Hardys Oomoo McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004, $9.90 to $15
Here’s proof of the trickle down effect: the flagship Eileen Hardy Shiraz is McLaren Vale based and amongst the best reds in Australia. Budget priced Oomoo benefits from the effort expended on Eileen. This is reflected in its fruit brightness, generous, chocolaty regional character, savoury ‘real red’ flavour and a convincing, grippy finish. If you find some mid priced reds taste more like fruit juice than red wine, give this one a go. It’s made for red wine lovers but doesn’t belt you over the head with oak or suck the water from your eyes with hard tannins. Drink now to 2009.
Hardys Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2002, $35 to $45
A vertical tasting of Eileen Hardy Chardonnays from the first vintage, 1986, to the unreleased 2004 (see main story) confirmed in my mind that Eileen sits at the top of the pack in Australia. To my palate it hit the pace in 2000 and, since then, it’s made little advances with the 2002 and 2004 being as good as it gets in Australia. And that makes it a bargain given the $100 plus price tags of some of its competitors. Good bottles of 2002 I’d rate as probably the best Aussie chardonnay yet tasted. However, the 2004 gives it a close run and will ultimately be the better buy as it comes screw cap sealed and should not suffer the bottle variation seen under earlier cork-sealed vintages.
Peter Lehmann Barossa Semillon 2002 & Barossa Shiraz Grenache 2004 about $12
These are delicious, approachable wines offering regional character at a budget price. Lehmann pioneered this crisp, light, lemony style of semillon in the Barossa. Picked early and treated gently, Barossa semillon delivers vibrant varietal flavour in a delicate dry white that weighs in at a modest 11.5 per cent alcohol. That means flavour without alcoholic astringency. The red uses shiraz as a base to give generosity. But grenache tempers shiraz, softening and lightening the mid palate and boosting the aroma. The focus is primarily on vibrant and fruit and softness, but there’s sufficient tannin to give structure and a little grip.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2005 & 2007