Wine review — Brindabella Hills, Capital Wines and Kyeema

Brindabella Hills Canberra District

  • Sauvignon Blanc 2009 $18
  • Riesling 2009 $25
  • Shiraz 2007 $25

These are beautiful, reasonably priced new releases from Roger and Faye Harris at Brindabella Hills, Hall. The riesling is intensely aromatic, with lime and lemon-like varietal character; an intense, lime-like palate backs up the first impressions, finishing long and bone dry – a classy riesling, with good cellaring potential. The sauvy’s light and tangy, tending to herbal, and ready to drink. The shiraz, always one of Canberra’s best, comes in this vintage from Wayne and Jenny Fischer’s Nanima Vineyard, backed by a little viognier from Brindabella. It’s a dark, aromatic, more savoury than usual wine, with the characteristic firm tannins of the season. It’s atypical of the Brindabella Hills vineyard stye but outstanding in its own savoury way.

Capital Wines  Canberra District

  • The Frontbencher Shiraz 2008 $25
  • Kyeema Vineyard Reserve Shiraz 2008 $52

Andrew McEwin’s reds have a distinctive, firm structure and generally need a good airing, or a few years’ cellaring to show their class. Both wines will pass muster in 2008. The $25 Frontbencher is reassuringly deep and crimson rimmed with a good depth of sweet, spicy, red-berry varietal flavour and savoury, firm-but-fine tannins – a solid but fine-boned red to enjoy over the next four or five years. The reserve wine, from Andrew’s Kyeema vineyard (one of Canberra’s oldest shiraz plantings) reveals extra power and weight, backed by high-class savoury oak. The extra power and flavour concentration suggest long-term cellaring potential.

Capital Wines Canberra District

The Ambassador Tempranillo 2008 $27

Kyeema Vineyard Reserve Merlot 2008 $46

Judging by this and Frank van der Loo’s Mount Majura wine, Canberra suits Spain’s red tempranillo grape. The Ambassador has an appealing, juicy, spicy depth of fruit flavour and a unique, firm, verging on cabernet-like, tannin structure. Tempranillo could easily become a mainstream variety in Australia because, unlike so many other alternative varieties, it seems comparatively easy to grow, make and drink. Merlot, on the other hand, continues to polarise drinkers into lovers or haters. Merlot-loving ranks might grow if more were like Kyeema, a perennial award winner. This is serious, rich, earthy merlot with a solid, tannin bite but elegant structure.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009

Last edited by Chris Shanahan on 6 December 2009 at 8:08 am