Wine review — Yalumba Wrattonbully, Paxton & Oakvale

Yalumba Wrattonbully Vineyards Marsanne Viognier 2006 $18.55
What a scrumptious drop – oozing with vibrant rich viognier, tempered somewhat by the more restrained marsanne, and with the silk-smooth texture that comes from barrel fermentation and ageing. It’s one of several outstanding new releases from Yalumba: Mawson’s Hill Block 3 Wrattonbully Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 and Bridge Block 7A Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (both $14.95) from vineyards established in the mid nineties; and the powerful Yalumba The Signature ‘Alan Hoey’ Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2003 ($42.95); idiosyncratic, wonderful The Octavius Barossa Old Vine Shiraz 2003 ($100-ish) and the elegant, teasingly leafy The Menzies Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 ($42.95).

Paxton AAA McLaren Vale Shiraz Grenache 2005 $23
Try this for the real Vale experience of generous flavour, soft tannins and food-friendly spicy savouriness – all showing the extra fragrance and depth of an outstanding vintage. Michael Paxton made the wine using shiraz from the family’s ‘Gateway’ and ‘Jones Block’ vineyards and grenache from their ‘Quandong Farm’ vineyard.  It’s a blend of five shiraz parcels and three of grenache, sourced from dry grown bush vines. Michael’s father, David, enjoyed a reputation for growing top-notch fruit in the Vale for decades before moving into winemaking. Not surprisingly the wines live up to the Paxton reputation.

Oakvale Hunter Valley

  • Gold Rock Semillon 2007 $17.50
  • Block 37 Verdelho 2007 $19.50
  • Peppercorn Shiraz 2006 $29

Oakvale sources all of its fruit from the lower Hunter Valley, predominantly from Broke, the next valley over from Pokolbin. A few samples sent recently by winemaker, Steve Hagan, were impressive. Gold Rock Semillon 2007 offers tremendous value. It’s an appealing version of this regional specialty and ought to drink well over the next five or six years. It’s lemony, soft, low in alcohol and very crisp and fresh. The verdelho offers more body and flavour, but to my taste, not the interest of the semillon. And the Peppercorn Shiraz is just lovely – very soft and tender in the Hunter mould with probably decades of cellaring ahead of it.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007