Wine review — Ravensworth

Ravensworth Canberra District Marsanne 2007 $22–$25
Ravensworth Canberra District Viognier 2007 $25–$28

These white Rhone Valley varieties love Canberra growing conditions. Viognier carved its niche here, both in its own right and as an adjunct to shiraz, a decade ago. But marsanne emerged only recently in a series of excellent wines from Bryan and Jocelyn Martin’s Rosehill Vineyard, Murrumbateman, planted in 2000. Both wines undergo spontaneous fermentation in oak barrels, where the combination of wild yeasts and oxidative environment add substantially to the texture and subtly to aroma and flavour. The viognier’s big but fine with distinctive apricot-like varietal flavour. The marsanne somewhat more subdued though still tending to a velvety richness.

Ravensworth Canberra District Sangiovese 2007 $22–$25
Ravensworth Hunter Valley Shiraz 2007 $25–$28

Bryan Martin planted sangiovese on his Murrumbateman vineyard in 2000. Like the marsanne described above, sangiovese was little known in the district at the time but, on the strength of those under Ravenswood label, appears to be well suited to the area. The 2007 seems the strongest yet, with a wonderful, savoury fragrance and a taut, fine palate, reminiscent of fine Chianti. Hunter shiraz in Canberra? Why not? Bryan bought a parcel of grapes from Pokolbin and used ‘Canberra shiraz’ techniques to make it. It’s a deeply coloured wine with, purely varietal in aroma and flavour and featuring the Hunter’s very soft, easy-on-the-gums tannins.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008