Wine review — Bridgewater Mill, De Bortoli & Seppelt

Bridgewater Mill Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2005 $16 to $18
In general I’d rate Marlborough sauv blancs a country kilometre ahead of those from the Adelaide Hills. Marlborough’s offerings deliver buckets of pungent varietal character plus the full, juicy mid-palate richness often lacking in the local versions plus a unique, racy acidity. The 2005 vintage, however, seems to have tripped the sauv blanc switch at Bridgewater Mill, producing all the giggle and slurp deliciousness you’d ever want from the variety. It’s stunningly fresh, rippling with in-your-face varietal fruitiness (a spectrum of flavours from passionfruit to capsicum) and with a pleasing, teasing dryness, accentuated by a spine of zingy acidity.

De Bortoli Hunter Valley Shiraz 2004 $15 to $17
You can do amazing things with weird, wonderful, idiosyncratic Hunter shiraz. It’s off most red drinkers’ radar. But how many other red wines stand up to chilli, cardamom, cumin and the like – as this one did at Flavours of India restaurant, Civic. It’s not big and brawny like a Rutherglen shiraz; not opulent and alcoholic like a Barossa; nor supple and elegant like the Seppelt shiraz below. No. None of those would’ve worked. De Bortoli took on the heat and kaleidoscope of spicy flavours not with power or subtleness but with love-em-or-hate-em, earthy, raunchy, savoury Hunter flavours. Pass the bottle please.

Seppelt Victorian Shiraz 2004 $14 to $17
After enduring Canberra’s record hot summer, it’s probably hard to recall the two-week February heat wave that literally cooked the flavour out of much of Australia’s 2004 wine harvest. However, winemaker Arthur O’Sullivan’s central, western and southern Victorian domain missed the worst of the February heat then entered a benign, mild ripening season. “It’s a memorable vintage”, Arthur says – a view supported by the first of Seppelt’s 2004 red releases. A blend from the Grampians, Pyrenees, Glenlofty, Strathbogies and Bendigo, this is a fragrant, supple, and very fine example of just-one-more-glass-please cool climate shiraz. It’s screw cap sealed and should evolve well for about a decade.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2006 & 2007