Wine review — Moss Wood, Chateau Les Maurins, Barwang, Ravensworth and Shelmerdine

Moss Wood ‘Moss Wood Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 $90–$100
Margaret River, Western Australia

This is a class act from one of Margaret River’s original and great vineyards, founded by Bill and Sandra Pannell in 1969 and later taken over by Keith and Clare Mugford. It’s blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot – like a Medoc without merlot. Not that there’s anything missing from Moss Wood 2007 – it’s complete and elegant, featuring layers of ripe berry flavours in a matrix of firm but smooth tannins, seasoned with notes of cedary oak. This is a very good vintage of a wine with a reputation for long-term cellaring.

Chateau Les Maurins 2008 $9.99
Bordeaux, France

Alas, Bordeaux, the world’s cabernet capital bulges with overpriced, mediocre wines. Aldi, though, struck pay dirt with this Chateau Les Maurins. Handing me a glass of it, a friend asked, “What’s that”. “Claret”, I said and indeed it was – a rare example of a wine exactly matching the regional template: medium bodied, distinctly cabernet-like in Bordeaux’s own way and quite firm but not hard. It’s a decent drink-now steak wine at a fair price.

Barwang 842 Chardonnay 2007 $31–$35
Tumbarumba, New South Wales
In the early eighties, Tumbarumba’s pioneering vignerons set their sights on top-shelf bubbly, and succeeded. And the area’s cool climate also delivered superb, finely structured chardonnays. While these originally found their way into big-company flagship blends, including Penfolds Yattarna and Hardy’s Eileen Hardy, Tumbarumba ultimately triumphed in its own right. Many makers now offer beautiful, fine-boned expressions of this regional style. Barwang, made by Andrew Higgins, is a great example. At three years it’s young, fresh, intense and luxuriously textured.

Ravensworth Canberra District Marsanne 2009 $21
Murrumbateman, New South Wales

The Rhone Valley’s marsanne grape makes a variety of white styles, ranging from tough and rough to beautifully aromatic, rich and long lived. After only a few vintages Ravensworth enjoys a cult following as one of Australia’s best versions of the variety. It’s all wild-yeasted fermented in seasoned barrels, giving textural richness and a subtle patina of aroma and flavour over the bright, lemony varietal character. It’s miles removed from our usual white menu and simply delicious from first sip to last. Made Bryan Martin from fruit grown on the Martin and Kirk family vineyards.

Shelmerdine Pinot Noir 2009 $34
Yarra Valley, Victoria

This lovely wine comes from the Shelmerdine family’s biodynamic Lusatia Park vineyard – a high, cool site in the Yarra Valley. The wine captures the high toned, floral aromatics of ripe, cool-grown pinot, then delivers pleasurable depth of juicy, plush, luxurious fruit flavour – backed by serious, but soft, red wine tannins. Stephen Shelmerdine urges to us enjoy the wine in different ways according to the phases of Brian Keats’ Astro calendar. Our bottle gave equal pleasure over three nights.

Tamar Ridge Devil’s Corner Riesling 2008 $16–$22
Tamar Valley, Tasmania

A group of us recently tested Devil’s Corner with the spicy Thai food at Thirst Wine Bar and Eatery, Civic. In a word, delicious. The wine comes from the Kayena Vineyard, on the west banks of Tasmania’s Tamar River. The cool climate produces highly aromatic riesling with vibrant but delicate fruit flavour and comparatively high acidity. The acidity offsets the wine’s fruitiness and touch of sweetness, courtesy of nine grams per litre of unfermented grape sugar. What a great combination – a tease of chilli and a delicate, fruity, not quite dry white.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010