Wine review — Penley Estate, Wynns & Ladbroke Grove

Penley Estate Coonawarra Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 $19.99
At last week’s Limestone Coast Show, Singapore based writer, Ch’ng Poh Tiong awarded Phoenix the International Judge’s Trophy as his favoured wine of the show. Together with James Halliday, we’d ranked it at the top of the small 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon class, noting its vibrant, sweet, fruity aroma and juicy, fleshy, drink-now palate. Waxing metaphorical at the trophy presentation, Poh Tiong praised its ‘smouldering-ember smoky’character – fitting for a wine named Phoenix, I suppose. With or without metaphors, it’s simply delicious and made specifically for early drinking. It’s to be released in early December and will be available at cellar door (08 8736 3211) and fine wine retail outlets.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Johnson’s Block Shiraz Cabernet 2003 $35
Johnson’s block is a distinguished Coonawarra vineyard with vines dating from 1925. Recent rejuvenation work – principally restructuring dense, woody, vine canopies – seems to have paid off in Johnson’s blend with its beautifully even, ripe berry fruit flavours and supple tannins. It also displays Sue Hodder’s well thought out change in winemaking philosophy inspired by the elegance and longevity of Wynns reds of the 1950s. The limpid colour, bright berry flavours, supple tannins and supportive oak provide a substantial, potentially long live modern interpretation of a traditional style well removed from the darker, more alcoholic, more tannic, more oaky reds that’ve prevailed in recent decades. Johnson’s hits the mark as it focuses on Coonawarra’s unique, bright berry flavours without compromising depth or complexity of flavour.

Ladbroke Grove Coonawarra Riesling 2005 $17.99
This is a little producer to watch. Ladbroke’s Killian Cabernet 2001 won three trophies in the 2003 Limestone Coast Show. This year it was the riesling’s turn. After topping a strong 2005 vintage riesling class it went on to win the Karl Seppelt Trophy. Fruit comes from a northern Coonawarra vineyard, contracted to Ladbroke Grove and made in the Di Giorgio Winery by former Wynns winemaker, Peter Douglas. The wine springs out of the glass with its floral and lemon varietal aroma then lights up the palate with vibrant, very fine lemony flavours. Refreshing, delicate, minerally acids give the wine structure and length – and probably longevity, too.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2005 & 2007