Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale NV Brut Champagne $45.90–50
Saumur Brut NV (Gratien & Meyer) $18–20
Here’s a couple of lovely French bubblies imported by Woolworths (Dan Murphy) and Coles (1st Choice and Vintage Cellars) respectively. Joseph Perrier is the real thing and its flavour strongly reflects the company’s holdings of pinot meunier near its Marne River press house in the village of Cumieres. It shows meunier’s brioche-like aroma and flavour and round soft texture. It’s an old favourite and to my taste beats the pants off other cheaper Champagnes like Mumm. For delicious, fresh, pure fruit flavours try the light, crisp and well-priced Saumur (Loire Valley) bubbly, a blend of chenin blanc, cabernet franc and chardonnay.
Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2006 $60–69
Eileen Hardy Shiraz 2004 $95–105
Hardy’s flagship red and white hit their top form comparatively recently even though the red has been with us since 1970 and the white since 1986. The red began as robust, long-lived McLaren Vale shiraz. Its style shifted with the wind for decades, then more recently settled into the present style – a generous, extraordinarily intense McLaren Vale shiraz (from three vineyards) with a fine, elegant texture. It’s a super-refined version of the original and looks to have very long cellaring potential. The chardonnay, born in 1986, became finer over the years and is now one of Australia’s leading examples of the fine, complex, cool-grown style.
Waterwheel Bendigo Memsie 2007 $13–15
Wyndham Estate George Wyndham Shiraz Cabernet 2005 $18–20
Jacob’s Creek Three Vines Shiraz Cabernet Tempranillo 2007 $12–15
Here’s a trio of tasty, not-too-expensive reds. Memsie, a blend of shiraz, cabernet, malbec and petit verdot, is the second label of Waterwheel of Bendigo. It’s a medium-bodied red with juicy, rich fruit flavour and a satisfying tannic bite, courtesy presumably of cabernet, malbec and petit verdot. Wyndham’s George Wyndham, a South Australian blend, is more robust and mature, combining earthy soft, generous shiraz flavours with the tannic backbone of cabernet sauvignon. Jacob’s Creek, the gentlest and softest of the three mixes old Aussie favourites shiraz and cabernet with Spain’s tempranillo – the result: ripe, easy fruit flavours with an interesting spicy note and dry, soft finish.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008