–$49.99
This Dan Murphy import first arrived in Canberra in the mid 1970s, imported by local wine merchants, Farmer Bros (RIP). In the late 1980s Joseph Perrier NV sweetened the meeting of a Canberra Times Sunday editor with her soon-to-be husband. The couple toasted their wedding with it in 1989, and celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary with it this month. It was the first real Champagne I tasted (in 1976). And even now, decades after my last commercial attachment with the brand, I rate Joseph Perrier as one of the gentlest, loveliest and best vale of non-vintages on the market. The price hasn’t moved in five years.

Wolf Blass Yellow Label South Australia Chardonnay 2013 $12.35–$12.99
Wolf Blass Yellow Label range occupies the middle turf of the brand’s three colour coded segments – red label for generic blends, yellow label for varietals (chardonnay in this instance) and gold label for regional-varietal matches (for example, Barossa shiraz, Adelaide Hills chardonnay). For these big blends, the company draws fruit widely to achieve an acceptable quality to price ratio. Yellow Label chardonnay sits in the high bronze to silver medal standard as it presents pure melon and peach varietal flavour of great freshness, with a smooth texture and dry, clean finish. Grapes come form Padthaway, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and the Adelaide Hills.

Taylors Clare Valley Shiraz 2013 $13–$19
You can pay $19 for Taylors Shiraz. But as a perennial consumer favourite, its price regularly gets the chop from retailers. As I write, it’s on offer for as little as $13. The 2013 provides particularly rich, gutsy drinking. The ripe, sweet aroma – reminiscent of black cherries – leads to a big, juicy palate. While the initial impression is of endless fruit, waves of firm, rustic tannins soon ripple through giving the wine a dry, gripping finish. Mitchell Taylor attributes the flavour intensity to growing-season weather. “This was one of the driest growing season in around 150 years”, he said.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 18 May 2014 in the Canberra Times

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