Lenton Brae Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2005 $19
The Tomlinson family operates this small, much loved — and very vocal on wine-tax-issues –winery, located at Willyabrup in the heart of Margaret River. It makes one of the region’s more serious Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends, opting for the subtle use of barrel fermentation to add complexity to what is, more often than not, a simple, zesty all fruit style. The barrel influence adds considerable textural richness and subtle aroma and flavour nuances to the rich-semillon, herbal-tangy-sauvignon blend. The price is at the lower end of the oaked versions of this regional style and therefore good value if you want something with character.
Domain Day Viognier 2004 $25, Pinot Noir 2004, Sangiovese 2004, Saperavi 2004 $28
After a long stint at Orlando Wines, for several years as chief winemaker, Robin Day established his own vineyards at Mount Crawford in the elevated, cool southeastern extremity of the Barossa. Robin’s 30-year viticultural and winemaking experience shows in the superior quality of wines he makes from traditional varieties and the more exotic viognier, sangiovese, saperavi, lagrein, garganega and sagrantino. The latest releases, all from the difficult and hot 2004 vintage, deliver great individuality from the rich but refined viognier, to the lighter but well structured pinot, to the bright and fruity but savoury sangiovese, to the mouthfilling, exotic saperavi – a native of Georgia, Russia. See domaindaywines.com
Coriole McLaren Vale Sangiovese 2004 $17 to $20
Mark Lloyd’s Coriole, McLaren, was one of the first Australian wineries to work with the Italian variety sangiovese – probably best known to Australian drinkers as the principal variety in Chianti. Recent vintages, to my taste, have been amongst the best to come from the property as deliver a great intensity of clean fruit flavour as well as the tight, fine, tannic structure of the variety. There are parallels with shiraz in the big volumes of flavour – but an utter contrast in structure. Where shiraz tends to be round and soft, sangiovese starts fruity, then descends to a teasing, dry, savoury, earthy finish.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2006 & 2007