Wine review — Penfolds, Pizzini & Eperosa

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Autumn Riesling 2008 $17.99 cellar door
Penfolds have kept this delicious, retro-packaged riesling out of the retail scrum, offering it only at their cellar door outlets in Nuriootpa, Barossa Valley, and Magill, Adelaide, and in some restaurants (where it’s more like $35). They do this with a number of outstanding wines, so it’s worth a visit if you’re visiting South Australia. The label and press blurb say nothing about grape origin, but this is clearly from top growing areas – presumably Clare and Eden Valleys. It’s low in alcohol (11.5%) and it’s intensely flavoured and perfume, yet delicate. A tiny touch of traminer in the blend adds to the flavour complexity.

Pizzini King Valley Il Barone 2004 $43, Nebbiolo 2004 $45, Coronomento Reserve Nebbiolo 2003 $135
Pizzini’s new-release Italian 2008 white varieties, the dry Pinot Grigio and Arneis, and sweet Brachetto, are on the money as usual. But there’s even more excitement in the reds made entirely, or partly, from Piedmont’s nebbiolo grape. At its best nebbiolo is beautifully perfumed and strong but elegant with a firm, tannic backbone – characteristics displayed by these three Pizzini wines. Il Barone, combining shiraz, cabernet, sangiovese and nebbiolo is a lovely blend. But the true nebbiolo magic appears in the exciting Nebbiolo 2004 and, even more so, in the reserve version, Coronomento. This is a truly great Australian wine.

Eperosa Barossa Valley Synthesis 2005 $31, Totality 2005 $38, Elevation $35
Eperosa is one of a number of tiny producers presenting tasty snapshots of every little corner of the Barossa Valley. The move is being driven by viticulturists and winemakers familiar with this very complex and old grape-growing landscape – and not happy seeing wonderful fruit sent off to anonymous blends. Eperosa belongs to viticulturist Brett Grocke. He makes his reds in batches of just 100 to 200 cases. ‘Elevation’ is a soft, elegant shiraz, with liquorice like flavours, from vines grown above 300 metres. ‘Totality’ is a beautifully fragrant, spicy, savoury blend of mourvedre (aka mataro) and shiraz. And ‘Synthesis’, combining grenache, mourvedre and shiraz, is led by grenache fragrance and fruitiness.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008