Wine review — Leasingham Bastion, Brookland Valley & Jim Barry

Leasingham Bastion Clare Valley Riesling 2005, Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 $10 to $14
What a terrific couple of new releases from Leasingham, the Clare Valley arm of Hardy Wine Company. The white delivers the freshness, delicacy and vitality of Clare riesling with that extra fruit power of the excellent 2005 vintage. It’s just perfect for the remaining warm months. Bastion Cabernet 2003 offers rich, regional chocolaty, minty varietal aromas backed by generous, mouthfilling flavours and the variety’s firm, satisfying tannins. Both of these regional specialties offer good value at $14 but the inevitable specials at $10 to $11 put them in bargain territory – another benefit of the intensely competitive environment.

Brookland Valley Reserve Margaret River Chardonnay 2003 $60-$65
I wonder why this beautiful wine, from the Western edge of the Hardy empire, is priced slightly higher than the company’s flagship Eileen Hardy Chardonnay? That anomaly aside, Brookland Reserve is one to savour drop by drop: the colour, aroma and flavour all show youthful, slow-evolving wine of exceptional dimension – a truly outstanding example of first class fruit warranting wild-yeast, barrel-fermentation and maturation. What might be intrusive inputs on lesser fruit, in this instance projects chardonnay at its opulent, just-one-more-sip best. And it has the structure to evolve with further cellaring.

Jim Barry The McRae Wood Clare Valley Shiraz 2002 $39.95
The unusually cool 2002 vintage produced wines of great concentration and sometimes elegance in South Australia’s warmer regions. While the term ‘elegance’ doesn’t quite fit this opulent 15.5 per cent alcohol red, the benign vintage conditions probably account for the impressive, sweet lift to the aroma and enormously concentrated palate. Although the fashion pendulum is swinging slowly but decisively towards more graceful, supple styles, there’s still widespread support for robust, traditional reds – especially when, like McRae Wood, they combine generosity of fruit with soft, juicy, easy-on-the-gums tannins. It’s a style that comes into its own with the onset of cold weather.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2006 & 2007