Wine review — Brother in Arms, Wirra Wirra & Pizzini

Brothers in Arms Langhorne Creek No. 6 Shiraz Cabernet 2004 $22
In 1932 Jack Kilgour made Stonyfell Private Bin Claret, a shiraz cabernet blend from the Metala vineyard, Langhorne Creek. In 1959 the wine, Jack’s last, adopted the vineyard name and is still sold today as Stonyfell Metala Shiraz Cabernet. While Foster’s owns the Stonyfell brand, the vineyard, with vines dating from 1891, belongs to the Adams family. As well as selling fruit from the 280-hectare vineyard, the family produces two excellent reds – the bright, smooth and plush 2004 No. 6 Shiraz and a mellow, satisfying 2002 Shiraz ($45). Historically, much of Langhorne Creek’s output provided a smooth richness to multi-region blends. The Adams family is intent on displaying the regional character undiluted. See

Wirra Wirra Woodhenge McLaren Vale Shiraz 2005 $30 & Adelaide Hills 12th Man Chardonnay 2006 $24.50
This is a very smart double act from winemaker Samantha Connew – silk-smooth, opulent shiraz from warm McLaren Vale and citrusy, complex chardonnay from the cool heights of Lenswood in the Adelaide Hills. The shiraz comes from ‘some of Wirra Wirra’s oldest vineyards’, the press release tells us. And it shows the flavour concentration and smooth, fine tannins of top grapes and gentle winemaking. The chardonnay has the fruit intensity to handle Burgundian winemaking tricks like high-solids, indigenous yeast ferments in oak barrels. These add texture and a tasty patina of flavours that enhance the delicious fruit. See

Pizzini King Valley Sangiovese 2005 $24
This is surely one of Australia’s best-value red wines. Over an excellent meal at Mezzalira recently, it impressed once again (yes, I know I’ve reviewed it before), especially as it held its own against a couple of $70 reds. Fred Pizzini has been making it for decades now and the maturity of the vineyards and winemaking show in the wine’s depth and polish. It starts bright and fruity. But a few sips reveal a more complex, savoury dimension as well as the firm, fine tannin backbone of the variety. I suspect that this will be a vintage to age well for five or six years, though there’s no need to wait. Our bottle disappeared rapidly enough. See

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007