Wine review — Lerida Estate, Henschke & Clos Pierre

Lerida Estate Lake George Reserve Shiraz 2005 $49.50, Pinot Noir 2006 $22
Jim Lumbers and Anne Caine planted the first vines at Lerida Estate – the southernmost of the three vineyards flanking Lake George – in 1997. They later added the striking Glen Murcott designed winery-cellar door-café building. I’ll be covering Lerida and its neighbours in my Wednesday column over the next few weeks. And in a brief visit recently thought these two estate-grown wines to be outstanding. The shiraz, a gold medal winner, is a generous, silky wine with lovely, peppery, cool-climate varietal character. The pinot is the best I’ve seen from the estate yet. It’s clean as a whistle and though in a lighter style, shows pure varietal perfume, flavour and layered texture.

Henschke Lenswood Croft Chardonnay 2006 $45, Lenswood Giles Pinot Noir 2005 $46, Mount Edelstone Shiraz 2004 $93, Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
These and the Abbott’s Prayer Merlot and Louis Semillon reviewed last week make up the current Henschke release – an extraordinary line up of estate-grown Eden Valley and Lenswood wines. Croft Chardonnay shows the white peach character and finesse and style of cool-grown chardonnay; Giles Pinot shows very pure, fine varietal character and depth; Mount Edelstone expresses Eden Valley shiraz from very old vines: it’s highly aromatic, has limpid colour with an elegant structure to match and delivers exceptional flavour concentration without heaviness. ‘Cyril’, too, shows great flavour concentration in its own very cabernet way – and that means heaps of firm tannin to match the powerful fruit.

Clos Pierre Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2005 $15.90 to $20
Burgundian winemaker Pierre Naigeon met France’s trade commissioner while visiting Australia, married her and now has the perfect excuse to return with her each year. In an exchange arrangement with De Bortoli’s Steve Webber, Pierre makes Yarra Valley pinot noir at De Bortoli’s winery while Steve makes real Burgundy in the village of Gevrey-Chambertin. Woolworths buys Naigeon’s Aussie pinot and other wines, offering them under the Clos Pierre label at Dan Murphy outlets. The 2005 Pierre’s second vintage continues to drink well six months after its release and delivers much of this difficult variety’s charms at a low price.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007