Wine review — Montrose Mudgee & Jacob’s Creek

Montrose Mudgee Stony Creek Chardonnay 2007 $19–24
Montrose Mudgee Black Shiraz 2006 $24–29

In December 2006 Bob Oatley and family, founders of Rosemount Estate, bought Orlando’s Mudgee vineyards and its winery, founded originally as Montrose Wines by Carlo Salteri and Franco Belgiorno-Nettis in 1974. Historically, and among the new releases, the standout wine is the intense, fine and delicious barrel-fermented Stony Creek Chardonnay. It’s looking more polished than ever under the new owners and long-time winemaker James Manners. Black Shiraz seems more spicy and varietal than in the past and less of a blockbuster. But it still has those tight, firm Mudgee tannins, albeit if not as tough as in earlier releases.

Montrose Mudgee Rosé of Barbera 2006 $$19–$24, Pietra Sangiovese 2006 $21–$26, Omaggio Barbera 2006 $21–26
The original Montrose winemaker, Carlo Corino, planted the Italian varieties nebbiolo, sangiovese and barbera back in the seventies. These appeared in various guises over the following decades, sometimes straight, more often blended. Nebbiolo didn’t work. But Corino’s successor, Robert Paul made some appealing wines from the other two varieties. These are the first under the new owners. The barbera rosé is bone-dry and therefore right out of the mainstream – but OK as rosés go. The red barbera seems more on the money – medium bodied, savoury and taut. The paler sangiovese is even tighter and grippier with a touch of alcoholic heat.

Jacob’s Creek Riesling 2007 $8–11
Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling 2006 $23–32

The basic Jacob’s Creek Riesling rates consistently as one of the best value for money whites on the market. It looks, smells and tastes like riesling – in the crisp, not-quite-dry Aussie mould. A high proportion of pedigreed fruit gives it a special touch of class not normally encountered at this price – and that’s partly attributable to riesling’s never-quite-fashionable status. Steingarten is at another level altogether. It’s intensely aromatic and flavoursome, but oh-so-delicate. It’ll probably drink well for twenty or thirty years if well cellared. It comes from the Steingarten and other vineyards in the hills just to the east of Jacob’s Creek in the Barossa Valley.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008