Leo Buring DWR18 Leonay Watervale Riesling 2014 $33–$40
Leonay is Australian riesling royalty, descended from beautiful, long-lived whites created by John Vickery in the 1960s. Amazingly, and despite numerous changes of ownership and management over the decades, the wine retains its integrity. And, thanks to the screwcap (championed by Vickery while working for rival company Richmond Grove in the late nineties), the wines evolve magnificently for many years. We recently tasted Leonay Watervale 2005, which at ten years displayed the region’s intense, fresh, lime-like vivacity, with the subtle, honeyed patina of age. The intensely fruity, yet delicate, 2014 offers comparable ageing potential and quality.
Aldi 5171 McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 $12.99
A couple of extravagant reviews for Aldi’s $13 cabernet sent Chateau Shanahan’s BS metre into overdrive. We all want Grange for $10, but we’re yet to find it. However, we regularly find excellent drinking, even bargains, among the big retailers’ private label wines. At present Aldi’s taking challenge to Woolies and Coles. While that provides good, cheap, drinking for consumers, winemakers must worry at the growing number of retailer labels displacing producer brands. Oh, yes, the wine: this is solid, chunky cabernet, packed with flavour and burly tannins, if not finesse.
Hewitson Baby Bush Barossa Valley Mourvedre 2013 $28
Baby Bush comes from mourvedre vines propagated from a Barossa vineyard planted in 1853. The venerable old vines produce Hewitson’s distinctive Old Garden Mourvedre ($88). But, Hewitson wonders, has the Baby Bush name had its day? “The oldest Baby Bush vines are now 18 years old, so not quite babies any more”, he writes, and adds, “The youngest vines to qualify are ten years old”. Generally the junior partner in the classic three-way blend with grenache and shiraz, mourvedre provides exotic drinking on its own: a robust, spicy red with currant-like fruit flavours pushing through quite firm, rustic tannins.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 21 July and 2 August 2015 in goodfood.com.au and the Canberra Times