Wine review — Jacob’s Creek, Cloudy Bay & Brookland Valley

Jacob’s Creek Johann 1999 $100, St Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet 2002 $40, Centenary Hill Barossa Shiraz 1997 $40, Steingarten Barossa Ranges Riesling 2002 $30, Reeve’s Point Padthaway Chardonnay 2002 $30
Meet the posh members of the Jacob’s Creek family: Johann, an extraordinarily rich, elegant Barossa Shiraz, Coonawarra Cabernet blend for long cellaring; Centenary Hill, a powerful, savoury southern Barossa Shiraz based on the 1920s Willandra Vineyard at Jacob’s Creek; St Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon, a Coonawarra classic; Steingarten Riesling, an intense, very fine, bone dry and minerally riesling from the Steingarten and St Helga vineyards in the Barossa ranges immediately to the east of Jacob’s Creek; and Reeve’s Point, a concentrated, barrel fermented, melon-and-peach chardonnay from a very special vineyard at the foot of the Padthaway sand hills.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2003 $35
This is full bore, unapologetic, musky, viscous Gewurtztraminer, reminiscent (in price as well as style) of the best of the in-your-face originals from Alsace. It rolls onto your tongue with a plush flavour explosion to match the roomful of musky, lychee perfume that preceded it. This is NOT the wine to serve as background music to delicate food. It’s a meal in itself – a sensuous, vinous, honeymoon-in-a-glass, demanding full attention. But a little goes a long way, especially as an exotic, zippy, voluptuous aperitif on a warm, sunny spring day. This is another triumph for Kevin Judd, Cloudy Bay and Marlborough, a combination that never does anything in half measures.

Brookland Valley Verse 1 Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2005 $13 to $18; Verse 1 Shiraz 2003 $14 to $21
Verse 1 is the budget range from the Hardy-controlled Margaret River estate, Brookland Valley. It’s often discounted so watch for the specials at the bottom end of the price range. The white offers simple, pure fruit flavours with the grassy, pungent character and bracing acidity characteristic of Margaret River semillon sauvignon blanc blends. It’s made to enjoy this summer. Verse 1 Shiraz offers rich berry varietal flavour in the elegant regional style. But, unlike the white, needs another six months in bottle to harmonise the fruit, tannin and oak. After that it should continue to drink well and evolve for about five years.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2005 & 2007