Wine review — Howard Park, TarraWarra and Ten Minutes by Tractor

Howard Park Great Southern Museum Riesling 2006 $35
Today’s selections are all exceptional wines – special treats to savour over the festive season. First off the rank is this museum release from Howard Park Wines at Denmark, in Western Australia’s Great Southern Region – one of Australia’s great specialty riesling producing areas. And in Howard Park 2006 we experience riesling’s fine, mouth-watering lime-like varietal flavour, subtly overlaid with the toasty depth of bottle age. A screw cap ensures the wine remains vividly fresh as well as delivering mature aromas and flavours. 2006 was the 21st release of this highly regarded wine.

TarraWarra Estate Reserve Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2008 $60
Don’t be put off by the pale colour. This is a sensational, seductive pinot that builds in power and interest as you sip through the bottle. The aroma is all pinot – high toned and pure, combing red berry notes with an underlying gaminess. The palate starts fine boned and delicate, with juicy fruit flavours and soft tannins. But with every glass the flavour volume expands, the texture seems more luxurious and the authoritative structure of the tannins adds to the satisfying drinking experience. It’s really an ideal red wine for Australian Christmas as it’s deeply, excitingly flavoursome, vibrant and not at all heavy.

Ten Minutes by Tractor Mornington Peninsula McCutcheon Chardonnay 2008 $55
McCutcheon is one of two single-vineyard chardonnays, from Mornington’s Main Ridge, produced at Ten Minutes by Tractor. It’s a great example of modern Australian cool-climate chardonnay making. The grapes are hand harvested and whole-bunch pressed, ensuring minimal pick of tannins from the skins. The process preserves the purity of varietal flavour and gives the wine delicacy, despite the intense flavours. Fermentation and maturation in oak barrels (33 per cent new) builds texture and subtle flavours around the core of fruit, creating a brilliant, fresh wine of great complexity. The wine has sufficient body and richness to carry rich Christmas seafood like prawns and lobster.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010