Wine review — De Bortoli and Best’s Great Western

De Bortoli Deen Series whites $9–$13

  • Vat 2 Sauvignon Blanc 2009
  • Vat 7 Chardonnay 2008
  • Vat 6 Verdelho 2009

The De Bortoli Deen Series wines combine fruit from both warm and cool regions. This achieves generosity of flavour with a zesty, light freshness. And because the warm regions produce fruit more cheaply than cooler areas, the quality to price ratio is very high. The sauvignon blanc is zesty, light and fresh with flavours towards the passionfruit-like warmer end of the varietal spectrum. The chardonnay is a million miles from the heavy styles we used to see, with pure stone fruit varietal flavour, silky texture and great freshness. The verdelho, a variety well suited to warm regions, shows a typical tangy sappiness.

De Bortoli Deen Series reds $9–$13

  • Vat 8 Shiraz 2007
  • Vat 9 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
  • Vat 1 Durif 2008

The Deen reds, too, offer unusually rich flavours at the price. The shiraz, from the low-cropping 2007 vintage is full and soft with distinctive, spicy varietal flavour with a savoury edge and quite assertive, dry tannic finish. The cabernet sauvignon shows high-toned varietal berry aromas, tinged with leafiness; and the palate is juicy and smooth, though with the firm tannic backbone of the variety. Durif (the result of a chance pollination of peloursin flowers by shiraz) is inky deep in colour with a very ripe, sweet, plummy aroma and palate, tinged with spice and wrapped in firm, dry tannins.

Best’s Great Western

  • Bin O Shiraz 2006 $60
  • Thomson Family Shiraz 2006 $150

These fabulous reds are part of Australia’s largely unknown regional wine story – belying the myth of one big, homogenous country. Henry Best founded the vineyard in 1866. The Thomson family bought it in 1920 and fourth and fifth generation Viv and Ben Thomson are still there today. Bin 0 Shiraz comes from four low yielding blocks planted, using cuttings from older vines, between 1966 and 1994. Thomson Reserve comes from a block planted by Henry Best in 1868. Best’s is a distinctive shiraz style – ripe but savoury, intense but elegant; unlike, say, juicy, soft Barossa shiraz or the spicy, berry-flavoured Canberra style.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010