Wine review — Two Hands, Leon Desfrieches & Pear Tree

Two Hands ‘Brilliant Disguise’ Barossa Moscato 2007 500ml $18
The Moscato d’Asti wines of Piedmont, Italy, have inspired a new use for white frontignac, one of the old workhorses of the Australian wine industry. The keynotes of those from Asti, and neighbouring provinces Cuneo and Alessandria (which also use the Asti appellation) is delicacy, freshness, low-alcohol (5.5 per cent), moderate sweetness and intense grapiness. Many Australian producers now emulate the style with considerable success, albeit with a slightly higher, but still modest, alcohol content. Two Hands, sourced from 80-100 year old vines, weighs in at 7 per cent alcohol. With its delicate muscat flavour, fruity sweetness and light spritz it makes a wonderful warm weather aperitif. See

Le Pere Jules Poire de St Desir-de-Lisieux (Leon Desfrieches) 750ml  $16
Close your eyes and think, not of England, but of Normandy, just across the channel. This is fruit country. And what better way to preserve fruit than by making eau-de-vie or cider. Calvados and poire William are Normandy’s classic apple and pear brandies – offering, just like the region’s other fruit eau-de-vies, a teasing impression, or spirit, of the fruit that made them. Cider provides a more direct connection to the fruit flavour, and a drink more suited to our hot summer. This one’s as delicate, fresh and crisp as a just-ripe, just-picked pear, and offers a similar balance of sweet-fruit and tart acid. It’s just four per cent alcohol. (Sample purchased at 1st Choice, Philip).

Pear Tree Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 $24.99
In 1993 brothers Matt and Chris Farrah established Campbell Liquor Discounts. In 2004–05 they developed the Pear Tree Vineyard in the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough, New Zealand – partly through the influence of winemaker Anthony Moore, an old mate of Matt’s from the AIS. And just in time for Christmas 2007, Matt and Chris took delivery of their first sauvignon blanc, sourced from the Pear Tree vineyard and local contract growers. Made by Craig Murphy, it’s a decent debut wine in the typically bracing, in-your-face Marlborough style. It’s available at the Farrah’s Campbell store and at Pangea, Tower, Milk and Honey and Debacle Restaurants and at selected bottles shops around Canberra.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008