Wine review — Brindabella Hills

Brindabella Hills Canberra District Brio $20
Sometimes food, company, setting and wine combine in a magical way – as they did at Brindabella Hills late afternoon on Canberra’s mild, sunny Easter Monday. Nibbling Faye Harris’s tapas, taking in the green Murrumbidgee Valley hills and blue Brindabellas from the new cellar door patio, Brio and Argentius couldn’t have tasted better. Brio, meaning verve and vigour, is a pure, unforced expression of sangiovese – medium bodied but with a sweet, ripe kernel of cherry-like varietal flavour and firm, savoury tannins. Roger Harris says this is the noble Brunello clone of the variety, sourced from a neighbouring vineyard at Hall.

Brindabella Hills Canberra District Argentius 2008 $20
Gewürztraminer, riesling and pinot gris? Strange bed partners perhaps, but they work in Argentius – especially washing down fresh, savoury tapas at the winery (and no doubt with the ripe, soft cheese or light, spicy Asian dishes suggested by winemaker Roger Harris). High-toned, musky gewürztraminer dominates the aroma, suggesting perhaps a touch of sweetness and viscosity to come. Yes, to an extent, but the palate’s more complex – citrusy and tangy, velvety and slick. It’s off dry, with a savoury grip of tannin from the gewürztraminer and pinot gris. And thumbs up after a subsequent road test with Thai food. See

Brindabella Hills Canberra District

  • Sauvignon Blanc 2009 $18
  • Riesling 2009 $25
  • Shiraz 2007 $25

These are big value wines, looking very good indeed six months after release. The riesling is intensely aromatic, with lime and lemon-like varietal character; an intense, lime-like palate backs up the first impressions, finishing long and bone dry – a classy riesling, with good cellaring potential. The sauvy’s light and tangy, tending to herbal, and ready to drink. The shiraz, always one of Canberra’s best, comes in this vintage from Wayne and Jennie Fischer’s Nanima Vineyard, backed by a little viognier from Brindabella. It’s a dark, aromatic, more savoury than usual wine, with the characteristic firm tannins of the season. Atypical but outstanding red.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010