Yearly Archives: 2006

Idiosyncratic or idiotic? — Hunter semillon

At Len Evans’ wake a few months it was inevitable that in the kick-on party venerable old bottles of Hunter shiraz and semillon appeared. Served on Len’s home turf these regional specialties hit the spot. But to the unconverted they remain idiosyncrasies.

Idiosyncratic is a key word here for each is as eccentric as it is great and long-lived. Despite global appreciation of the pair as significant, unique Australian wine styles, the quality is barely perceived beyond the world of experts, aficionados and wine nuts in the Hunter’s neighbouring Sydney market.

But all that means for those who love the styles are lower prices than might otherwise be expected for wines of this dimension.

The idiosyncrasies begin with a paradox. How can two comparatively elegant, delicate wine styles emerge from such a warm, humid and wet climate? Haven’t we been told for decades that elegant wines come from cool regions?

The answer appears to lie, say McWilliams – one of the great protagonists of the styles — in “the humidity, afternoon cloud cover and gentle sea breezes [that] temper the summer and afford excellent ripening conditions”.

Unquestionably, semillon is the more peculiar of the two beasts. So often, warm-climate semillon makes clumsy wines smelling and tasting of wet hessian.

But the peculiarities of the lower Hunter allow vignerons to harvest semillon at very low sugar ripeness without suffering the sour, unripe flavours that generally accompany such early harvesting.

True, the young wines have an austere acid edge, but the ‘lemongrass’ and ‘lemon’ fruit flavours underlying the acidity have a sweet, delicious core. While the bone-dry austerity of young semillon appears to be at odds with prevailing Aussie wine styles, some makers, like Brokenwood and Margan have succeeded in tempering the austerity without losing the distinctive regional flavours.

Others, like McWilliams Mount Pleasant and Tyrrell Vat 1, persist with the more austere styles that age so beautifully. This style emerged close to its present from in the 1960s. (The late Murray Tyrrell credited Ray Kidd of Lindemans for putting modern Hunter semillon firmly on track with the introduction of protective technologies, principally refrigerated ferments, during this period).

Thus, McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth, at one time one of the biggest selling table wine in Australia, appeared in 1967, labelled as ‘Hunter Riesling’ — a misnomer almost universally applied at the time.

These days its labelled varietally and because it’s released at four to five years’ age, has begun the transformation from austerity to toasty, nutty, honeyed complexity by the time it comes to market. But that doesn’t stop it being idiosyncratic – and, hence, loved or reviled, depending on the beholder.

At Chateau Shanahan it’s a much-loved style and we have a Tyrrell’s Vat 1 and Distinguished Vineyards Series (sourced by Len from the Howard family Somerset vineyard for Vintage Cellars) earmarked for lunch tomorrow. These are really a perfect wine for a hot Aussie Christmas thanks to their intense flavour, delicacy, freshness (despite the age) and low alcohol content.

The traditional low-oak Hunter shiraz style is another peculiar beast with its pale colour, earthy flavours and soft, tender tannins. It’s at its best with considerable age (Lindemans Bin 1590 1959 vintage, for example, is a legend). And that’s a style that Tyrrells continues to make. And you can even find the odd bottle or magnum of Lindemans 1983 at auction – another great example of the style.


Hardys SHUTTLE Chardonnay 187ml $4.95
Last July, at Wine Australia – the Aussie industry’s massive showcase for consumers — Hardy boss, David Woods, enthused about the upcoming SHUTTLE launch. It’s a neat little 187ml PET plastic wine bottle with an inverted PET plastic glass acting as seal. A few twists and the glass unscrews, then you flip it over, pour the wine in and the party’s started. The press release says, unhelpfully, that it’s available throughout ‘select states’ of Australia, wherever or whatever they may be. But they will eventually be rolled out. And they strike me as very practical for picnics, concerts and other outdoor venues. The 2006 chardonnay is bright, fresh and peachy, if a little sweet. The shiraz, not tasted.

Fox Gordon Barossa Valley By George Cabernet Tempranillo 2004 $20
The number of small brands in the Barossa seems to be growing exponentially as grape growers, some with long roots to the valley, team up with talented winemakers to produce single vineyard wines of tremendous character. This wonderful example combines chocolaty rich Barossa cabernet sauvignon with more restrained Adelaide Hills tempranillo (a Spanish variety) to delicious effect. The tempranillo tempers the Barossa richness, lifting the perfume and adding to the smooth, fine tannin structure. It’s a wine that slips down oh so easily and has a flavour unlike any other wine in memory. Has some retail distribution and may be ordered at

Pikes Clare Valley The Merle Riesling 2006 $35, Traditionale Riesling 2006 $21
Up in the Clare Valley Neil Pike produces two rieslings – Traditonale, a blend from various sub-regions of the Valley, and The Merle, sourced entirely from the Pike family’s estate in the Clare’s Polish Hill River sub region. Traditionale is the classic Clare blend with its lovely citrus-like varietal flavour, fine structure and refreshing acidity – a wine to enjoy as it evolves over the next five or six years. The Merle shows the steel of its origins with very pure and intense varietal character teasingly held in check by bracing, minerally acidity. A superb aperitif style in its youth, it should evolve well for a decade or more.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007

Wild Oatley sows another crop

Bob Oatley, the bloke behind Rosemount Wines, recently hopped back into the wine saddle a little over a year after dismounting. And like anything Bob attempts, it’s a venture on a serious scale.

If you don’t know Bob, think – or imagine — back to 1969. Australians had just begun to embrace table wine and Bob, seeing a future in it, established Rosemount Wines near Denman in the Upper Hunter Valley, New South Wales.

It all seems easy in retrospect, but Oatley built one of Australia’s most recognised brands, spearheaded by the famous Diamond Label chardonnay. It’s all the more credit to him that he earned much of the growth and recognition during the eighties – a period of perennial over production, characterised by discounting and pinched margins for wine producers.

Oatley was one of a handful of Australian wine producers (Wolf Blass, Mildara’s Ray King and Brown Brothers join this elite) to grasp the concept of brand building with all the disciplines – and rewards — that it brings.

Ultimately the Rosemount brand succeeded in the United Kingdom and America as well as in Australia. And by the time of Rosemount’s acquisition by Southcorp in 2001, for $1.5billion, it had grown massively beyond its Hunter base to include vineyards in Coonawarra, McLaren Vale and Mudgee.

But the Southcorp takeover proved disastrous and Oatley sold his block of shares in the company to Fosters in 2005, precipitating a takeover.

Now in his seventies, Oatley and his family maintained ownership of several substantial vineyards in Mudgee. These formed the nucleus of Bob’s recently announced Oatley Wines venture. But there was more to come.

On December first, 2006, a press release announced the Oatley family’s purchase of Orlando’s Mudgee vineyards, winery, cellar door and restaurant.

The purchase included the Poet’s Corner Winery (founded as Montrose wines in 1974)), the historic Craigmoor facility (founded 1858) and an impressive suite of vineyards, including a lovely plot of Italian varieties planted for Montrose by Carlo Corino in the 1970s.

The Oatleys (with James Manners as winemaker) will continue to make Mudgee wine for Orlando and they will continue to own and market the Mudgee based Poets Corner and Henry Lawson brands.

Meanwhile the Oatleys have two ranges of wines ready to hit the market this month – the $25 Robert Oatley Range (Mudgee Chardonnay, Barossa Shiraz Viognier) and the $18 Wild Oats range (Western Australia Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio, Mudgee Chardonnay, Mudgee Rosé, Western Australia Cabernet Merlot and South Australia Shiraz Viognier).

The Oatleys will continue to operate the cellar door and restaurant at Craigmoor and intend to re-introduce the Montrose and Craigmoor brands.

Typically, Bob has a pool of talent surrounding him, notably Chris Hancock, one of the shrewdest strategists and marketers in the business and a key to the global success of the original Rosemount business.

To borrow a nautical term – appropriate for the owner of maxi yacht Wild Oats – we can be sure that Bob intends to run a tight ship. Short lines of command, substantial volumes, high quality, good margins and strong branding won the day in the past and will quite likely do so in the future for the Oatley ship and its navigator, Chris Hancock.

I’ve not tasted any of the wines yet but will report back after they come onto the market.


Galli Estate Dos Rojo Camelback Vineyard Tempranillo Grenache Mourvedre 2005 about $20
Galli Estate of Sunbury, near Melbourne Airport, produces an appealing range of reds priced from around $10 (Victorian Shiraz, an earthy quaffer) to the more luxurious Heathcote Block 2 Shiraz at $25. In between sits this savoury, more-ish blend of tempranillo, grenache and mourvedre from Heathcote, McLaren Vale and the Pyrenees. The blend works well, delivering bright, fresh berry fruit flavours with the savoury edge and fine tannic bite to go well with food. It’s one of those wines that becomes more interesting as you progress through the bottle. It’s distributed in the ACT or can be ordered from the winery at

Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006 $16 to $19
Stoneleigh, part of New Zealand’s Montana Group, belongs now to French owned Pernod Ricard – proprietors, as well, of Australia’s Orlando Wines. Stoneleigh’s sauvignon blanc, sourced from the warmer Rapaura sub-region of Marlborough, is distinct from the more herbaceous Montana style, produced from the cooler Brancott area. Stoneleigh presents the passionfruit and tropical character of ripe sauvignon cut with bracing minerally acidity – reminding us that Marlborough really is a cool area even in its warmer sites. What makes Marlborough really special, though, is that the bracing acidity becomes a refreshing foil to the amazingly juicy, luscious fruit flavour.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007

My best value wines of 2006

As Christmas 2006 approaches Australia’s wine industry finds itself undergoing a major mood shift. Thanks to drought and savage spring frosts, the domestic wine lake that appeared to be permanent just a few months back seems to be evaporating.

By conservative reckoning – assuming continued growth in domestic and export markets — grape supply will align with demand in a little over one year. Others say that we’re already in short supply and ought to be planting more vines now.

What does this mean for wine drinkers? Well, given the deals already in place between suppliers and a fiercely aggressive retail world, we can be assured of keen prices in the run up to Christmas. But the looming shortages suggest an end to the downward spiral.

This year’s favourites therefore take into account competitive effects on prices while focusing on the superior flavours delivered by regional specialties. This is one of Australia’s great but as yet unexploited qualities. Happy Christmas.


Moscato d’Asti (Castello di Poggio) 2005 $13.99
Dan Murphy’s import is a lovely example of this unique, low-alcohol white made from moscato grapes grown in the vicinity of Asti, Piedmont. Beautifully, fresh, light and crisp with delicious, sweet grapey flavours, it weighs in at just 5.5 per cent alcohol by volume. Sweet wines might be unfashionable for some in Australia, but Moscato d’Asti is catching on, as it ought. It’s a good case for regional specialisation, too, as few Australian attempts at this style capture the light, tingly fresh essential to balance the juicy, sweet grapiness. Reduces to $12.99 in case lots.

Meeting Place Canberra Shiraz 2003, 2004 $15
That things have not been quite right for Hardy’s Kamberra Winery shows in the backlog of stock in the market place. As smaller local wineries move into their 2005 shirazes, Kamberra offers both the 2003 and 2004 vintages of Meeting Place, with the absolutely stunning, trophy-winning 2005 not due for release until late next year. At $15 cellar door these are all exciting wines. We should all visit the Watson tasting room and stock up. And, while we’re there, take the opportunity to try the flagship Kamberra Shiraz and the sensational value Meeting Place Viognier.

Richmond Grove Watervale Riesling 2005 $14 to $18
Given its provenance, exceptional ageing ability, superb show record and the sheer drinking pleasure it provides, Richmond Grove Watervale Riesling surely ranks amongst Australia’s greatest value wine buys. The 2005, already with four gold medals to its name, delivers the classic, zesty, lime-like flavour, freshness and fine structure of riesling grown at Watervale, in the southern Clare Valley. Orlando Group White Winemaker, Rebekah Richardson, tells me it’s a blend of the best Watervale material of each vintage, as assessed by the Orlando team. That team, incidentally, includes veteran John Vickery, a key figure in the development of modern Australian riesling.


Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 $20 to $30
Two years ago I was fortunate to taste the entire sequence of Wynns Coonawarra cabernet’s from Ian Hickinbotham’s inaugural 1954 vintage (still drinking well) through to barrel samples of the 2003 and 2004 vintages. Clearly the wine has an extraordinary pedigree. Pleasingly the 2004 survived the journey from barrel to bottle and at the exhibitors’ tasting at the recent National Show delivered Coonawarra’s classic elegance with strength. Sue Hodder was there with her winemaking team and it was clear their chuffed by the finessing of this wine in recent years. It’s regularly on special below $25 and offered occasionally at $20. A bargain.

Di Georgio Coonawarra Emporio 2002 $23
After acquiring Rosemount a few years back, the late Southcorp (Southcorpse?) sold Rouge Homme winery and 13.5 hectares of lovely old vines to the Di Giorgio family. These vines are in the heart of old Coonawarra, next door to Wynns. Combine these unique vines with the viticultural experience of the Di Giorgio’s and winemaking expertise of Coonawarra veteran Peter Douglas and you get a stunning result at modest prices. The Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 and Shiraz 2002 are excellent examples of their styles. But Emporio – an elegant, refined blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc – really hits the excitement button.

Pizzini King Valley Pinot Grigio 2006 $19
& Sangiovese 2005 $26

At Wine Australia, Darling Harbour, in July, Fred Pizzini’s wines captured my attention for pure varietal expression and good value. It’s difficult to coax the best from pinot gris and sangiovese, but Fred ranks amongst the best in Australia with these two varieties. There’s a shimmering purity to the just-released 2006 pinot grigio, made in the tight, dry Italian style. Not that many Italian versions come near it in quality. And the same might be said of the pure, bright and fruity but dry and savoury sangiovese – a delightful red that simply wipes the floor with many commercial Chiantis. See


Lark Hill Canberra District Chardonnay 2005 $30
This is the best Canberra District chardonnay I’ve tasted. It’s sensational and, not surprisingly, comes from the vineyard with the best long-term chardonnay track record. It’s the culmination of two decades’ work by the Carpenter family with a few recent changes, in particular, seeming to have rounded off an already class act. The quality impact of biodynamic production is hard to quantify as the fruit was always good. But the use of wild-yeast ferments in just the right oak barrels, blocking palate-fattening malolactic fermentation and a screw cap seal mean a luxuriously textured, pristine varietal wine with the freshness and taut structure to evolve for many years.

Yalumba The Octavius 2002 $89.95
Yalumba’s inky, oaky Barossa shiraz began life in 1988 – a burly overstatement, says winemaker Brian Walsh that the old firm had renounced the wispy, wishy-washy reds of the 1980s. In recent vintages, however, ‘Oaktavius’, has become less inky, oaky and burly – thanks in part to a toning down of the oak regime – and increasingly seamless, without sacrificing its powerful Barossa fruit flavour. Recent tastings of the 1993, 2000 and 2002 vintages illustrated this progression from power and oak to power with elegance – the latter being partly attributable to unique vintage conditions. Octavius has progressed from exclamation mark to serious regional benchmark.

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 1996 $180-$240
This is a glorious Champagne and made a fitting toast at the passing of the equally glorious Len Evans in July. The all-chardonnay Taittinger Comtes de Champagne – sourced from top-ranking vineyards in the Champagne district’s Côtes-de-Blancs sub region – has Champagne’s elusive combination of intensity and delicacy. Without pinot noir in the blend the colour is a deceptively pale lemon, belying its ten years’ age. But that prolonged bottle ageing prior to release added a subtle patina of aromas, flavours and textures that simply enhances the wine’s extraordinary vivacity and freshness. This is about as good as aperitif style Champagne gets.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007

Aussie wine surplus evaporates

Depending on who you talk to, the wine surplus of a few months back has either turned to shortage already or, by a more conservative reading, might be on the wane, allowing supply and demand to harmonise by 2008/2009 – a few years earlier than previously expected.

While the turnaround is unlikely to mean an instant surge in wine prices, it may relieve the relentlessly downward pressure of recent years and breathe a little hope into a battered industry.

The dramatic and sudden change in fortune is a result of severe spring frosts and drought. Together these could reduce the 2007 grape harvest to “about 1.56 million tonnes, compared with a potential 1.94 million tonnes in an average season”, according to the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation’s Lawrie Stanford.

And the same adverse weather leave the “prospect of another low yielding season in 2008, which could see further draw-downs of stock to a balanced position as early as 2008-09 if export sales continue as forecast”.

Well-known winemaker, Brian Croser, disagrees with this outlook. In an interview on November 22nd, he expressed the view that the industry has moved into a period of grape shortage and that it was “all totally predictable”.

Croser argues that the last three vintages, at about 1.9millon tonnes, were above what you would expect long term averages to be for the area under vine.

At the same time wine exports had been growing steadily at the equivalent of about 65 thousand tonnes a year but little planting activity had been undertaken.

He estimates that with a dramatic frost/drought crop reduction in 2007 and 2008, and continuing growth in exports, that the shortage will continue.

The chief difference between the Croser and AWBC viewpoints seems to be that Croser believes we don’t have sufficient vines in the ground to service future demand whereas the AWBC does.

It bases this belief on an ability to draw down on surplus wine stocks and “greater production through precision vineyard management and higher extraction rates”.

But, as the AWBC’s Eric Wisgard told me, the figures they work with are far from precise. At best they are indicators, based on the best figures available, to be used for industry planning.

And, where Croser sees shortage looming, Wisgard says, “we don’t want to talk about planting” and reiterates the belief that our 150 thousand hectares of vines could lift its yield, in future to 2.1 to 2.2 million tonnes – well up from the 1.9 million odd of recent years.

From a grower’s point of view, the merits of a smaller forthcoming vintage depend very much on where you are.

While some growers face huge crop losses, others find that the shortfall brings previously unwanted grapes into play. For example, down in Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale Foster’s had advised some growers as recently as September that their grapes would not be required in 2007.

Now, says winemaker John Glaetzer, Foster’s have returned looking for chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon at guaranteed minimum prices — presumably in response to frost damage amongst those varieties in the company’s Limestone Coast vineyards.

The best reading I can make of the situation is that the slack has been taken up and that if export and domestic growth continue, price rises will inevitably trickle through. But it won’t be this Christmas as the red-hot festive retail wars are already exploding around us.


Champagne Cattier Chigny-Les-Rose $29.95 to $39.95
This is a Coles Myer import and can be found at their First Choice and Vintage Cellars outlets. Thankfully the potential margin advantage of importing direct appears to have been largely competed away, hence the very attractive pricing. It’s from vineyards in the vicinity of Chigny-Les-Roses, a village about ten kilometres south east of Reims. The robust flavour and structure reflects the dominance of pinot noir and pinot meunier in the blend, albeit without the complexity and polish of the more broadly based blends we see from the larger Champagne Houses.

Champagne Taittinger Brut Resérve NV $74.95
With a little more chardonnay in the blend than most NV’s (40 per cent versus about 33 – the remainder pinot noir and pinot meunier), good old Taitts is on the light and cheery side of Champagne, albeit with a rich and creamy mid-palate. This is a lovely, delicate aperitif style with the lightness of chardonnay and yummy brioche-like nuances of pinot meunier, the lesser of the two pinots, but indispensable nevertheless. Pinot meunier tends to fill the frost-prone dips in the Champagne region and is more fruitful than pinot noir in this situation as it buds later, giving it better odds of missing the chill.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007

Wine review — Tapanappa, Shaw Vineyard Estate, Seppelt, Zema Estate & Carlei

Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard Wrattonbully Cabernet Shiraz 2004 and Tiers Vineyard Piccadilly Chardonnay 2005 about $75
Brian Croser’s new Tapanappa releases come from single vineyards in Wrattonbully and the Piccadilly Valley, South Australia. The red, a blend of seventy per cent cabernet sauvignon, twenty per cent shiraz and ten per cent cabernet franc, is highly perfumed, elegant and supple, featuring delicious plummy fruit with beautifully matched oak and very fine tannins – an understated style with real fruit depth and, hence, longevity. The chardonnay, from the Croser family Tiers vineyard, shows cool-climate grapefruit and melon varietal character in a complex matrix of oak and lees derived flavours and textures — a very fresh, fine and slow-evolving style.

Shaw Vineyard Estate Murrumbateman Cabernet Merlot 2004 $20
Graeme Shaw built Hardy’s Kamberra Wine Tourism Complex and, with other investors, established 32 hectares of vines at Murrumbateman to feed the Hardy facility. With a percipient eye to the future, Graeme established his own wine label and now operates one of Canberra’s most imaginative cellar door outlets with a restaurant and attractive merchandise including authentic Modena Balsamics and Umbrian ceramics. The wines, too, are impressive, especially the 2004 vintage Cabernet Merlot, Cabernet Shiraz and Shiraz, contract made by Bill Calabria in Griffith. That’s a long but fruitful journey for the grapes but justified as the wines are outstanding. See

Seppelt ‘Benno’ Bendigo Shiraz 2004 $50, St Peters Grampians Shiraz 2004 $60
Seppelt Drumborg Riesling 2006 $30

Benno and St Peters are world-class reds – wines to sip, savour and marvel at – but without the $100 plus price tag of wines of comparable quality. Benno, from Bendigo, and the more robust of the two, is now in its second vintage and shows the class of the 2004 season. St Peters, from the St Peters, Imperial and Police Vineyards, Great Western, is finer boned and offers extraordinary flavour concentration with elegance – a truly great shiraz with enormous cellaring potential. Seppelt Riesling 2006 delivers the lime-like varietal intensity and brisk, acidic structure associated with the chilly Drumborg Vineyard, located near Portland.

Zema Estate Coonawarra Shiraz 2004 $21 to $26
When I close my eyes and think of Coonawarra shiraz I recall with fondness the elegant, under-oaked, limpid 1970s wines of Brands and Redman and the timeless, long-lasting classics of Wynns (especially the 1955). Zema 2004 fits this medium bodied mould – a gentle, supple shiraz with the more-ish ripe-berry flavours and fine tannins to invite another sip and remain interesting to the last drop. It’s just been released alongside the very good Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 ($26) and attractive Cluny 2003 ($26), a cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec blend. Available at the cellar door, and selected retail outlets.

Carlei Tre Bianchi 2005 $27, Tre Rossi 2005 $39 & Tre Amici 2005 $39
There’s nothing of me-too-ism in Sergio Carlei’s wines, sourced from Cardinia Ranges, Upper Goulburn, Lake Marmel and Yarra Valley, Victoria. There’s savoury, mouth-watering magic, for example, in Tre Bianchi – a sauvignon blanc, semillon, chardonnay blend that you might expect to be in your face fruity – but isn’t. Then combine earthy, spicy shiraz with summer-berry barbera and fragrant but mouth-puckering nebbiolo and you have savoury, taut Tre Amici. Tre Rossi, with a core of sweet-berry cabernet and merlot, also turns savoury and firm thanks, presumably to sangiovese, the majority variety in the blend. The wines are available via the website or call distributor, Domaine Wine Shippers, 03 9878 7848 for stockists.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007

Petaluma’s Brian Croser joins Bollinger, Lynch-Bages in Tapanappa venture downunder

In 2001 brewer Lion Nathan acquired Petaluma, the upmarket wine company founded by Brian Croser in 1976. In January 2003, Croser — in partnership with, Jean-Michel Cazes of Château Lynch-Bages, Bordeaux, and Société Jacques Bollinger, the parent company of Champagne Bollinger — purchased the Koppamurra vineyard at Wrattonbully, near Coonawarra.

The partnership — Tapanappa Wines Pty Ltd — changed the property name from Koppamurra to Whalebone Vineyard and made it the centrepiece of a new enterprise focusing on wines from distinguished sites.

And just in case you’re wondering how a little known vineyard in little known Wrattonbully became distinguished, it’s worth understanding Wrattonbully first. We’ll move on to Whalebone Vineyard and Tapanappa Wines next week.

Wrattonbully, the biggest of several new wine regions on South Australia’s Limestone Coast, sprawls for forty kilometres along the Naracoorte Tableland, touching Padthaway to the north and Coonawarra to the south.

Hemmed in by these venerable winemaking neighbours, Wrattonbully exploded into existence in the nineties, the product of high hopes and a global red wine boom.

Deterred by rising land prices and a lack of suitable sites in Coonawarra, winemakers moved decisively to Wrattonbully in 1993, attracted by lower land prices, soils and climate similar to those of Coonawarra and clean underground water.

Where two vineyards, covering just 20 hectares, existed in 1993, scores of broad acre plantings, totalling about 2600 hectares, had been planted by 2003.

Wrattonbully’s impressive growth is perhaps best seen in the context of the Limestone Coast overall. This vast area, taking in all of South Australia west of Victoria and south of Lake Alexandrina, now wears the crown as Australia’s largest premium wine growing district.

The Limestone Coast’s combined 2004 grape output of 172 thousand tonnes easily outweighs the 87 thousand tonnes of the combined Barossa and Eden Valleys, the next largest premium area.
Within the Limestone Coast, Wrattonbully holds the greatest concentration of grapes after its older neighbours – Coonawarra, established in 1891 (62 thousand tonnes in 2004) and Padthaway, established in 1964 (51 thousand tonnes).

Like Padthaway, much of Wrattonbully’s output goes to high quality cross-regional blends. But many grape growers and winemakers, seeing the exceptional quality potential in Wrattonbully, won’t settle for anonymity.

Its soils and climate, the outstanding winemaking achievements of nearby, similar Coonawarra and Padthaway and even its own short winemaking history all support this belief.

As in Coonawarra, Wrattonbully’s vineyards tend to be located on shallow terra rossa soils over limestone. These soils are composed principally of weathered limestone but also contain wind-borne material.

Despite the similarities between the two regions, there are important differences, too. Wrattonbully lies to the north of Coonawarra on a tableland elevated about 50 metres above the plain and to the east of the Kanowinka fault.

According to geologist David Farmer, about 780 thousand years ago “the country to the west of the fault fell about 40 metres, perhaps under the sea. It was against this cliff face that the Southern Ocean deposited the dunes comprising the West Naracoorte Range” – near the western edge of today’s Wrattonbully. It was perhaps another 100 thousand years before what is now Coonawarra rose above sea level.

Meanwhile Wrattonbully remained high and dry to the east of the range, But, where Coonawarra grape growing commenced 1890, Wrattonbully’s wine story began only in 1969. Then, in 1974, John Greenshields and others planted Koppamurra Vineyard – the site acquired by Tapanappa in 2003.

Part 2

In last week’s column we looked at the emergence of Wrattonbully, Coonawarra’s neighbour on South Australia’s Limestone Coast, and of Brian Croser’s acquisition in 2003 of the pioneering Koppamurra vineyard, established in 1974.

It was the first acquisition by Tapanappa Wines Pty Ltd, a company founded by Croser in partnership with Jean-Michel Cazes of Château Lynch-Bages, Bordeaux, and Société Jacques Bollinger, the parent company of Champagne Bollinger.

This followed Lion Nathan’s earlier acquisition of Petaluma Wines, founded by Croser in 1976 and headed by him until 2005.

Petaluma had been built, with the encouragement of Croser’s great mentor, Len Evans, on the basis of regional specialisation. Thus the Petaluma portfolio included Coonawarra cabernet and merlot from the Evans and Sharefarmers vineyards; Clare Valley riesling from the Hanlin Hill vineyard; Piccadilly Valley chardonnay from a number of carefully selected sites; Piccadilly Valley sparkling wine from sub-plots of those vineyards and, later, shiraz and viognier from Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills.

Losing control of Petaluma prompted Croser to establish Tapanappa along the same lines, though by now, almost thirty years after Petaluma’s birth, he had been articulating the merits of ‘distinguished vineyard’ sites, within specialised regions, for a decade or more.

Indeed, had Croser maintained control of Petaluma it’s almost certain that he would have added the thirty-year-old Koppamurra vineyard to its assets and produced a single vineyard wine from it.

Under Croser Petaluma had already acquired the Riddoch Vineyard, Wrattonbully’s oldest (established by Patrick and Susie Pender in 1969), and had begun to include a tiny quantity of excellent cabernet sauvignon from it as a legal out-of-district component of Petaluma Coonawarra – one of the region’s elite reds.

Croser also had some familiarity with wines from the Koppamurra Vineyard and had a particularly favourable impression of a 1980 cabernet he’d made for the Ashbourne label in conjunction with winemaking colleague Geoff Weaver.

Having acquired Koppamurra, Croser renamed it the Whalebone Vineyard — recognising the unique limestone geology of the region with its fossil rich caves and, in particular, the 35-million year old whale skeleton lying under the vineyard.

Croser made the first Tapanappa red from it in 2003 and in 2004 produced the shiraz cabernet blend reviewed last week and 2004 Merlot, due for release early next year.

And the Tapanappa line up now includes a Piccadilly Valley chardonnay 2005 from the Tiers vineyard, owned by Brian’s wife Ann. This was the first site planted to chardonnay by Croser in the Petaluma days and is well known, too, as source of Petaluma Tiers Chardonnay since 1996.

Tapanappa is also developing a pinot noir from a new vineyard at Parawa, described by Brian as “the coolest, wettest, windiest, lowest day time temperature place on Adelaide’s Fleurieu Peninsula. But that’s only if quality scrubs up to expectations.

What the Petaluma and Tapanappa wines share is an attempt to express and market terroir – the distinctive characteristics driven by the unique site of each vineyard.

Says Croser, “There’s an antipathy and resentment to the concept within the Australian wine establishment. But terroir is the dictionary around which the language of fine wine is written and talked about. If Australia doesn’t adopt it, we’ll be overtaken by Chile which has”.

Croser laments the commoditisation of Australian wine, evidenced by the collapse of our average export price from $4.77 per litre in 2002 to just $3.72 today. He knows that we have magnificent regional and single vineyard specialties. But the message is not getting out. That’s our new challenge.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007

A snapshot of Aussie and Kiwi pinots

Last week the Chateau Shanahan lined up ten pinot noirs from Australia and New Zealand to get a little snapshot of the state of play.

As the tasting consisted only of unsolicited samples, the omissions are greater than the inclusions. But it revealed that both countries now produce convincing pinots across a number of styles and even at the budget end.

That’s not a sniff of disapproval, by the way – just acknowledgement that pinot requires a cool climate, low yields and attentive winemaking to achieve a decent result. And for pinot, that means the word ‘budget’ implies a starting point more like $15 than the  $6 or $7 we might expect, for example, of entry point shiraz.

T’Gallant Juliet Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir 2005 $13.99
Before its acquisitions by Mildara Blass (and now a part of Fosters), T’Gallant built a reputation for pinot noir and a range of styles from pinot’s white mutant, pinot gris. The good work seems to be continuing under the corporate banner. Indeed, it was pleasing to sip at this luncheon style, budget-priced pinot noir.

Pinots at this price easily often taste more like raspberry cordial than wine. But Juliet, although light in colour and body, has clear varietal aroma and flavour with sufficient acid and backbone to complete the red-wine picture. Recommended for current drinking.

Ra Nui Marlborough Wairau Valley Pinot Noir 2005 $30
This is a fuller bodied and convincing pinot style from the Wairau Valley, the first and northernmost of the two major valleys now making up New Zealand’s Marlborough region. It has the silky depth to justify the $30 price tag and, encouragingly, provided outstanding drinking for three days after the bottle was opened. It’s imported by Tyrrells and should therefore enjoy wide distribution.

Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir 2005 $18.99
Stoneleigh was part of New Zealand’s Montana group, recently acquired by France’s Pernod Ricard. In the late nineties, the Montana team commenced serious work on pinot noir including means of scaling up ‘boutique’ pinot noir production methods for larger commercial output.

The Stoneleigh reds and whites tend to reflect the ripe flavours of the warmer, northern side of the Wairau Valley, origin of the brand. This 2005 certainly shows that ripeness – without losing varietal definition — and attendant firm tannins.

Matua Valley Marlborough Pinot Noir 2005 $19.99
This is another sound Foster-owned brand that, to my taste, is outclassed in the pinot budget stakes by neighbouring Stoneleigh, Mornington cellar mate T’Gallant Juliet and Austin’s Sixfootsix reviewed below.

Nautilus Marlborough 2005 $39.95
From the purpose-built Nautilus winery, this is on a par with the very best Marlborough pinots and could hold its own in a line up from New Zealand’s other pinot hot spots, Martinborough and Central Otago, too. It has a rare flavour intensity, texture and complexity. It’s owned by Yalumba (S. Smith and Son) and therefore enjoys good distribution in Australia. Limited production, however, means that it usually sells out soon after release.

Cockfighters Ghost Tasmania Pinot Noir 2004 $34.95
This was a surprise Tasmanian sample from David Clarke’s Hunter-based Poole’s Rock Winery. They make some terrific wines up there, but I couldn’t get excited about this one.

Yarra Ridge Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2005 $15.99
It’s a good price for pinot but to my taste doesn’t capture the varietal character as well as the similarly priced samples from T’Gallant and Austin’s Sixfootsix. Part of the Fosters group.

Austins Sixfootsix Geelong Pinot Noir 2005 $16
The eastern and western flanks of Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay both make excellent, top end pinot noir. And in this version from Austin’s Wines, Geelong, we see some of pinot’s true magic at a modest price. It looks, smells and tastes like pinot noir and even comes with the structure – built on high acid and fine tannin – not generally seen in cheaper versions.  This delivers the dry, satisfying, savoury drinking experience of a real red without sacrificing the varietal flavour, medium body and silky texture of pinot. It’s available from the cellar door, phone 03 5281 1799.

Kahurangi Estate Nelson Pinot Noir 2004 $25
Many years ago Neudorf of Nelson (a few hours drive west of Marlborough at the top of New Zealand’s South Island) demonstrated the chardonnay and pinot noir potential of this cool, sunny region. At the Chateau Shanahan tasting, Neudorf’s neighbour, Kahurangi, started slowly with its pale, slightly aged hue. But the perfume and fine, intense palate continues seduce as we sipped away at the bottle over several days. When most pinots have faded, this one showed the durability of the variety. It really is a subtle, delicious expression of pinot noir with the ability to offer something new with every sip.

De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2005 $27
Like the Kahurangi, above, this is another wine that grows in interest with each glass. It’s the product of the much-changed De Bortoli approach to viticultural and winemaking reported here some weeks back. Hand picked, hand sorted berries were indigenous yeast fermented whole in open tanks with cap plunging only towards the end of fermentation. After twenty-one days in contact with the skins, the wine was settled then gravity filled to oak casks for maturation then bottled without filtration. This low-intervention regime produced a complex, fine, intensely flavoured, deeply textured pinot to savour any time over the next ten years

The argument’s in the can

Last week’s article on the success in Germany of Rich Prosecco — the Paris Hilton endorsed Italian sparkling wine in a designer can — attracted an email from Melbourne based Barokes Wines.

Barokes say that in the last year, even without the help of Paris Hilton, they sold over 2.3 million cans of Australian wine worth $9.4 million, principally to Asia but with sales, too, in Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Europe and Scandinavia.

Like Rich Prosecco, Barokes canned wines appeal strongly to younger people accustomed to enjoying drinks, whether alcoholic or not, in ready-to-drink formats. But because Barokes offer a range of wine styles in cans – and spreads its marketing effort more widely, it may ultimately appeal to a broader demographic.

For example, Barokes is making headway in the competitive airlines business not because it appeals to a particular age group but because a can is lighter (and therefore cheaper to transport) and safer than glass.

Its growing success, like those of other innovative but controversial products, breaks down preconceived notions. In turn, this creates new commercial opportunities as well as benefiting the consumer.

Take, for example the wine cask. Who’d have thought that a plastic bag in box could drive a conservative industry’s popular sales push? But, in Australia, it did. And casks still account for around half of domestic wine sales. Originally a vessel for only cheap bulk wine, the cask later adapted to provide drinkers with more upmarket varietals at lower prices than could have been delivered in bottles.

And consumers have been clear winners from the recent re-introduction of screw caps – a move driven by producers fed up with cork’s shortcomings.

By introducing the screw cap to top end wines first, makers sent a clear message that the move was about quality, not economics. In breaking down our bias for cork, the screw cap opened the way for other innovative closures like the glass Vino-Lok and plastic Zork.

It also put the wind up what was a complacent cork industry to fight back with innovative, effective new hybrids like Diam – composed of fragmented cork, decontaminated and glued back into shape.

While the idea of wine in cans faces similar, early resistance to earlier innovations, it offers solutions to several problems.

From a marketing viewpoint, as Barokes have shown in Japan and Rich Prosecco in Germany, the package itself makes wine appealing to new audience.

On a larger scale the issue of shipping costs and global warming means that, inevitably, wine exporters will seek to reduce the weight of goods.

For some that might mean shipping in bulk and bottling in the destination country. While that means a reduction in added value to the country of origin, it’s an entirely logical choice for multinational companies concerned more with overall returns.

Another course of action will be to find lighter wine containers be they a new generation of glass, plastic or internally laminated aluminium cans.

Should cans enjoy broad commercial success – and Barokes efforts suggest that they could — then another of our wine biases comes under siege.

The idea of Grange in a can may seem far-fetched. But so did the notion of Grange under screw cap just a decade ago. Yet that will be the reality from the 2006 vintage*. What this shows is that innovation brings change, and not always in predictable ways.

 *Subsequent to this article being written Penfolds winemaker, Peter Gago, revealed a plan to develop a unique glass-on-glass seal for Grange. See ‘A new seal for Grange’, May 30th 2007 on this site.


Lark Hill Canberra District Chardonnay 2005 $30
This is the best Canberra District chardonnay I’ve tasted. It’s sensational and, not surprisingly, comes from the vineyard with the best long-term chardonnay track record. It’s the culmination of two decades’ work by the Carpenter family with a few recent changes, in particular, seeming to have rounded off an already class act.  The quality impact of biodynamic production is hard to quantify as the fruit was always good. But the use of wild-yeast ferments in just the right oak barrels, blocking palate-fattening malolactic fermentation and a screw cap seal mean a luxuriously textured, pristine varietal wine with the freshness and taut structure to evolve for many years.

PHI Lusatia Park Sauvignon 2006 $43, Chardonnay 2005 $48, Pinot Noir 2005 $52
A few weeks back I wrote of the graceful wines being made by Steve Webber and Leanne De Bortoli in the Yarra Valley. Steve and Leanne apply those same low-intervention principles in a joint venture with Stephen and Kate Shelmerdine, owners of Lusatia Park Vineyard. The wines express the subtlety and elegance of fruit from the Shelmerdine’s elevated, cool site in the southern Yarra Valley. To me the standout is the beautifully perfumed, fine, silky textured pinot noir. And the whites appeal, too, for their finesse, texture and subtle varietal expression. The wines are distributed by Mezzanine, phone 1300 136 561.

Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2005 $18 to $23
Yalumba offers three viogniers, each outstanding at its price – and little wonder. Since establishing Australia’s first significant plantings in the Eden Valley in 1980, they’ve worked hard to tame and bottle what winemaker Louisa Rose calls an ‘incredibly challenging’ and ‘unpredictable’ variety. The amazingly plush, complex $60-a-bottle ‘The Virgilius’ comes from those original plantings; and at the other end the $10-$13 ‘Y’ is a tasty South Australia blend. In between, at $18 to $23 retail, comes this opulent version from the Eden Valley. Partly barrel and partly tank fermented with indigenous yeast, it offers viognier’s unique and delicious apricot-like aroma and flavour and silky, slippery texture.

Paris Hilton, rich prosecco tinnes and gen Y

Rather than tut-tutting, Italian winemakers ought to applaud Guenther Aloys’ launch, in designer cans, of Rich Prosecco, a semi-sparkling wine from Italy’s Treviso Province.

In a series of Paris Hilton hosted parties, starting in a Tyrolean ski resort last April before fanning out over Germany (and even to Munich’s beer-drenched Oktoberfest), the little gold tinny and its contents seems to have been a huge success.

The promoters claim to have sold one million cans of Rich Prosecco in the four months following its release. One press release called it “Generation Y’s trendiest lifestyle beverage”.

And therein lies a hint for Australian winemakers as well as the Italian hand wringers. Unlike wine in traditional packaging, Rich Prosecco in cans appears to have broad appeal to young people.

Guenther Aloys’ success with Prosecco-in-can suggests that there’s at least one way forward in an oversupplied global industry facing a demographic crunch.

In its Australian Wine Industry, Challenges for the future report issued in October, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics writes, “Despite rising incomes in both traditional and non-traditional wine consuming countries, global demand for wine is not responding as more wine drinkers move into retirement (with attendant lower income) and younger age groups exhibit a preference for other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages”.

It’s worth noting, too, that there’s nothing novel in attracting drinkers to wine with light, fresh, fruity, slightly sweet flavours. It’s been a perennial theme in Australian winemaking and marketing – and very successful at times, too.

We’ve been spared Paris Hilton, at least, but it was just such a wine style – Barossa Pearl and a host of bubbly look-alikes – that in the fifties and sixties turned many Australians on to the pleasures of wine drinking.

Even without bubbles, crisp, fresh, slightly sweet, fruity wines – notably Lindemans Ben Ean Moselle — carried the pop wine drinking culture forward. And, more recently, we’ve seen mixed success with semi-sweeties like Glass Mountain and Soho.

And, of course, we shouldn’t forget one of the biggest selling sweeties of all, Brown Brothers Spaetlese Lexia. It’s been thriving for decades now.

But what none of these has achieved – from Barossa Pearl in the fifties to the still popular Spaetlese Lexia – is broad appeal to young adults. The market has generally been to a more mature person that may or may not move on to dry wines and will almost certainly drink less when older.

The success of Rich Prosecco, then, clearly lies more in the presentation than in its pleasant, undemanding flavours – a style described by Prosecco producers on the official regional website as being “made with the young and less expert consumer in mind”.

Those traditional producers might pooh-pooh the can, and even ban it in Italy. But Guenther Aloys’ designer packaging is more in tune with what younger drinkers are used to in their preferred tipple — pre-mixed drinks, mostly spirit based.

Throw in the colour of Paris Hilton, the glamour of ski resorts and top night-spots (and a premium price) and you have wine as fashion – meaning significant volumes for the producer and presumably good profits, too.

Australian winemakers have long wondered how to tap into the exploding ready-to-drink market. Rich Prosecco shows that it can be done. If it succeeds in Germany, why can’t similar products succeed with young people both here and in our major export markets?


Schloss Vollrads Rheingau Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken 2005 $26
This gold medal winner from Canberra’s International Riesling Challenge comes from Germany’s Rheingau district. Vines were first planted there in the eighth century and riesling recorded there since 1435. The latitude’s long, gentle growing season suits riesling so well that today it constitutes eighty-five per cent of the Rheingau’s vine plantings. The styles are wonderfully delicate and generally low in alcohol – with the sweeter wines as low as seven or eight per cent. This one, at eleven per cent, is a wonderful, teasing, pour-another-glass aperitif combining gentle sweetness with intense but delicate fruit flavour. Available at

Richmond Grove Watervale Riesling 2005 $14 to $18
Given its provenance, exceptional ageing ability, superb show record and the sheer drinking pleasure it provides, Richmond Grove Watervale Riesling surely ranks amongst Australia’s greatest value wine buys. The 2005, already with four gold medals to its name, delivers the classic, zesty, lime-like flavour, freshness and fine structure of riesling grown at Watervale, in the southern Clare Valley. Orlando Group White Winemaker, Rebekah Richardson, tells me it’s a blend of the best Watervale material of each vintage, as assessed by the Orlando team. That team, incidentally, includes veteran John Vickery, a key figure in the development of modern Australian riesling.

Printhie Orange Region Merlot 2005 $15
Merlot’s out of favour in some quarters at present, perhaps because so many Australian attempts at the style tend to be either green and hard or overburdened with oak or tannin. But this one – a silver medallist at the recent Orange Wine Show – demonstrated what good fruit, gently handled, can do. It’s from Printhie’s Phalaris Vineyard and, says winemaker Rob Black, winemaking focused on capturing the fruit flavour without extracting too much tannin. The appealing fragrance, elegant structure and simple, delicious fruit make it ideal for drinking right now. It seems Orange has a real future with this variety. See www

Orange wine region — high-altitude, high-quality wine

It’s amazing what a bit of altitude and rainfall can do to a wine region. To see what I mean, hop in the car one weekend for the three-hour drive to Orange, via Yass, Boorawa, Cowra, Canowindra and Cargo.

I did this last week to judge at the Orange Region Wine Show. In the forty-minute drive from Cowra to Orange the temperature dropped by ten degrees. On the drive home a few days later it was nineteen degrees and raining in Orange and, twenty minutes later, twenty-six degrees and dry at Cargo

What makes Orange so special – and different, I believe, from any other wine region on the west of the NSW Great Divide – is this cooler climate and tendency to higher rainfall.

Not that Orange is wet at the moment. It, too, is in the grip of drought. But the long-term average rainfall is around 850mm, determined, the locals tell me, by the impact of 1395-metre Mount Canobolas on local weather.

The Canobolas range, too, provides the altitude that makes Orange so genuinely cool as a grape-growing region. Even though the official low point of the region is 600 metres, many vineyards lie between 800 and 1000 metres.

Not surprisingly, some of the higher points under vine are on land previously devoted to orchards – which remain an important part of the local economy.

And though Orange has its share of small vineyard/winemaking operations, broadacre developments are common, giving Orange the potential to build substantial regional brands as well as accommodating the boutique wineries that usually build regional identity in the first place.

By my estimate just five vineyards account for 1046 of the 1350 hectares of vines planted in the region. Of these, Cumulus Wines’ Rolling vineyard, near Molong, is comfortably the biggest at 508-hectares.

Formerly the Little Boomey Vineyard, part of the ill fated, publicly listed Reynolds Wines, Rolling might serve as a model for those contemplating purchase of the Kamberra Winery here in Canberra.

The vineyard and thirty thousand tonne winery might have become white elephants had it not been for wealthy new owners with a flair for marketing. The Cumulus operation now makes and markets the innovatively packaged and superb Rolling and Climbing brands – both sourced from the Rolling Vineyard.

This is a story in itself, to be covered in a future column. Suffice to say that this venture alone is already taking Orange and Central Ranges wines to global and domestic audiences.

The scale of operations in Orange, combined with the inherent quality of the fruit and the advanced skills of both small and large winemakers, make it perhaps the most promising wine region in New South Wales.

The chardonnays, in particular, have been particularly impressive over the years – notably those by Rosemount Estate and Canobolas Smith.

Tasting 162 wines at the regional show confirmed chardonnay as the standout variety. But the quality overall was very high with notably few faulty wines and an impressive display of graceful, deeply flavoured wines in the riesling, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz classes, too.

Merlot, too, showed great potential and the pinot class delivered one outstanding wine. In reality, though, Orange won’t prove to be all things to all people. The diversity of altitude, soils and aspects may suggest a range of specialties but probably no other variety will prove to be as uniformly excellent as chardonnay.

Cumulus Wine Climbing Orange Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $19 to $21
Cumulus is the phoenix rising from the ashes of the Reynolds wine disaster. The thirty thousand tonne winery and 580-hectare vineyard that might have become white elephants are under new ownership that says its exporting the Rolling and Climbing brands – as well as the separate Philip Shaw label – to over twenty countries. Philip Shaw showed me this stunning wine in Canberra a week before the Orange Show. And then at the show it topped the cabernet class by a comfortable margin. It offers ripe, well-defined cassis varietal flavour with the cedary complexity of oak and a firm, tight structure. A bargain.

Patina Orange Chardonnay 2003 $27
That cool Orange is suited to chardonnay shows in the results of last week’s regional show where I judged with James Halliday and Celine Rousseau. In a field of twenty-one chardonnays we awarded three gold medals, four silver medals and ten bronze medals. These were delicious wines covering a range of styles. A taste-off of the three gold medallists yielded this unanimous trophy winner, made by Gerald Naef from his vineyard at 930 metres above sea level. The intensity and freshness of fruit and harmony of flavour components is extraordinary for a three year old. It’s available at cellar door, see

Mayfield Icely Road Orange Sauvignon Blanc 2005
At the Orange regional show, the forty-hectare Mayfield Vineyard impressed with a range of wines, winning gold medals and trophies for each of its Icely Road Riesling 2006, Icely Road Sauvignon Blanc 2006 and Mayfield Vineyard Pinot Noir 2005. To cap it off, Mayfield also won a trophy as most successful exhibitor in the field of 162 wines. The 2005 Sauvignon Blanc appealed for its zesty, citrusy, minerally flavours; the 2006 Riesling for its floral aroma and delicate palate; and the Pinot Noir 2005 for its silky, plush texture and clear varietal flavour. See

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2006 & 2007