Wine review — d’Arenberg, Tahbilk and Anvers

d’Arenberg The Stump Jump white range $9–$12

  • McLaren Vale Riesling, McLaren Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2008
  • McLaren Adelaide Hills Lightly Wooded Chardonnay 2008

We’re normally spruiking the virtues of d’Arenberg’s reds (like the delicious $25 Love Grass Shiraz). But their new Stump Jump whites deserve a nod at the price – especially if the retailers get stuck into them. They’re all as fresh as new season apples and true to their varietal labels. The riesling’s generous but light, tending more towards the floral, drink-now style; the sauvignon blanc’s chalky dry with bracing, fresh acidity; and the chardonnay has a peachy richness without being fat or heavy. No doubt the cool-grown Adelaide Hills component tempers the sauvy and chardy. Great value.

Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes Marsanne 2008 $15–$17
Lovely old Tabilk, on an anabranch of the Goulburn River in central Victoria, put marsanne on the drinker’s menu in Australia. The late Eric Purbrick established the style using marsanne vines dating from 1927. His grandson Alister extended the plantings and fine-tuned the long-lived style. It’s more vibrant than ever as a young wine but still undergoes the same lovely transformation with age – from zesty, lemony, white peach flavours in youth to a richer, honeyed, (some say honeysuckle-like) character with age. The modern wines, with less tannin and screwcap rather than cork seals, will probably prove better and more reliable in the long run than the wines that built Tahbilk’s reputation.

Anvers ‘The Warrior’ Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2005 $47
Brothers in Arms Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2005 $44 and Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $50

The Warrior’ presents a sinewy, taut, savoury face of shiraz. It’s a deliciously executed and seamless blend from three very different South Australian regions – see The Brothers in Arms wines come from brothers Guy and Tom Adams, owners of the legendary Metala Vineyard, made famous from 1932 by Jack Kilgour’s great Saltram wines, later re-badged as Metala, a name still used by Foster’s today. The shiraz is a powerful, supple, sweet-fruited red. It’s lovely now but almost certainly age well for a decade or more. The equally plush cabernet shows the typical mint-like notes and juicy flavours of the region as layers of drying, grippy tannins.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009