Long Rail Gully Canberra District Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 $24
A wet vintage, and its attendant fungal diseases, ravaged much of Canberra’s grape crop in 2011. In addition, low temperatures meant a struggle for ripeness for what healthy fruit growers managed to salvage. Out of the near disaster, our vignerons made respectable wines, albeit stamped with the mark of the cold season. At Long Rail Gully, Murrumbateman, Richard Parker succeeded with this comparatively light but flavoursome cabernet. It delivers bright, fresh varietal flavours, tinged with leafiness, but not green or unripe as cabernet can be in these conditions. Fine tannins give structure to a wine best enjoyed with protein-rich food.
Moppity Vineyards Lock and Key Chardonnay 2013 $12.99
Jason and Alicia Brown produce wine from their Moppity vineyard near Young (officially the Hilltops region) and their Coppabella vineyard in higher, cooler Tumbarumba. Huge wine-show success for their wines hasn’t yet pushed their prices up. Indeed, we bought the excellent Lock and Key chardonnay for $12.99 at city Supa Barn. The Brown’s top chardonnays come from Tumbarumba. But their Hilltops version still captures chardonnay’s melon- and white-peach-like flavour in vivid detail – and with the texture and finesse usually seen only in more expensive wines.
Pig in the House Cowra Shiraz 2012 $20–$25
In the early 1990s, farmers David and Elizabeth O’Dea established grapes on their property, Windowrie, about 20 kilometres downstream of Cowra, on the Lachlan River. They later made the transition from grape growing to winemaking. Later again, their son Jason, with wife, Rebecca, began converting a nearby vineyard to certified organic production. They named the vineyard Pig in the House – a salute to its former use (and a belief that the former owner allowed pigs into what is now Jason and Rebecca O’Dea’s farm house). Made in the Windowrie winery, this shiraz is fragrant but earthy, medium bodied, with delicious, fresh red-berry flavour and a dry, pleasantly tart finish.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 24 August 2014 in the Canberra Times