Wine review — Giesen, Mitolo & Murdock

Giesen Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 $14–$20
Giesen sources its fruit from a diversity of vineyards across the Marlborough district. This has an impact on flavour as the area is far from homogenous and produces a spectrum of sauvignon flavours, ranging from cat’s-pee pungent to sweet, tropical-fruit. The 2007 leans more to a ripe, highly aromatic passionfruit-like character, with herbal and pungent notes spicing up the background. Typical of Marlborough, there’s juicy mid-palate richness cut by a bracing, refreshing acidity. It’s widely distributed in Australia with sufficient presence to attract retailer discounting. It’s good value even when fully priced and a bargain when it hits  $14 or so.

Mitolo McLaren Vale Jester Shiraz 2006 & Jester Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 $24–$28
The Mitolo brand arrived out of the blue in 1999, combining the viticultural and winemaking talents of Frank Mitolo and Ben Glaetzer respectively. The new releases are delicious regional specialties sourced from Frank’s vineyards at Willunga, at the southern end of the Vale. The shiraz is absolutely scrumptious. It’s full and ripe and soft, as warm climate shiraz ought to be. But it’s also savoury and complex without the jammy fruit sweetness sometimes seen in warm-area reds. The cabernet is idiosyncratic – pure and fruity, with an unusually fleshy palate, derived says the press release, from drying the fruit on racks for weeks prior to fermentation, a-la Verona’s Amarone method.

Murdock Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 $42, Merlot 2005 $23
‘The Merger’ 2005 $18.50

Former Wynns’ viticulturist David Murdock tends the family vineyards in Coonawarra (planted 1973) and the Barossa (planted 1982) before handing the grapes over to Peter Bissell at Balnaves, Coonawarra, for winemaking. The cabernet is a beautiful, classically Coonawarra wine – strong yet elegant and best after years of bottle ageing. The current release 2003, for example, should drink well for decades. If you thought Aussie merlot had little going for it, try Murdock’s 2005 – it captures the fragrance, elegance and taut structure this great, but usually blended, variety. ‘The Merger’ tempers the fruity generosity of Barossa shiraz with firm, powerful Coonawarra cabernet. See

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008