Wine review — De Bortoli Windy Peak & Thomas

De Bortoli Windy Peak whites $12–15
Pinot Grigio 2008 and Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2008

Yarra-based winemaker Steve Webber, new chair of the Melbourne wine show, seems to be on a mission with the Windy Peak range. It’s a trickle-down effect from the new depth we’ve seen recently in De Bortoli’s more expensive Yarra Valley range.  The pinot grigio’s out of whack with contemporary Australian white styles. There’s a quirky, tart edge to it, in a pleasant Italian sort of way. There’s some of the same quirky, tart character in the sauvignon blanc semillon, too. But the fruit’s more aromatic and combines tropical sauvignon blanc with grassy semillon. Both wines have good mid-palate texture.

De Bortoli Windy Peak reds $12–15
Pinot Noir 2008 and Sangiovese 2006

Steve Webber and his team have really nailed Yarra pinot in recent years, partly through fermenting uncrushed berries – the fermentation taking place inside the berries, capturing fragrant, pure fruit flavours without hard tannins. Despite its youth Windy Peak – sourced from Yarra, Beechworth, Port Phillip, Mornington and Canberra – captures much of the variety’s magic flavour and silky texture. It’s phenomenally good at this price. The King Valley-sourced Sangiovese is even more of a triumph. It captures bright fruit flavour as well as the earthy, deeply savoury flavours of the variety as well as its dust-dry tannins.

Thomas Hunter Valley whites
‘Braemore’ Semillon 2008 $25 and ‘Six Degrees’ Semillon 2008 $20

Winemaker Andrew Thomas rates the 2008 vintage as ‘disastrous for reds’ but the semillons as ‘nothing short of exceptional’. Who can argue about the whites? The ‘Braemore’ (from the Braemore Vineyard, owned by Ken Bray) is as pure a semillon as I can recall. It’s very fine, very delicate and at just 10 per cent alcohol delivers one of the gentlest imaginable drinking experiences. It’s in the taut, dry, understated style that cellars forever. ‘Six Degrees’ weighs in at an even lower alcohol – eight per cent. It’s zesty, fine-boned and varietal, but it offsets the zesty acid with a lovely burst of sweetness.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008