Wine review — Balnaves, Tim Adams & Deen De Bortoli

Balnaves Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 about $35
2002 in Coonawarra was a small and very cool vintage. This produced many wines with great flavour concentration but also many cabernets showing the distinct leafy, green edge of under ripened fruit. Presumably through rigorous fruit selection, winemaker Pete Bissell sidestepped the latter problem to produce this particularly fragrant, elegant and silky cabernet — albeit with the firm backbone typical of the variety. At four years’ age it delivers powerful cabernet varietal aroma, flavour, structure and elegance but also the complexity and drinking satisfaction that comes with a little bottle age.

Tim Adams Clare Valley Shiraz 2004 about $26
Tim Adams began cranking out robust, satisfying Clare shiraz about twenty years ago. Gradually, as traced in this column a few years back, he refined the style, turning up the fruit volume and settling into a sympathetic oak maturation regime. While the incremental improvements show to the fullest in his flagship shiraz, The Aberfeldy, this one’s a chip off the old block. It shows typical Clare perfume that says “I’m shiraz and I’m from Clare”, and a matching buoyant, vibrant fruitiness on the palate. It has the intensity to carry a fair load of warming alcohol and a sturdy but soft tannin frame.

Deen De Bortoli Vat 8 Shiraz 2004 about $9.99
With a recommended price of $9.99 it’s odds on you’ll be able to find this rich, juicy drop for dollars a bottle cheaper. Company blurb says it’s sourced from the Riverina district and a few sips says the Riverina’s doing well with this variety – the aroma, flavour and structure are all about juicy, ripe, slightly spicy varietal shiraz. It’s soft and flavoursome and ready to enjoy now. Unusually for a wine of this price, it was matured for a year in older oak barrels – an incredibly important step in making satisfying, mellow red wines. It’s ready to enjoy right now.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2006 & 2007