Wine review — Lock and Key, Moppity Vineyards and Gallagher

Lock and Key Hilltops Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 $10–$15
Moppity Vineyards Hilltops Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 $16–$20

In 2004 Jason and Alecia Brown bought the 78-hectare Moppity Vineyard from the receivers. Established in 1973, and the second oldest in Hilltops, the vineyard was mature but run down. After much TLC it’s now showing just how good the fruit is as the Browns turn all their efforts to production for their two labels – Lock and Key and Moppity Vineyards. The cabernets are rich but elegant –Lock and Key, on the lighter, leafy side but still with delicious berry fruit flavours and firm tannins offers tremendous value; Moppity is riper, with more body and depth.

Lock and Key Hilltops Shiraz 2008 $10–$15
Moppity Vineyards Hilltops Shiraz 2008 $16–$20
Moppity Vineyards Hilltops Reserve Shiraz 2007 $45–$50

Shiraz is unquestionably the signature variety for the Hilltops region as it makes juicy, soft, medium bodied wines that are easy to love. The wines are transforming perceptions of who does what best in Australia. And the Browns, with their significant plantings, are showing that a regional specialty can offer sensational value as well as distinctive qualities. The medium bodied Lock and Key is as good a red as you’ll ever find for the money; Moppity Vineyards ramps up the fruit concentration, but is still refined and elegant; and the Reserve shows the greater power, savouriness and firm tannins of the 2007 vintage.

Gallagher Brut Rose 2008 $25 and Duet Sparkling 2008 $25
Winemaker Greg Gallagher brought to Canberra a couple of decades’ sparkling-winemaking experience – valuable know-how extending from vineyard management to making and maturing base wines, blending the components before bottling and then getting the bottle fermentation and maturation right. Greg’s know-how shows in these two very appealing bottle fermented sparklers – a delicate, blushing rose, blended from 65 per cent pinot and 35 per cent chardonnay, with its fresh tease of red fruits and fine, dry finish; and Duet, an aperitif style pinot chardonnay blend, sourced from Greg’s Murrumbateman vineyard.

Zork SPK closures unimpressive

Both of the Gallagher sparklers are sealed with Zork’s new SPK plastic closure and can be resealed after opening. However, we were unimpressed by the new ‘award winning’ seal: we found the plastic security strip difficult to remove; we were thoroughly drenched after one seal refused to budge then came away explosively, spurting half the contents over our tasting bench (and us)t; and it’s inelegant, looking more suited to cheap bubbly than high quality wines like Greg Gallaghers.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 209