Wine tasting — McWilliams Hanwood and Crittenden Estate

McWilliam’s Hanwood Chardonnay 2007 $9–$13
This is the story of the cheeky ocker wine that took on posh champs from around the world and won! In the Chardonnay du Monde competition, Burgundy, in March, humble Hanwood earned a gold medal and a top-10 placing. It’s not an unusual achievement for a cheaper Australian wine. And it underscores the value of cross-regional blending. In this case the McWilliam winemakers blended warm grown (and cheaper) chardonnay with more elegant, intensely flavoured material from cooler regions – achieving economy, flavour and freshness without heaviness. It’s consistently one of the best, so simply move on to the next vintage when this one’s gone.

Crittenden Estate Mornington Peninsula The Zumma Pinot Noir 2007 $49.99
I think Mornington offers more top-end pinot than any Australian region at present – a position that may change over time. It’s clearly well suited to the variety, has a substantial mass of plantings and almost thirty years’ intensive work under its belt. The Zumma is a great example of what the region can achieve. It’s sourced from the Crittenden family’s vineyard, established in 1982 in the very early days of Australia’s fascination with this great Burgundian variety. The wine’s heady perfume, richness and depth belie its light colour – but that’s pinot. It’s finely structured, silky textured, pure and complex.

Crittenden Estate Los Hermanos Tempranillo 2008 $30
Garry Crittenden, one of Australia’s pioneers of alternate varieties, blazed a trail with Italian varietals before turning, with the help of his children, Rollo and Zoe, to Spanish reds and whites. Among them, they’ve produced an exciting Los Hermanos Tempranillo 2008. It’s deep and crimson rimmed with fragrant, ripe, fruity aroma and plush, juicy palate with flavours reminiscent of very ripe cherries. But there’s plenty of soft tannin layered in with the fruit so that even though it’s very young and very enjoyable now it has the grip and texture of real red. It’s sourced from the Crittenden’s vineyard at Patterson Lake, 20km north of the Mornington Peninsula.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009