Wine review — Brindabella Hills, Clonakilla & Meeting Place

Brindabella Hills Canberra District Sauvignon Blanc 2006 $15
It seems appropriate that Dr Roger Harris — the scientist whose CSIRO colleagues identified methoxypyrazene compounds as sauvignon blanc’s pungent flavour source — should make such a wonderful expression of it. The 2006 is just delicious – fresh and zesty with juicy, refreshing tropical-fruit flavours to enjoy over the warm months ahead. It’s a bargain at $15, cellar door. And at $25 Brindabella Hills Shiraz 2004 offers the fragrant, fine-boned, savoury richness of cool climate shiraz. To my taste this is the best yet from Roger and Fay Harris’s vineyard on the lower, warmer Murrumbidgee Valley side of Hall.

Clonakilla Canberra District Shiraz Viognier 2005 $78
Canberra’s most celebrated wine easily topped a tasting of local shirazes at Chateau Shanahan this week. That it did so comes as no surprise. And it’s worth remembering, too, that like most style benchmarks Clonakilla is no overnight sensation. Shiraz from the Kirk family vineyard was blended with cabernet from the mid seventies until the first straight shiraz appeared in 1990. In 1992, Tim Kirk added viognier to the blend (from vineyards planted in 1986) and hit the spot with international critics consistently from the late nineties. What we see now is a highly perfumed, silky red of great intensity and remarkable finesse.

Meeting Place Canberra District Viognier 2005 $15
It’s grown on a new vineyard at Holt, it’s irrigated with grey water from the lower Molonglo treatment works and it’s already recognised as one of the best value viognier’s in Australia. If it lacks the restraint and depth of Clonakilla’s $50 version, it pleases with, pure, full, citrus/apricot flavour and thick, viscous texture of the variety — beautifully made at Kamberra Winery by Alex McKay. Alex believes that the wine will become increasingly intense and interesting in future vintages as the vines mature. While it’s probably best to enjoy the 2005 as a young wine, the 2004 is still remarkably fresh and enjoyable.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2006 & 2007