Wine review — Cien Y Pico, Shaw Vineyard Estate and Scarborough

Cien Y Pico Manchuela Doble Pasta Tintorera 2007 $27–$30
Cien Y Pico Manchuela Knights-Errant Tintorera 2007 $50–$55

We’re seeing lots of Spanish wine in Australia – mainly reds made from tempranillo and garnacha (grenache), dry white albarino, various bubblies and sherry, particularly the lighter fino styles. Then there are these two powerful, distinctive reds, made by Australian winemaker Elena Brooks. Made from the garnacha tintorera grape (aka alicante), they’re as black as tarmac and ox strong – the product of very old bush vines grown in Spain’s baking hot, eastern highland Manchuela region. Doble Pasta focuses more on high-toned, in-your-face fruit, laced with soft tannins. Knights-Errant is even more powerful and savoury with distinct oaky notes.

Shaw Vineyard Estate Canberra District Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 $25
The Shaw family vineyard, one of Canberra’s largest, supplied grapes to Hardy’s before developing its own label. This is a common journey for Australian grape growers – and the wines generally pass through a ‘rustic’ phase as they move up the quality curve. For Graeme Shaw this was a very short journey indeed, aided by winemaker Bryan Currie and a solid effort in the Murrumbateman vineyard. The winemaking is now very polished – at the stage where quality improvements will come almost entirely from the vineyard. The 2008 cabernet is in the ripe-but-elegant mould: medium bodied, flavoursome and with the firm, slightly astringent tannins of the variety.

Scarborough Hunter Valley

  • Green Label Semillon 2009 $18
  • White Label Semillon 2009 $25

The Scarborough family winery sits atop a little hill at Pokolbin. Perhaps the jewel in their crown, though, is site of the former Sunshine vineyard, a source of the great Lindeman semillons of the sixties and seventies. The Scarboroughs replanted it and part of the material goes to their white label semillon.  The 2009 vintage of latter is a classic of the old Hunter style – bone dry, low in alcohol (10.5%), very finely textured and with intense lemongrass and lime varietal flavours. It’s a delight to drink and should age well. Green Label is a rounder, softer, drink-now version of the style.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010