Wine review — Deviation Road, Lillet, Tim Adams, Brands, d’Arenberg, Capel Vale & Cape Mentelle

Deviation Road Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir 2007 $28
Deviation Road Adelaide Hills Reserve Shiraz 2007 $34

Kate and Hamish Laurie’s Deviation Road, established in 1999, uses fruit from a 30-year-old Laurie family vineyard and other growers in the Lenswood subregion of the Adelaide Hills. These elevated (600 metres), cool sites produce Deviation Road’s fine boned wines including a lovely, zesty sauvignon blanc 2008 ($18) and these two very appealing reds.  In some senses they’re peas in a pod – limpid, finely structured, savoury, taut and bone dry. But the varietal differences show clearly in the deeper coloured, fuller bodied, peppery shiraz and the paler, more earthy, spicy pinot. See for more info.

Lillet Blanc, Lillet Rouge $32
Deviation Road also imports Lillet, an oak matured aperitif, made in France’s Bordeaux region. Lillet combines wine and fruit liqueurs, made from fruit peel macerated in spirit, seasoned with a dash of quinine. It’s a beautifully refreshing, fruity, sweet, pleasantly tart drink, best served short, on the rocks with a twist of orange. You can try it at Parlour Bar, Acton, or order it through It’s no stranger to Canberra as Farmer Bros imported it during the eighties and early nineties. David Farmer still recalls a Lillet drenched lunch with countless members of the Lillet family.

Tim Adams Clare Valley The Fergus Grenache 2006 $25
Brands Laira Coonawarra Shiraz 2005 $18–23
d’Arenberg Footbolt McLaren Vale Shiraz 2006 $16–22

Conventional wisdom matches beer or white wine with curry. But recently a group of tennis-playing, curry-eating red wine tragics put a range of full-flavoured, fruity reds to the test. Aussie shiraz and grenache easily handled the spicy pace. Some favourites: Tim Adams ‘The Fergus’ 2003 appealed for its plush, soft and velvety grenache flavours – it’s sold out now, but the current release 2006 is as good. d’Arenberg Footbolt 2006 showed a little more oomph and earthiness, but it still had the necessary core of deep, sweet fruit. The more elegant Brand’s Coonawarra succeeded with its subtle berry flavours. And a couple of spicy WA reds, Capel Vale Mount Barker Shiraz 2005 ($50) and Cape Mentelle Margaret River Shiraz 2006 ($39) passed the curry test.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009