Wine review — Brokenwood, Zonte’s Footstep and Jim Barry

Brokenwood Belford Block 8 Semillon 2006 $36
Belford is a sub-set of the Lower Hunter Valley and the Block 8 vineyard lies “not far from the famous ‘Village of Belford’ sign (there isn’t a village)” writes winemaker PJ Charteris. The wine sits at the very delicate end of the Hunter semillon spectrum – still pale and green tinted at four and half years’ age, with light, grassy, herbal aroma and most delicate palate imaginable. Age has added a little richness to the texture, but the wine remains strikingly youthful, fresh and purely varietal. It’s a delight to drink now but has many years, perhaps decades, to evolve in the bottle.

Zonte’s Footstep Langhorne Creek $22

  • Lake Doctor Shiraz 2008
  • Canto di Lago Sangiovese Barbera 2008
  • Avalon Tree Cabernet 2008

The Zonte’s Footstep range, made by Ben Riggs, captures regional varietal flavours from a number of sites in South Australia. Their current releases include this trio from Langhorne Creek in the hot 2008 vintage. While the cabernet lacks the fleshiness often seen from the variety in the region, it has clear varietal flavour, a core of sweet fruit and a firm, tight tannin structure. The earthier, slightly plumper shiraz also has fine, firm trying tannins. And the Canto di Lagos blend combines the vibrant summer-berry flavours of barbera with the savoury, drying tannins of sangiovese.

Jim Barry Watervale Riesling 2010 $15–$17
Don’t like riesling? Think it’s sweet? Time then to try this bone-dry, mouth-watering version from Jim Barry. It’s from Watervale, the Clare Valley’s southernmost sub-region, source of many of Australia’s greatest, long-lived dry rieslings. The wine’s pale but delivers big volumes of distinctive lime-like varietal aroma. The same brisk, lime-like flavours come through on the dry, fresh palate, leaving a clean, lingering aftertaste. There’s a lot of flavour packed into the bottle for a modest amount of money. And while it drinks well now as a delicate aperitif, it’ll take on weight and develop juicy, honeyed flavours with bottle age.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010