Wine review — Clonakilla, Overstone, Annie’s Lane and d’Arenberg

Clonakilla Canberra District Jack Reidy Shiraz 2008 $27–$30
Clonakilla’s Tim Kirk made this blend for the Wesfarmer owned Vintage Cellars chain, using fruit from the Long Rail Gully, Dean Terrell and Phil Williams vineyards. It’s a close cellar mate to Clonakilla O’Riada Shiraz ($35 cellar door) – but without the benefit of declassified components from Clonakilla’s flagship shiraz-viognier blend. It’s in the fine-boned, savoury Canberra style, albeit a little tart and raw on first opening. But exposure to air rounds these edges, revealing the underlying pure, lovely cool-climate shiraz flavours. I’d suggest future vintages might allow a couple of extra months each in oak and bottle before release.

Overstone Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008 $12–$14
Pinot noir comes in a wide spectrum of styles, from pale and sweetish rosés, to voluptuous, silky, long-lived reds that can be very firm when young. This one sits in between. It’s medium ruby in colour, intensely aromatic, and unmistakably pinot – but towards the lighter end of the variety’s flavour spectrum. The flavour’s bright, pure and varietal. And the structure of zesty acid and fine tannin puts it squarely in the light-to-medium bodied luncheon style – a red to serve lightly chilled in warm weather.  Overstone is sold only through the Woolworths owned Dan Murphy liquor chain.

Annie’s Lane Clare Valley Riesling 2008 $16–$20
d’Arenberg McLaren Vale Viognier Marsanne 2008 $13–$15

These contrasting, fruity dry whites suit spicy Asian food well. At a refreshingly low 11.5% alcohol, Annie’s Lane delivers riesling’s lovely floral aromatics and flavours and crisp, lemon fresh finish. The bright fruit and crispness made it an easy match for a range of spicy to hot dishes at the Taj Mahal, a restaurant that appears not to have changed since the mid seventies. In d’Arenberg’s white blend, marsanne tempers the viognier, a variety that tends to be a little too fat, juicy on its own. The result is a very fruity, round and soft wine with enough acid to carry the varied food at Sammy’s Kitchen.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009