Wine review — Redmans, Mount Pleasant & Alenquer (Quinta Sentacosta)

Redmans Coonawarra Shiraz 2004 $15-$22
Redmans Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 $30-$35

Redmans wines stand out as distinct, finer examples of Coonawarra. There’s a deliberate philosophy behind them, based on a clear understanding of what the alternative styles might be and a long family familiarity with Coonawarra and its wines. Bruce and Malcolm Redman intentionally make the ‘elegant’ rather than the burlier style, approaching grape-growing and winemaking as their father Owen — and before that Owen’s father — the legendary Bill Redman – did. The 2004 shiraz is a fine-boned, spicy red to enjoy over the next five years. And the 2003 is one of the most graceful, understated and thoroughly enjoyable cabernets you’ll ever pull a cork on.

Mount Pleasant Philip Hunter Valley Shiraz 2005 $12-$18
Like the Redman wines reviewed above, the perennially under-rated Philip stuck to its guns through decades of changing red-wine fashion. It’s perhaps a bit brighter than the older versions – and a screw cap means no more cork taint or random oxidation – but it’s never tried to be more than what it is: an uncomplicated, tasty regional specialty. It’s appealing and soft and though richly flavoured, it’s medium bodied and refreshingly devoid of intrusive oak flavours.  As 2005 was a warm year in the Hunter, this one’s appreciably fuller than the 2004. It has hallmark soft Hunter tannins and mouth-watering savouriness.
Alenquer (Quinta Setencosta, Casa Santos Lima) 2005 $12-$15
This is a Coles import from Alenquer, Western Portugal – an area renowned for quantity rather than quality, but clearly capable of taking on Aussie wines in the $10-$15 price segment. It’s medium bodied, with appealing, bright, summer-berry fruit flavours and savoury, earthy tannins – all interestingly different to what we find in Aussie wines at the price. It’s one to glug down now. It seems that the strong Aussie dollar, combined with the growing confidence and selection skills of Coles and Woolworths, is creating real competition for Australian wine – and giving us variety to boot. It’s available from Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice stores.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008