Wine review – Mount Majura, Helm and Santolin

Mount Majura Tempranillo 2013 $42
Mount Majura vineyard, Canberra District, ACT

Frank van de Loo’s 2013 tempranillo offers greater richness and power than the excellent but leaner style from the cool 2012 vintage. Blended from three separate blocks of this Spanish variety on the 9.3ha Mount Majura vineyard, it combines fresh, vibrant fruity flavours with the savour and chewy, juicy tannins of the variety. This is perhaps the best since van de Loo’s first in 2003 – an exciting wine, showing the extra dimension of a great vintage. Perhaps to satisfy his own curiosity, as much as that of the wine’s follower, van de Loo is also releasing (in October) separate bottlings from each of Mount Majura’s three tempranillo blocks

Mount Majura Individual Vineyard Tempranillos 2013 $45
Mount Majura, Canberra District, ACT

In October, Mount Majura will release tempranillos from each of three separate blocks on the property. Each contributes to the flagship blend, reviewed above. The wines are: Rock Block, a fragrant, soft, slightly minty wine from the original 2000 plantings; Little Dam (grafted onto pinot noir vines in 2004), a powerful and firm wine with exceptional fruit concentration and length; and Dry Spur (grafted onto merlot vines in 2009), with deep, sweet, blackcurrant-like flavour, cut with firm, fine tannins.

Helm Tumbarumba Riesling 2014 $26
Tumbarumba, NSW

Frosts in October 2013 significantly reduced Ken Helm’s Murrumbateman 2014 riesling crop. As he did in 2013, Helm sourced fruit from Juliette Cullen’s vineyard at Tumbarumba. It offers pure, lime-like varietal riesling aromas and flavours on a taut, dry and intense palate. The high acidity and long dry finish suggest some potential for the wine to age well, though that same acidity, in conjunction with delicious fruit, means good drinking now, too. Helm also sourced fruit from a vineyard near Orange, releasing it as Helm Central Ranges Riesling 2014. This is a floral, bright, fresh riesling with a round, gentle fruity palate and soft, fresh finish.

Santolin Individual Vineyard Chardonnay 2013 $42
Yarraland Vineyard, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Adrian Santolin made just 250 dozen of this wine from grapes he purchased from the Yarraland vineyard in the Yarra Valley. It’s an impressive, barrel- fermented and –matured wine, in a style increasingly seen in Australia. At its heart is the bracing, fresh grapefruit-like varietal flavour of high quality, cool-grown chardonnay. The winemaking process, however, adds greatly to the wine’s textural richness and the strong, but balanced seasoning often referred to vaguely as “funky”. This character comes from naturally occurring sulphur compounds that sit comfortably, if teasingly, in wines of this calibre. See santolinwines.com.au for stockists.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 20 August 2014 in the Canberra Times

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