Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Aldi) $7.99
Before Marlborough upstaged it, France’s Loire Valley sat at the centre of the sauvignon universe. Montana wines planted Marlborough’s first sauvignon in 1973 and, as far as I can ascertain, its initial export to Australia was the 1979 vintage. However, the style struggled until David Hohnen’s Cloudy Bay arrived in the late eighties, though it took another decade before it really took off. Aldi imports an attractive Loire Valley version, strangely enough labelled simple by its region and variety – with no brand. Who can argue though, as this is a tasty, lean, crisp varietal. It’s different from the Kiwi versions and cheap as chips at $7.99.
Peter Lehmann Barossa Portrait Shiraz 2013 $11.95–$18
Late last year Casella Family Brands, best known for its hugely successful Yellow Tail brand, acquired Peter Lehmann Wines from Swiss Hess Group and minority shareholders, including Peter Lehmann’s widow Margaret Lehmann. The new owners will have one Barossa vintage under their belts now, so it won’t be too long before we taste their wares – though there’s little reason to expect we’ll see any difference. Meanwhile, the delicious, fruity, Portrait shiraz, from the warm and ripe 2013 vintage offers lovely drinking at a decent price. The wine’s all about ripe, juicy Barossa shiraz flavours with typically soft tannin.
Port Phillip Estate Salasso Rose 2014 $24
Like sauvignon blanc, rose shows it best when it’s fresh from the vine, with fruit in overdrive. Port Phillip Estate’s latest takes that vibrant, fresh fruitiness – in this instance the juicy flavours and softness of shiraz – then adds a slick and slippery texture that boosts the overall exuberance and juicy pleasure of the palate. Fermentation with wild yeasts in a mix of old oak barrels and concrete tanks, followed by maturation on the spent yeast cells, accounts for much of the texture. The latest vintage impressed a bunch of die-hard red-wine drinkers at a recent tasting.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 4 April 2015 in goodfood.com.au and 5 April in the Canberra Times