Wine review — Pankhurst, Mitchell and Shelmerdine

Pankhurst Canberra District Dorothy May Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 $27–$30
Pankhurst Dorothy May 2009 was the sole star of the cabernet classes in the recent Canberra Regional Wine Show. It earned the only gold medal and trophy for the variety. And what a beautiful, seductive wine it is – another gem from the great 2009 vintage. Allan and Christine Pankhurst grow the fruit on their vineyard at Hall and Roger Harris makes the wine at his neighbouring Brindabella Hills Winery. The wine’s sweet, cedary aroma combines ripe, pure varietal fruit with beautifully judged oak; these are reflected, too, in the deep, juicy, elegantly structured palate. The wine is due for release early next year. Meanwhile the gold medal winning 2006 is still available.

Mitchell Clare Valley

  • Watervale Riesling 2009 $22
  • McNicol Clare Valley Riesling 2006 $35

What a delightful pair of rieslings from Jane and Andrew Mitchell’s Clare Valley vineyards. The younger wine presents riesling’s high-toned purity and lime-like varietal aromas and flavours, typical of Watervale, at the southern end of the valley. Its shimmering fruit and brisk, tangy acidity make it a good aperitif or company for delicate seafood; and it has potential to take on toasty complexity with age. McNicol, named for Andrew’s father, comes from a higher, cooler Clare vineyard that ripens two or three weeks later than Watervale. It’s ageing slowly and gracefully – combining fresh, tingly acidity with the deeper, maturing fruit flavours.

Shelmerdine Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2009 $29
Shelmerdine is a chardonnay that grows on you sip, by sip – subtle and restrained but revealing a little more with each glass. It’s probably best served at around 8–10 degrees, allowing the fine, delicate nectarine-like varietal flavour to emerge. It’s sourced from the Shelmerdine family’s Lusatia Park vineyard near Woori Yallock in the high, cool upper Yarra Valley. The winemaker captures the intense, delicate flavour through gentle hand harvesting, whole-bunch pressing and allowing spontaneous fermentation in older French oak barrels. The barrels add little oak flavour, but the oxidative environment and presence of spent yeast cells during maturation add to the texture and complexity of the wine.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010