Wine review — Ravensworth and Mount Majura

Ravensworth Murrumbateman Marsanne 2008 $21
Ravensworth Murrumbateman Viognier 2008 $21

These amazingly good whites cement Bryan Martin’s place as one of Canberra’s best winemakers. They’re Rhone varieties, grown at Murrumbateman and made by Bryan at the Clonakilla Winery – a top environment, it seems, for making every notable variety in the district. Both taste as if they’re barrel fermented – a useful winemaking technique when, as in these wines, the aerobic environment boosts texture and complexity without inserting overt oak flavours. The marsanne is the more restrained of the two, but deep, complex and fresh, without the fatness of chardonnay. Viognier is tame (for the variety) with delicious white peach/nectarine flavours.

Ravensworth Murrumbateman Sangiovese 2008 $21
The aroma’s appropriately hand waving, ebullient Italian – bursting bright, fruity and friendly from the glass. The palate starts with the same dazzling, fresh charm. But there’s a deeper undercurrent of firm, gripping tannin, giving the wine an enjoyable, savoury, bone-dry grip. It’s a medium-bodied red, in the Canberra mould, revealing clearly the flavour and structure of this ancient, indigenous Italian variety. The bright, pure fruit gives a modern Aussie accent to a grape that dominates the Italian landscape, most notably in Chianti country, Tuscany. See

Mount Majura Canberra District Shiraz 2007 $26
Frank Van Der Loo’s 2006 shiraz topped (in my notes) a recent masked line up of three striking shirazes. The other two, Langhi Ghiran Grampians 2005 and Delacolline Port Lincoln 2003 (a very peppery newcomer made for the vineyard owners by O’Leary Walker) were impressive in their own ways. But the Majura wine charmed for its silky, supple texture and deep, pure spicy varietal flavour. It’s a classy, distinctive drop and though sold out reminded me how very good the more solid, and still available, 2007 vintage is. What really impressed in the tasting was how easy it was to pick it as a Canberra wine – a sure sign of a maturing regional specialty.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009