Rochford Macedon Ranges Chardonnay 2006 $27, Pinot Noir 2005 $33, Pinot Noir 2006 $33
Rochford is one of the better signposted vineyards in the cool Macedon region. That’s a pity, because its cellar door is in the Yarra Valley. The wines show the region’s general suitability for chardonnay and pinot noir. The chardonnay is taut, subtle and intense with the grapefruit-like varietal flavour of a cool area. It’s the value pick of the bunch. The 2005 pinot, too, is taut and subtle, with fine but firm tannins. It’s thoroughly enjoyable from first sip to last – if not quite up to the best from the region. The 2006 shows pure varietal character but, to me, lacks mid-palate sweetness.
Shaw Vineyard Estate Canberra District Semillon 2006 $20, Cabernet Merlot 2006 $22, Shiraz Cabernet 2006 $22 and Shiraz 2006 $22
Shaw’s is one of Canberra’s larger vineyards, planted initially to supply Hardys. It’s come a long way since then and the cellar door is now a must-visit, offering outstanding wines at modest prices. And there’s even better to come. The current offerings include a lovely, delicate semillon; a supple, elegant cabernet merlot 2006; a fine, peppery, stylish shiraz cabernet (my favourite); and a lean but lovely shiraz 2006 with distinctive, cool-climate white pepper flavours. There’ll soon be an intense, elegant cabernet sauvignon 2006 joining the list; and in the future there’ll be two ‘reserve’ wines – a cabernet blend and shiraz viognier blend. Take a drive to Murrumbateman or see www.shawvineyard.com.au
Heredos de Argueso Manzanilla 375ml $14
Heredos de Argueso Las Medallas Manzanilla 375ml $15
Heredos de Argueso San Leon Classica 375ml Manzanilla $19
Manzanilla, from Sanlucar de Barameda, Spain, is the most delicate member of the sherry family. It’s very pale in colour, with sherry’s distinctive tang, but comparatively low in alcohol (about 15 per cent) and beautifully delicate. This trio reveals the spectrum of aromas and flavours that come with increasing age in barrel under the fine film of ‘flor’, or yeast. They’re all made from the palomino grape. The spectrum ranges from definitely sherry-like but with youthful, fresh fruit to even more sherry-like plus greater finesse (about 5 years’ age), to very fine with a lovely nutty finish in the ‘Classica’, age 9–12 years. Imported by Bibendum Wine Co phone 03 8415 0070.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008