Hatherleigh Pinot Noir 2003 & 2004 $35
One of the industry’s most respected figures recently moved, unheralded, to Canberra. Nick Bulleid, Master of Wine, partner in Brokenwood Wines, consultant, show judge, Champagne Award Winner etc etc, arrived here from Lagan (near Crookwell) where he and partner, Susan Herborn, had planted a pinot vineyard between 1996 and 1999. These wines, made by Nick and Brokenwood’s PJ Charteris, are the first two under the Hatherleigh vineyard name. 2004 delivers the variety’s delightful perfume and supple depth; 2003, partly as a result of a juice-spilling accident, is little more burly and tannic, but still offers intense, ripe, varietal flavour. They’re available from Nick, phone 0418 688 794.
d’Arenberg McLaren Vale The Money Spider Roussanne 2006 $20
d’Arenberg McLaren Vale The Sticks and Stones Tempranillo Grenache Souzao 2004 $30
d’Arenberg, The Vale’s master of the Rhône Valley red varieties grenache, shiraz and mourvedre, some years back turned its hand, with equal panache, to the white varieties, marsanne, viognier and roussanne. The shy Roussanne appealed again at a recent dinner. It’s silky smooth, offers stone-fruit-like flavour and is subtle, more-ish and deliciously crisp and refreshing. But there’s more. In 2004, winemaker Chester Osborne took Spain’s natural red partners — tempranillo and grenache – added a splash of the rustic souzao (Spain and Portugal), to produce a lovely, full, fruity, savoury, and distinctive dry red. There’s lots of detail on www.darenberg.com.au
Wyndham Estate Bin 777 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2006 $11-$14
I’ve tasted this several times now, at the dinner table as well as on the tasting bench. It really gives some of the more expensive sauv blancs a run for their money. The winemaking team behind it includes luminaries like Phil Laffer and Bernard Hickin. They’re masters of the large commercial blend, and take pride in impressing drinkers who actually taste wines rather than read labels. They know that a judicious blend that includes material from top-ranked regions and bulk regions delivers the right flavour at the right price. They’ve done it with this gold-medal and trophy-winner from the 2006 National Wine Show.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007