Teusner Empress Eden Valley Riesling 2015 $21.90–$23
Bateman Bay’s Starfish Deli very sensibly offers good riesling by the glass. The current tipple, Barossa-based Kym Teusner’s Empress riesling, comes from two Eden Valley vineyards, one of them 50 years old. Teusner takes riesling in a lean, taut direction, sometimes described as “minerally” – well away from traditional highly aromatic styles. The bone-dry wine appeals for its refreshing acidity and delicious, though muted, citrus-like riesling flavours. We enjoyed a glass with Clyde River oysters. But alas these had been washed free of vital brine flavours.
Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013 $45–$55
Craggy Range’s chewy, satisfying drinkability surprised one of our tasters. Coming after a dark, brooding McLaren Vale red, the comparatively pale pinot ambushed his unsuspecting palate. The wine comes from eight clones of pinot growing on the company’s Te Muna Road vineyard at Martinborough, near Wellington New Zealand. The climate suits pinot noir. But there’s more to it than fruit, which is just a starting point for a wine of this calibre. The makers built this wine layer by layer to give us a notable pinot of perfume, fruit, deep, chewy, savoury-earthy flavours, smooth texture and fine, grippy tannins. It’s a complete red with, I suspect, a long cellaring future.
Jacob’s Creek Classic Chardonnay 2015 $8.55–$12
The Jacob’s Creek winemakers, based in the Barossa Valley, draw grapes from across Australia. Each vintage they fill the mighty tanks at Rowland Flat with new wines destined for a worldwide market. Of a night, a halo of light illuminates the sky above the winery, giving the impression of a small city at the valley’s southern end. Despite the great volume produced in the winery, the wines retain excellent varietal fruit flavours and generally provide better drinking than we could hope for at the modest price. The current chardonnay provides vibrant, refined drinking with clear melon- and peach-like varietal flavour on a smooth, medium-bodied palate.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published 20 March 2016 in the Canberra Times