Wine review — Alkoomi, Leeuwin Estate, Voyager Estate, Glenpara, Rochford and TarraWarra Estate

Alkoomi Frankland River Riesling 2009 $18
Frankland River, Great Southern, Western Australia

In three days based in Denmark, Western Australia, we covered all too little of the vast Great Southern region and none of Frankland River, one its five sub-regions. The Denmark Liquor store, however, helped fill the gaps with its wide range of local wines, including this lovely dry riesling from Sandy and Rob Hallett’s Alkoomi. It delivers crystal-clear citrus varietal aroma and flavour and fine, delicate, finish – the perfect after work (or travel) refresher.

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2007 $82.50–$100
Margaret River, Western Australia

If $90–$100 retail, or even $82.50 a bottle cellar door seems out there for chardonnay, even a world-class drop like Leeuwin, how about $20 for a generous glass at Leeuwin’s restaurant? It’s worth it for a wine of this calibre – a luxurious drop, big on nectarine-like varietal flavour and backed by the complexity of high quality oak, and all the textural and flavour nuances it brings. Should’ve bought the bottle we decide after four glasses! (Erroneously rated four-stars in my Canberra Times review. This was a production error, the actual rating is five-stars).

Voyager Estate Girt by Sea Cabernet Merlot 2008 $24
Margaret River, Western Australia

Voyager Estate’s ‘Girt by Sea’ is to Margaret River what Majella’s ‘The Musician’ is to Coonawarra – a richly flavoured, finely structured, medium-bodied red built to drink now but without losing regional identity. ‘Girt by Sea’ reveals Margaret River’s greatest winemaking strength – blending cabernet sauvignon and merlot to produce a harmonious red, based on ripe berry aromas and flavours and backed by fine, savoury tannins – a delicious luncheon red. It’s sourced from Voyager’s ‘north block’ vineyard and the vines are up to 15 years old.

Glenpara Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2006 $25
Barossa and Clare Valleys, South Australi
In 2007 Foster’s sold its historic 185-hectare Seppeltsfield property to a group of investors led by Clare Valley based Kilikanoon Wines. Seppeltsfield now offers table wines under its Glenpara label – in this instance one of those rarest of all beasts, a red with bottle age. The blend of grenache, shiraz and mataro (aka mourvedre) provides juicy, earthy, spicy, soft and satisfying current drinking. The bottle age moves it out of the primary fruit spectrum square into satisfying real-red territory.

Rochford Pinot Gris 2009 $28–$33
Macedon, Victo
The hot, dry 2009 vintage kept pinot gris yields in Rochford’s Macedon vineyard to less than 2.5 tonnes per hectare. This partly explains the richness of fruit flavour that, in combination with great textural richness, gives an impression of sweetness. Yet the wine carries a barely-detectable five grams a litre of residual sugar. This is true, cool-grown pinot gris – with a light rinse of bronze-pink colour, clear varietal flavour, silky, slightly oily texture and very fresh, lively acidity.

TarraWarra Estate Pinot Noir 2009 $22
Yarra Valley, Victoria and Tumbarumba, New South Wales

Clare Halloran makes very fine, graceful Yarra Valley pinot noir. But faced with a shortage of good grapes in the severe heat and savage bush fires of 2009 she looked beyond TarraWarra for suitable fruit. The resulting one-off blend combines Yarra pinot (55 per cent) with material from a single vineyard in Tumbarumba (45 per cent). It’s in Clare’s pale-coloured but punchy style – delicately perfumed, with deep berry, savoury, gamey varietal flavours and fine but grippy structural tannins. It’s a joy to drink now and should hold for three or four years.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010