Wine review — d’Arenberg, Mount Majura, Mount Horrocks and Henschke

d’Arenberg McLaren Vale “The Dead Arm” Shiraz 2007 $60
Grab a magnifying glass and you can read a lovely back-label treatise on the fungus “eutypa lata” and how it reduces an arm of the vine to dead wood (the dead arm) while the other side of the vine bears small crops of grapes of “amazing intensity”. You can read on and learn all the winemaking details. Better still, you can then twist the cap off and savour this extraordinary red, with some understanding of its origins and the traditions behind its making. It’s dense, deep, vibrant and layered with ripe fruit and tannin – but at the same time it’s savoury, earthy and satisfying.

Mount Majura Canberra District

  • Riesling 2009 $21
  • Chardonnay 2009 $21
  • Pinot Gris 2010 $23

There’s great value here from winemaker Frank van de Loo at Mount Majura. The wines are all estate-grown and made. Riesling 2009 looks young, taut and fresh at 18 months, a bone-dry aperitif riesling with a zesty, lemony dryness. The chardonnay shows generous nectarin- and-melon varietal flavours backed by a rich, fine texture derived from barrel fermentation and maturation. It’s taut, fresh and structured to age well in the medium term. The pinot gris flaunts its youth with a high-toned, musk-edged aroma – but, under that, the crisper pear like varietal character lurks, ready to take over after a few months bottle age.

Mount Horrocks Watervale Riesling 2010 $30
Henschke Julius Eden Valley Riesling 2010 $31

The variable and early 2010 vintage seems to be throwing out some terrific rieslings like this contrasting pair from Watervale, Southern Clare, and the Eden Valley, a little to the south of Clare, but also on the Mount Lofty Ranges. The green-tinted Mount Horrocks, made by Stephanie Toole, offers shimmering, lime-like varietal flavour and matching, bracing acidity. It’s an exciting riesling, good as an aperitif now but probably destined for a long life in the cellar. Henschke’s wine leans more to riesling’s floral side, with a slightly rounder, softer palate than the Clare wine. But it’s a wine of great depth and with proven cellaring potential.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010