Wine review — Wallaroo, Coriole and Chapel Hill

Wallaroo Wines Canberra District Shiraz 2006 $28
This delicious, fine-boned shiraz, from Canberra’s Hall sub-region, earned a silver medal a few weeks back in Decanter magazine’s World Wine Awards, London – putting it in the top 13 per cent of the approximately ten thousand wines judged at the  event. Roger Harris made the wine at Brindabella Hills Winery, using fruit from the neighbouring Wallaroo Vineyard. It’s notably paler in colour than the three McLaren Vale shirazes reviewed below. But that’s exactly what you’d expect from cooler Canberra – fine, elegant wines with silky texture and intense berry and spice flavours. This is a lovely regional style. See

Coriole McLaren Vale Redstone Shiraz$16–$19
Coriole McLaren Vale Estate Grown Shiraz 2006 $25–$28

Coriole’s a consistent McLaren Vale performer, offering harmonious, full, ripe regional reds that never tip into the over-ripe, porty style and always come with a satisfying savoury edge. Redstone, an old favourite, delivers bright, fruity flavours and soft tannins with the appreciable extra dimension of age (2006 vintage versus the more usual 2007 or 2008 at this price). Its cellar mate, sourced entirely from Coriole Estate (in the Vale’s Seaview sub-region) offers more intense flavours, savouriness and an appealing supple, smooth texture – though there’s a good load of tannin there to match the fruit. Should cellar well for a decade or so.

Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz 2007 $27–$30
Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 $27–$30

Chapel Hill winery backs onto the Onkaparinga Gorge, high up in McLaren and built its reputation under the now retired Pam Dunsford. Michael Fragos, an old McLaren Vale hand, formerly with Tatachilla, now makes the wine. These are at the big end of the regional style. But they’re well balanced, with crystal clear varietal character. While shiraz is the regional specialty, cabernet performs well, too, as the robust Chapel Hill demonstrates – it’s full, firm and offers the rich mid-palate flavour sometimes missing in warm-climate styles. The shiraz is very deep and purple rimmed with pure, ripe-black-cherry varietal flavour.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009