Wine review — Picardy, Arete and Good Catholic Girl

Picardy Pemberton

  • Pinot Noir 2008 $35
  • Chardonnay 2008 $35

There’s a great purity and drinkability to Picardy wines, made in Pemberton, Western Australia, by Bill and Dan Pannell. The pinot’s pale coloured and deeply fragrant, revealing a big part of the pinot spectrum, from slightly stalky to ripe red berries; the palate’s fine and silky textured with a flavour reflecting the aroma. It’s easy to drink, but complex and ought to age well for some years. The chardonnay clearly bears the winemaker’s imprint (barrel fermentation and maturation on yeast lees), but the keynote is the soaring, crystal-clear varietal flavour and brisk, exciting palate. The winemaking elements simply add interest to this delicious fruit.

Arete Barossa Valley “The Chatterbox” Shiraz 2009 $20
This is a sensationally fragrant, vibrant shiraz, made by former Foster’s winemaker and barrel salesman, Richard Bate. The background steered him straight to the oak-maturation and Barossa grape growing sweet spots – and the winemaking shows a spit and polish that escapes many very small-scale makers. Bates made just 350 cases of “The Chatterbox” from two western Barossa vineyards – Andy Kalleske’s Cemetery Block at Koonunga and Shawn Kalleske’s Hill Block at Greenock. The 2009 reds seem, in general, more restrained than the blockbuster 2008s – in this instance providing plush, juicy fruit flavours and tender tannins. Available at

Good Catholic Girl Clare Valley

  • Teresa” Riesling 2009 $25
  • James Brazill” Shiraz 2007 $30

Winemaker Julie Barry (the “head girl”) sourced her riesling from Barry Marsson’s vineyard at Watervale, southern Clare, and the shiraz from in the Armagh Valley, near Clare township. The riesling, though only 11.8 per cent alcohol, sits at the richer end of the regional style spectrum – in its own pure, vigorous, citrus-varietal way. It’s bone and dry best enjoyed with food, rather than as an on-its-own aperitif, as you might with a more delicate riesling. The shiraz weighs in at 15 per cent alcohol but the very rich, ripe fruit, buckets of soft tannins and silky texture completely mask this.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010