Wine review — Riposte, Barwang and Angoves

Riposte ‘The Stiletto’ Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris $22–$26
Barwang Tumbarumba Pinot Gris 2008 $17–$20

Pinot gris, a clear or yellow or golden or grey or pink, long-tamed mutant of pinot noir, comes in so many styles – bone dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet or sweet – it’s almost impossible to define. But the most intensely flavoured, possessing so-called classic ‘nashi pear’ varietal character, invariably come from cool growing regions. These two, from the elevated Tumbarumba and Adelaide Hills districts, deliver crystal clear varietal flavour at the dry end of the pinot gris spectrum. The Barwang is pure, taut and delicious. But the Riposte offers another dimension and rates as my best yet Aussie expression of the variety. The Riposte brand is owned and made by Tim Knappstein.

Barwang Hilltops Shiraz 2007 $17–$20
Barwang Hilltops Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 $17–$20

The nearby Hilltops region produces slightly deeper, fuller-bodied reds than cooler Canberra. But the two styles sit comfortably together as we saw at last year’s regional wine show where reds from both districts won gold medals. Barwang Shiraz 2007 (one of those gold medallists) has strong, peppery varietal flavour and sturdy, grippy tannins – a satisfying drop at a modest price. The cabernet, too, is full-blooded with blackcurrant-like varietal flavour, a leafy hint and the even sturdier, grippier tannins of the variety. The Barwang vineyard, established by the late Peter Robinson in 1969, belongs to McWilliams and the winemaker is Andrew Higgins.

Angove Long Row Chardonnay 2007 $8–$10
The tasty benefits of cross-regional blending show in Angove’s budget-price Long Row chardonnay. By combining cheaper, less flavoursome grapes with more intensely flavoured material from areas like Wrattonbully, Padthaway and Mount Benson, the makers strike the correct value to quality ratio. It’s a rich, crisp and lively wine with unmistakable melon-peach-chardonnay flavour and touch of oak. Drink up now as it’ll lose its vibrant edge with age.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009