Wine review — Lanson Champagne, St Joseph (Les Vins de Vienne) & Deakin Estate

Lanson Champagne Vintage 1996 $79 to $89
With some of the big name vintage Champagnes pushing beyond $100 a bottle, Lanson 1996 offers sensational value for money. At New Zealand’s ‘Liquorland Top 100’ wine show recently I rated it the best of all the Champagnes and it went on to top the category. It shows the special flavour intensity and finesse of the great 1996 vintage in the distinctive high-acid, firm backbone Lanson style. At nine years’ it’s wonderfully fresh and drinks beautifully as an aperitif. But the flavour intensity, finesse and tight structure all suggest a good cellaring life given suitably cool conditions.

St Joseph (Les Vins de Vienne) 2003 $49.99
This is a Dan Murphy import from Les Vins de Vienne, a company formed by three well-known Rhone Valley producers. Made from shiraz grown at St Joseph in the northern Rhone, it’s a very good, clean expression of the regional style and not marred by the microbial spoilage seen in so many Rhone imports. It’s medium bodied, savoury and finely structured with a core of sweet, ripe, black cherry varietal fruit. My only quibble is that the everyday price seems a bit steep. Perhaps Dan might offer a special to bring it closer to that of Aussie shiraz of comparable quality.

Deakin Estate Shiraz 2004 $8 to $10
Screw cap sealed, this is a bright, fresh and fruity budget-priced red to enjoy right now. It’s sourced primarily from the Murray, in the vicinity of Mildura, but boosted by components from Coonawarra, South Australia, and Victoria’s King and Alpine Valleys.  Fruit, fruit and more fruit seems to be its focus, starting with an attractive ‘cherry and musk’ varietal fragrance that carries brightly across a delicious, soft palate. It’s the sort of red you could chill slightly for those hot summer barbecues. Cellaring? Don’t even think about it. Watch for the specials at around $8.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2005 & 2007