Wine review — Temple Bruer, Backvintage & Jones Road

Temple Bruer Langhorne Creek Shiraz Malbec 2005 $17.50
& Preservative Free Cabernet Merlot 2007 $20

Langhorne Creek has been called Australia’s middle-palate, thanks to its broadacre plantings and high-quality fruit that disappears anonymously into commercial blends. But several small operators, like David Bruer’s 27-hectare, organically certified Temple Bruer vineyard, offer regionally labelled products.  David delivers huge value in his generous, new-release Shiraz Malbec blend. It’s an unusual coupling but works deliciously. The malbec adds that extra depth of purple colour and great richness and firmness. The preservative-free wine avoids oxidation, it seems, through sheer youth combined with high acid and tannin. This provides fruity, if somewhat raw drinking for those allergic to sulphur dioxide. See

Backvintage Wairarapa Sauvignon Blanc 2006 $11.99
& McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004 $11.99

Like every winegrowing country Australia has a rich heritage of ‘merchant’ labels – wine brands created by merchants who buy, blend and sometimes even make wine from numerous regions. Backvintage is a newcomer to the ranks, founded in 2003, and offering its products direct to drinkers from its store in salubrious Northbridge, Sydney, and via Canberra-based Master of Wine, Nick Bulleid selects the wine and seems on the money with several that I’ve tasted. The Kiwi sauv blanc is the real thing – pungent and in-your-face, with rich mid palate and high-acid, truly dry finish. The red shows the attractive aromatics of the vintage with lovely soft, satisfying tannins.

Jones Road Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir 2005 $32
& Chardonnay 2005 $29

The Frewer family established Jones Road vineyard on the Westernport Bay side of Mornington Peninsula in 1997. Their website – — tells us that Rob Frewer and son Matthew manage the vineyard and that the wines are made in the Yarra by Rob ‘sticks’ Dolan and Travis bush – an accomplished team. What really counts of course is how good the wines are. And both of these new releases show the combined qualities of superior fruit and good winemaking. The finely textured, silky smooth chardonnay is an outstanding expression of the variety.  The pinot is perfumed, elegant, refined and complex with a lovely earthy, savoury note.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007