Wine review — Angullong, Peter Lehmann, Four Winds, Cape Mentelle, Chapel Hill and Tim Adams

Angullong Fossil Hill Pinot Gris 2010 $22
Orange, New South Wales

Because the Orange region is defined partly by altitude, the 220-hectare Angullung vineyard wanders in and out of the regional boundary – walk up a row of vines until you’re 600 metres or more above sea level and you’re in Orange; stand below 600 metres and you’re in the Central Ranges district. This smooth-textured wine, from the higher, cooler slopes, expresses crystal clear, pear-like varietal aroma and flavour of pinot gris. We’ve notched the rating up by one star since first tasting it three months ago as the pinot flavour and structure really let rip.

Peter Lehmann Wigan Riesling 2005 $30
Eden Valley, South Australia

Wigan Riesling – a bling-clad darling of Australia’s wine show system – delivers the great beauty of bottle aged riesling at a fair price. It’s named for Andrew Wigan, Lehmann winemaker since 1976, and sourced from low-yielding old vines up in the Eden Valley, in the ranges forming the Barossa’s eastern boundary. It’s released after five years in bottle, allowing the lovely, maturing honey and toast aromas and flavours to join the pristine, lime-like varietal character. Thanks to the screw cap it retains a dazzling freshness.

Four Winds Vineyard Merlot 2009 $19
Murrumbateman, Canberra District, New South Wales

The Lunney family’s 13-hectare vineyard lies just east of Murrumbateman and the wines are made by Graeme Lunney and his daughter, Jaime – a forensic biologist-turned-winemaker. The merlot shows high-toned, plummy aromas and the bright, vibrant fruit of the outstanding 2009 vintage. It’s medium bodied and vibrantly fruity with the elegant, taut-but-soft structure of cool-grown merlot. It’s made to enjoy now or in the next couple of years either on its own, thanks to the bright fruit and softness, or with light, savoury food.

Cape Mentelle Marmaduke Shiraz 2008 $19
Margaret River, Western Australia

Marmaduke is the budget red of Cape Mentelle winery, owned by French group, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. A blend of shiraz (88 per cent), grenache (seven per cent) and mataro (five per cent), Marmaduke shows a ripe-cherry, spicy face of shiraz – its fruit fragrance boosted by grenache and the fine, tannic finish bolstered by the mataro (aka mourvedre). The fruit comes predominantly from Cape Mentelle vineyards in Margaret River’s Wallcliffe and Karridale subregions.

Chapel Hill Mourvedre 2009 $30
McLaren Vale, South Australia

This is big brother to Chapel Hill’s simpler, fruitier and cheaper Il Vescovo Mourvedre reviewed here a few months back. It’s one of a growing number of straight mouvedres (also known as monastrell and mataro) now be being released by Australian winemakers. The thick-skinned variety tends to make inky black wines with a solid tannin backbone. In this version, made by Michael Fragos and Bryn Richards, we tasty, juicy, sweet, black-cherry fruit flavours with a complex spiciness – all backed by the signature chunky, firm, drying tannins. This is a substantial, beautifully balanced drop.

Tim Adams Reserve Tempranillo 2008 $38
Clare Valley, South Australia

Inspired by the savoury tempranillo based wines of Rioja, Spain, Tim Adams added 6.5 hectares of the variety to his Clare Valley vineyards in 2004. This, then, is one of Tim’s early attempts with the variety. It’s a blend of the best barrels made in the vintage and shows the body and weight of the hot season. The flavour’s reminiscent of ripe black cherry, underpinned by a pleasant savouriness and cut by fine, drying tannins. The savouriness and tannins temper the wine’s fruitiness, making a good match for savoury food or pure protein dishes like rare steak or lamb.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010