Wine review — Brindabella Hills and Mitchell

Brindabella Hills Canberra District Riesling 2008 $18–20
There’s a big difference between a quick sip of a wine and downing the whole bottle over dinner. Few wines hold your attention to the last drop. But this one did over a plate of superb south coast oysters at Aubergine Restaurant, Griffith, last week. Its shimmering freshness, delicate fruit and taut, mineral-dry finish matched the briny-fresh oysters perfectly. Winemaker Roger Harris rates 2008 as the best yet from his 20-year-old vines. There’s still a little left at cellar door ($20 a bottle, $18 in dozens) and around the trade. This is a brilliant wine and a great bargain.

Mitchell Clare Valley

  • Watervale Riesling 2008 $22
  • McNicol Riesling 2005 $42

If you’ve heard of aged riesling but not had the pleasure, try Andrew and Jane Mitchell’s magnificent, just released McNicol Clare Valley 2005. It’s from a higher, cooler site than their Watervale riesling. Indeed, tasting both 2005s together revealed the flavour differences of the two sites – the Watervale being slightly plumper and more mature, but still juicy and fresh; the McNicol brisk, intense and concentrated with long cellaring ahead of it. The Watervale 2005 is no longer available, but its stunningly good successor, the 2008, is still in the trade and at cellar door. This is one of our great riesling estates.

Mitchell Clare Valley

  • GSM 2005 $22
  • Peppertree Watervale Shiraz 2006 $27
  • McNicol Shiraz 2001 $45
  • Sevenhill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 $27

Mitchell’s red offerings show the traditional face of the Clare Valley in the shiraz and cabernet and a clever, clever, satisfying adaptation in the GSM. No, it’s not grenache-shiraz-mourvedre, but grenache-sangiovese-mourvedre – an unoaked blend based on the fruity, supple opulence of grenache, tempered by savoury, tannic sangiovese and mourvedre. The young shiraz is pure, ripe, vibrant and varietal with an appealing sweet depth; the older McNicol retains freshness and varietal flavour, but it’s overlaid with that special spicy, savoury, mellow depth of bottle age. The five-year-old cabernet might put a few Margaret River and Coonawarra makers on notice. These are all robust but graceful regional reds.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009