Wine review — Mistletoe & Blackjack

Mistletoe Hunter Valley – Reserve Semillon 2007 $22, Chardonnay 2007 $20, Reserve Chardonnay 2007 $25
When I asked Mistletoe proprietor Ken Sloan for a bottle picture, he said that since he sold wine only direct (cellar door and Canberra Times readers mentioning this review could have free delivery to Canberra of 6-packs or dozens. The wines are superb, a particular favourite being the 2007 Reserve Semillon. This is classic Pokolbin semillon, low in alcohol (ten per cent), delicate, lemon zesty and a touch austere at this stage, but already terrific as a bone-dry aperitif. It’ll age for many years. The chardonnay are rich but finely structured, showing barrel-ferment influence, particularly so in the complex, intense reserve version.

Mistletoe Hunter Valley – Shiraz 2006 $20, Reserve Shiraz 2006 $28, Hunter-Hilltops Shiraz Cabernet 2006 $22
With so many $50 plus reds coming onto the market, it’s refreshing to see absolutely top-notch, regional specialties realistically priced. Mistletoe’s Shiraz 2006 (from four Pokolbin vineyard) is ripe and plummy with the Hunter’s earthy edge and very soft tannins – a juicy, restrained red that’s a joy to drink now. It’s Reserve cellar mate comes from a single vineyard is a denser, more powerful drop, but in the same soft, restrained Hunter mould and with the added spicy complexity of new French oak. The Hunter-Hilltops wine is an imaginative blend that works in a surprising way – it seems to be the cabernet rather than the shiraz that fills out the velvet smooth palate.

Black Jack Bendigo – chortle’s edge Shiraz 2006 $18, Bendigo Block 6 Shiraz 2006 $35, Bendigo Shiraz 2006 $35, Bendigo Cabernet Merlot 2006 $25
Ken Pollock and Ian McKenzie offer three variants on the Bendigo shiraz theme, all made in their winery in the Harcourt Valley, just outside Bendigo: the brisk, spicy, drink-now chortle’s edge, sourced from Turner’s Crossing Vineyard, Bridgewater, and Fielding Family Vineyard, North Harcourt; the big, ripe, burly and bold, chunky Bendigo Block 6 Shiraz from a single block on the estate; and my favourite in this vintage, the estate-grown, ripe, plummy, fragrant Bendigo Shiraz. It’s supple, soft and velvety and read to savour now.  The cabernet merlot blend is an attractive, smooth drop, too, but overshadowed by the shirazes.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008