Wine review — Petaluma, d’Arenberg & Tim Adams

Petaluma Coonawarra 2000, about $50 to $70
Coonawarra’s warm and very small 2000 vintage produced cabernets somewhat plumper and rounder than normal for this region. The crystal-clear, blackcurrant varietal character is still there, but in the mouth the wines seem softer, the riper tannins delivering less of the variety’s astringency. Petaluma’s 2002 fits this vintage mould. But the high proportion of merlot in the blend (fifty per cent) gives a delicious, chocolaty complexity to the generous fruit flavour and probably is behind its slightly firmer structure in comparison to straight cabernets from the vintage. It’s very complex, very fine and built to develop for many years.

d’Arenberg ‘Galvo Garage’ McLaren Vale Adelaide Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc 2001, $31.50 at cellar door
d’Arenberg’s opulent, deeply layered, sometimes-burly McLaren Vale reds are amongst the very best being made in the region. This one (the name inspired by Bordeaux’s tiny ‘garagiste’ winemakers and the 1927 iron shed housing much of d’Arenberg’s winemaking equipment), is a sensation. It avoids the greenness of so many Aussie blends containing merlot and cabernet franc and, while ripe, rich and complex, has an elegant structure – a rare wine that builds in interest with every glass. Sourced mainly from McLaren Vale, with part of the cabernet sauvignon and all of the merlot from the cool Adelaide Hills. Should age well for  a decade.

Tim Adams Clare Valley Riesling 2003, $15 to $18
UK writer Matthew Jukes writes, “The overall feel was one of a stroll through a lemon grove” – a colourful description for this delicious, zesty, pure riesling. Typical of the 2003 Clare rieslings tasted to date it offers heaps of up front, lemony varietal aroma and flavour with a bracing, tingly, spine of acidity. The full flavour and freshness means terrific current drinking. But, as long history shows, these are wines that develop wonderful new dimensions with extended bottle ageing.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2003 & 2007