Wine review – Ravensworth, Nick O’Leary, Long Rail Gully, Mount Majura

Ravensworth Charlie-Foxtrot Gamay Noir 2016
Johansen vineyard, Tumbarumba, NSW
$36
In its second vintage, Charlie-Foxtrot gives us Bryan Martin’s Tumbarumba–Canberra interpretation of France’s Beaujolais style – a fresh, fruity, drink-now red made from the gamay grape. Of a light to medium hue with vivid crimson colour, the wine very cleverly combines bright fruit flavours and freshness with smooth texture, savoury earthy notes and a dry, pleasantly grippy finish.

Nick O’Leary Riesling 2016
Canberra District
$20–$22

Canberra winemaker Nick O’Leary made three rieslings in 2016 – this blend from four Canberra vineyards; White Rocks from Geoff Hood’s original Westering vineyard (now part of the Lake George Winery vineyard); and the third from Tumbarumba. The Canberra blend provides delicate, dry drinking with invigorating Granny-Smith like acidity and lime-like varietal flavour. It’s ready for spring and summer drinking but should evolve in bottle for a decade.

Long Rail Gully Pinot Gris 2016
Long Rail Gully vineyard, Murrumbateman, Canberra District
$19.80–22
Winemaker Richard Parker makes the Canberra specialties, shiraz and riesling, but also makes delicious versions of pinot noir and pinot gris, varieties generally associated with cooler growing than Canberra. His new vintage pinot gris provides fuller-bodied, grippier drinking than, say, riesling, with a round, rich palate, smooth texture and a fresh, pear-like aftertaste. The extra weight and texture comes from barrel-fermentation and ageing of a portion of the blend.

Mount Majura Tempranillo 2015
Mount Majura Vineyard, Canberra District
$45
When does a variety move from “alternative” to mainstream? If the answer is when it becomes widely grown, made and loved, then Spain’s tempranillo is now an Australian staple. Mount Majura made its first Tempranillo in 2003. Vine and winemaking maturity thereafter tweaked the style so much that it became the winery’s flagship. And in the great 2015 vintage, Frank van de Loo lifted the bar even higher, delivering a wine of intense ripe, black-cherry-like fruit flavour combined with a deep savouriness, reminiscent of soy. The variety’s distinctive, chewy tannins cut through the fruit, giving a long, satisfying finish.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published 4 October 2016 in the Canberra Times

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