Wine review — Morris of Rutherglen, De Bortoli Sacred Hill & d’Arenberg

Morris Rutherglen Shiraz 2001 $12 to $16
While I suspect the extra bottle age has more to do with sluggish sales than maturation policy, I won’t argue – it’s just so rare to find maturing reds at the right price. A winner of a gold medal and trophy at last year’s Great Australian Shiraz Challenge, Morris 2001 delivers generous Rutherglen Shiraz flavours without the mind numbing levels of alcohol, oak or tannin sometimes seen from hot growing areas. It offers juicy, mouthfilling fruit flavour with ample soft tannins to give structure and real-red drinking satisfaction. At five years’ it’s perfectly mature and ready to enjoy.

De Bortoli Sacred Hill Shiraz Cabernet 2005 $4.50 to $6
They say you get what you pay for. But the present grape surplus and perennial retail price war means more flavour for your dollar. On special at $4.50 a bottle, Sacred Hill surely gives Chateau Cardboard an edge in the daily-quaffing stakes with its clean, fresh, plummy fruit aroma, generous flavour and soft tannins. It even has a pleasant vanilla-like oak character, attributable, the makers are honest enough to admit, to maturation on oak staves in the tanks, not barrel maturation. A very slight level of sweetness also helps to fill the mid palate.

d’Arenberg McLaren Vale Tempranillo Grenache Souzao 2003 $37
In Chester Osborne’s latest red, tempranillo and grenache (familiar blending partners in Spain), join the less familiar souzao, a colourful but coarse native of Portugal, in a decidedly savoury, earthy and exotic blend for the adventurous drinker. The medium colour belies the wine’s great power – suggested by the herbal, earthy nose, then delivered in spades on a deep, tightly structured, every-changing palate. Each sip reveals something new and interesting. And it bears d’Arenberg stamp: a core of ripe, intense fruit flavour completely integrated with complex savoury and earthy characters. I suspect that this one will evolve for many years.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2006 & 2007