Gallagher Duet Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut $25
Greg Gallagher’s mastery of the bubble shows in this lovely aperitif style. He sources chardonnay from his own Murrumbateman vineyard and pinot from the Pankhurst vineyard, Hall. But it takes more than fruit alone to make a top sparkler. Gallagher blended wine from the 2013 vintage with smaller components disgorged from bottles of the 2012 and 2011 vintages. The blend then underwent a secondary fermentation and extended bottle ageing on the spent yeast cells, adding greatly to the wine’s dimension. The pale lemon-gold colour, small bubble and persistent mousse all point to the delicate, fine, aperitif-style bubbly that follows.
Nick O’Leary Canberra District Riesling 2015 $25
Nick O’Leary says the outstanding 2015 vintage coincided with the arrival of a new Italian whole-bunch press. Its ability to process four tons of grapes at a time, greater than the capacity of his old press, allowed him to bring grapes in precisely as they ripened, rather than queuing up. Seemingly little steps like this reduce compromises in the winemaking process and result in finer, better-flavoured wines. The pale colour wine offers big volumes of delicate, citrusy aromatics. An amazingly lively, intense palate reflects the aroma, providing dazzling current drinking and probably long-term cellaring prospects.
Pitchfork Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2015 $14.25–$16
Winemaker Michael Kerrigan praises the quality of Margaret River’s 2015 vintage, but laments the tiny quantities. He writes, “We experienced some of the wildest, windiest weather for decades, unfortunately just when a number of grape varieties were flowering, and it is these flowers that when set become berries… seriously compromising fruit set with the result that the yields of 2015 were the lowest that I have experienced in 23 years of growing grapes in the South West. Ouch”. However, dry and balmy end to the season ensured lively, grassy, herbaceous flavours in this classic, slurpy Margaret River blend.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 21 and 22 November 2015 in goodfood.com.au and the Canberra Times