Wine review — Nigl, Madfish & Penfolds

Nigl Senstenberger Piri Grüner Veltliner 2005 $30.50
It’s aromatic and finely structured like riesling and has a slight musky note like gewürztraminer – but not the oiliness. But, in the end, grüner veltliner is its own beast. And grown in cool Austria (Piri vineyard, village of Senstensberg) that means a racy acid backbone as well as delicacy and attractive floral aroma. It’s a delight to drink now and is probably best as an aperitif or with delicate food. Nigl is available by making advance orders through Winewise magazine proprietor, Lester Jesberg, phone 0412 148 577. The late ripening grüner veltliner seems particularly well adapted to Austria.

Madfish Margaret River Carnelian 2005 $24
Carnelian, says Jancis Robinson, emerged ‘from professor Olmo’s California nursery only in 1972′. She writes that Professor Olmo crossed an earlier crossing of cabernet sauvignon and carignan with grenache, seeking to produce ‘a hot-climate variety with some cabernet class’. While professor Olmo’s aspirations are not entirely fulfilled, the Madfish wine (a second label of Howard Park) is interesting and tasty. The colour is a stunning purple and the aroma and flavour based on rich blueberry-like character. We can probably attribute the vibrancy and perfume to grenache, the colour to carignan and grippy, assertive tannins to both cabernet and carignan.

Penfolds Bin 138 Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2005 $15.80 to $26
The extraordinary competitiveness of the wine retail market – driven by oversupply, big-retailer aggression and, perhaps, by Fosters (Penfolds’ parent company) alarming loss of market share – shows in a price tag that’s dollars below that of last year’s release. I’ll offer a fuller commentary on this and the Penfolds release in next Wednesday’s column. In the meantime, if you can find Bin 138 at $15.80 — as offered by both Kemeny’s of Sydney and Dan Murphy in recent weeks — grab a case or two. If the 2005 lacks the aromatic grenache highlights of the 2004, it makes up with deep, savoury flavours that’ll only grow in appeal as the wine ages.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007