Shelmerdine Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2004 $24-$26
This was the Chateau Shanahan preferred wine of three mid-$20’s 2004 Yarra Valley pinots tasted recently. St Huberts 2004, while pleasant, captured little of pinot’s magic; Giant Steps 2004 presented the dark-berry fruit, power and gaminess of the variety – a very, very good wine on a quality par with the Shelmerdine wine — which edged ahead on a style preference. A tad paler in colour than Giant Steps, Shelmerdine expressed some of pinot’s elusive, seductive perfume, plush fruit flavour and fine acid/tannin backbone. The intensity of fruit flavour and persistent tannins suggest a made-in-the-vineyard approach. Winery telephone number is 03 5433 5188
Rolling Central Ranges Chardonnay 2005 ($15), Climbing Orange Chardonnay 2005 ($20)
Former Rosemount winemaker Philip Shaw sources these lovely wines from the ‘rolling’ hills below 600 metres in the Central Ranges and from the adjoining ‘climbing’ slopes above 600 metres within the Orange appellation. The first is a pure, zesty, expression of chardonnay – strongly flavoured but deliciously crisp and dry. The second introduces the finer fruit character of the higher altitude subtly enhanced in texture, aroma and flavour by barrel fermentation and maturation. Both are polished, subtle, vivacious wines with capacity to evolve with age. Climbing, in particular, should reward a three-year rest in the cellar.
Redden Bridge Wrattonbully The Crossing Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 & Gully Shiraz 2002, both about $30
These are two outstanding single-vineyard wines produced by Greg Koch, a leading grower from Wrattonbully, the large newish wine-region abutting Padthaway to the north and Coonawarra to the South. I’ve tasted the wines during judging at the Limestone Coast Show, with Greg on his own turf and more recently in Canberra. They’ve passed the test every time. The cabernet sauvignon is textbook varietal, with a rare mid-palate richness and a very slight leafy – but not green — character. The shiraz is beautiful – ripe, generous and spicy with soft, fine tannin structure. And the trophy-winning 2003 is even better. Distributed by Winetrust Estates, phone 02 9949 9250
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2006 & 2007