Wine review — Glandore, Mitchell and Mount Horrocks

Glandore Hunter Valley Shiraz 2007 $20–25
Today’s wines are the first I’ve seen from Glandore Wines, established in 2004 on the site of the former Rothbury Estate Brokenback vineyard, Pokolbin. It’s a new company but there’s a distinguished provenance to the shiraz. Winemaker Duane Roy says it’s from a block of vines, planted in 1967, on the Howard family’s Somerset vineyard, Pokolbin. The late Len Evans favoured the site and in the late 1990s I had a hand in marketing a Somerset shiraz made by Len and Keith Tulloch for Vintage Cellars. The 1997 is still drinking well. Glandore 2007 is classic supple, soft Hunter shiraz with an appealing spicy-oak note.

Glandore Hunter Valley Tempranillo 2005 $28–35
Glandore’s tempranillo comes from Will Britten’s decade old vineyard in the Hunter’s Broke/Fordwich sub-region – a valley over, but a world apart, from Pokolbin. Like the shiraz, a portion of the wine is fermented in upended 500-litre barrels (puncheons) and consists of numerous small batches. There’s a robust core of delicious ripe fruit and a lick of sweet oak, offset beautifully by assertive but ripe tannins. These exceptional wines are available through Duane Roy tells me that Glenn Howard recently planted tempranillo on the Somerset Vineyard, Pokolbin – a promising sign for this Spanish variety. Duane’s also sourcing shiraz from the Canberra District this year.

Mitchell Clare Valley Semillon 2007 $22
Mt Horrocks Clare Valley Semillon 2008 $27

Clare semillon can be extraordinarily delicious – and totally unlike semillons from the Hunter or Barossa valleys. Hunters tend to be low alcohol, unoaked, austere when young, then honeyed and toasty with age. Barossa produces a notably fuller style and, in recent years, the best have been unoaked and finer than in the old days. But the leading Clare styles, like Mount Horrocks and Mitchell, are oak fermented and mature on yeast sediments. This builds textural richness and flavour complexity in the wines without detracting from the beautifully fresh, focused lemon-like varietal flavour. By a small margin I favour the Mitchell wine, perhaps because of the extra year’s bottle age.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009