Wine review — Westend Estate, Mount Horrocks, Tamar Ridge, Collector, Shaw + Smith and Vintage Cellars rk Beechworth

Westend Estate Hilltops Tempranillo 2008 $11.95
Westend Estate Richland Merlot 2008 $11.95
Chapel Hill McLaren Vale ‘The Parson’s Nose’ Shiraz 2008 $16

Westend, a sizeable Riverina winery, belongs to Bill Calabria and, under winemaker Bryan Currie, turns out high quality, modestly priced wines – like the two recommended here. Tempranillo offers generous mainstream flavours that are somehow different from what we are used to, but easy to love. The merlot is a medium bodied, plummy drop with fine, drying tannins. And for a more robust drink, Chapel Hill’s Parson’s Nose provides full-blooded, soft and savoury McLaren shiraz flavours at a modest price.

Mount Horrocks Watervale Riesling 2009 $29.95
Tamar Ridge Kayena Vineyard Tasmania Riesling 2008 $16–$20

We taste tested these contrasting, superb rieslings against the food at Lemongrass Thai in the city. The generally spicy, sometimes chilli-tinged food at Lemongrass tends to sit well with delicate aromatic wines. Mount Horrocks, from the Clare Valley’s Watervale sub-region, showed young riesling’s amazing lime-like briskness. It’s rich, purely varietal and bone dry. On its own you’d call it light and delicate. But the Tasmanian wine tasted lighter and more delicate again – its fine, acidic structure and low alcohol being attributable to the Tamar Valley’s much cooler growing climate. See and

Collector Marked Tree Shiraz 2008 $26.95
Shaw + Smith Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2007 $34–$39
rk Beechworth Shiraz $42.99

Local winemaker Alex McKay’s Collector wine looked the goods in our little tasting of top-shelf cool-climate shirazes. The benchmark Shaw + Smith sits at the very ripe, dense dark side of the cool-grown shiraz spectrum – an appealing, complex wine albeit bolder in style than the previous vintage. Rk Beechworth, made for Vintage Cellars by Giaconda’s Rick Kinzbrunner, impresses for its deep, juicy, peppery-savoury-spicy flavours. And Collector, from a couple of Murrumbateman vineyards, is a class act built on elegant, red-berry flavours and plush, fine tannins – with complex, ‘stalky’ notes derived from using whole-bunches in the ferment. It’s available on

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009