Wine review — Grant Burge, Pirramimma & Brands

Grant Burge Moscato 2008 $16–18
Grant Burge Barossa Valley Filsell Vineyard Shiraz 2006 $30–35

Formally it’s muscat-blanc-a-petite-grains, but in the Barossa they call it white frontignac, or fronti. In Italy it’s moscato, a name increasingly adopted by Aussie winemakers as they emulate the light, zesty, grapey, sweet, ‘frizzante’ style made in Asti, Piedmont. Grant Burge’s stunning new package captures the light, fresh, grapey mood of the wine – an appealing drop that threatens to bring sweetness back into fashion. It contains just 8.5 per cent alcohol. Burge’s red is the more familiar face of the Barossa – a powerful, deeply layered shiraz sourced from the ninety-year-old vines of the Filsell vineyard, located near Williamstown, in the valley’s south.

Pirramimma McLaren Vale Stock’s Hill Shiraz 2005 and Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $13–15
Johnston’s Pirramimma, one of the great old names of McLaren Vale, has significant vineyard holdings. This and its long experience enable it to stomp all over the big companies’ turf with these wonderful, satisfying mid-priced Stock’s Hill wines. They’re not Vale heavyweights for the cellar– although Pirramimma makes those as well – but tasty, regional reds tailored for early drinking. The shiraz is fragrant, fruity, soft and medium bodied with an attractive touch of supporting oak; and the cabernet’s firmer and more assertive. Both are from the excellent 2005 vintage and have the extra complexity of a few years’ bottle age.

Brands Coonawarra Blockers Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $22–25
Brands Stentiford’s Block Coonawarra Shiraz 2003 $70–76

It looks like there’s a lighter hand at work in the McWilliams-owned Brand’s winery. Coonawarra’s fine fruit and elegant structure shines through in these lovely wines, without the distractions of excess tannin or oak. The latter, in particular, blemished some past vintages of the potentially sublime Stentiford’s – made from a small stand of northern Coonawarra vines planted in 1896. The Brand family first released an individual wine from this plot in the 1980s. The practice continues under McWilliams’ ownership and in the 2003 we see the wine’s unique intensity and elegance. The cabernet doesn’t scale the same heights but gives the Coonawarra experience at a fair price.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008