Lake George Vineyard Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2008 $21.99
This is the first of the 2008 releases from Lake George vineyard. Made by Alex McKay, it’s a blend of semillon from old vines on the original vineyard and sauvignon blanc from the Hillbrook vineyard, on the escarpment, and Hall. Alex says they’re all mature vines, ten to twenty years old, and this accounts for the terrific length of fruit flavour. At just 11.5 per cent alcohol, this is a delicate, aperitif-style featuring attractive lemon and passionfruit-like flavours and tangy, refreshing lively acidity. Lake George owners, the Karelas family, recently purchased the neighbouring Madew property and opened a cellar door (open Friday to Sunday) under the grapefoodwine restaurant.
Grove Estate Hilltops – Semillon 2007 $19, Wombat Way Viognier 2007 $20
Grove Estate at Young first grew grapes in 1886. And the current partners – Mark Flanders, Brian and Sue Mullany and the Kirkwood family – established a little over 40-hectares of vines after buying the property in 1989. They sell grapes to various winemakers, but have wines made for their own label in Canberra by Long Rail Gully’s Richard Parker and Clonakilla’s Tim Kirk. The light, fresh and lovely semillon’s my favourite of the whites. But there’s a handy oak-fermented chardonnay and the exotic, dry Wombat Way Viognier, sourced, as the name suggests, from a vineyard near the village of Wombat.
Grove Estate Hilltops – Nebbiolo 2006 $30, Cellar Block Reserve Shiraz Viognier 2006 $38, The Partners Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 $30
Grove Estate’s greatest strength, though, is its reds. These are superb wines and include one of Australia’s most successful shots at nebbiolo, Piemonte’s noble but difficult red variety. The pale, limpid colour belies its heady fragrance and deep, savoury intense flavour. It’s not as fiercely tannic as the originals from Barolo and Barbaresco, but it’s firm and dry, nevertheless. The cabernet, too, is beautifully perfumed and clearly varietal. It’s big and alcoholic, but generous, rather than hot, and well balanced. The shiraz viognier, the most luxurious of the three, has high-toned varietal aromatics and a deep, supple palate with the pronounced lift of viognier.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008