Wine review — Ravensworth, Eileen Hardy & Madfish

Ravensworth Canberra District Shiraz Viognier 2005 $30
Winemaker Bryan Martin works at Clonakilla Wines, Murrumbateman, helping Tim Kirk with the Clonakilla products and making his own wines under the Ravensworth label. Bryan’s first Ravensworth Shiraz Viognier blend improves significantly on the very good straight shirazes of recent years. It’s a seamless, seductive drop squarely in the highly aromatic, savoury, refined style pioneered by Clonakilla and glimpsed in several others from the Murrumbateman and Hall sub regions. Ravensworth is another significant wine for Canberra, cementing shiraz as the district’s great specialty. It’s wine of this calibre that’ll put Canberra on the map. Available from Bryan via

Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2004 $48 to $50
Since tasting this in a twenty-vintage line up last year Eileen 2004 went on to blitz the Australian show circuit – blowing the judges away as surely as it did the tasters at our vertical line up. It’s the first Eileen to come screw cap sealed, guaranteeing current freshness and a steady evolution in bottle. With some benchmark chardonnays pushing to $100 a bottle and beyond, Eileen looks undervalued, given its quality and pedigree. Made by Tom Newton, it’s a blend from Tasmania (fifty per cent), Hoddles Creek (Yarra Valley) and Tumbarumba. This is opulent but restrained, complex chardonnay of the highest order.

Madfish ‘Gold Turtle’ Frankland River Shiraz 2004 $17 to $21
Madfish is Howard Park’s budget label — in the relative sense anyway, since the standard wines cost $35-odd. Since the introduction of Madfish, smart consumers have lapped up its outstanding value-for-money offerings.  And now the introduction of a straight Frankland River shiraz to the line (replacing the Margaret River-Great Southern-Blackwood Valley blend) raises hopes that this, too, will be caught up in the retail price wars – and the chance of the odd bargain at $15. It’s a terrific, vibrant red featuring pure, intense ripe-cherry aroma and dense, intensely fruity, silky textured palate with a pleasing savoury edge. It’s a classy and elegant red at the price.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2006 & 2007