Wine review — Rahona Valley, Wynns, d’Arenberg and Hewitson

Rahona Valley Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir 2006 $27 and Reserve Pinot Noir 2006 $34
Dromana Estate Mornington Estate Pinot Noir 2008 $30

After a few initial misgivings, the Rahona Valley pinots offered delicious drinking for several days after opening. They have the heady aroma, deep flavours and rich texture of good pinot, marred slightly by hard tannins. They’re very good wines, but those hard tannins keep them off the pace of the polished act we’re not seeing from top Mornington makers like Main Ridge and Kooyong. The paler-coloured Dromana Estate leads with varietal and spicy oak aromas, but the palate finally lacks fruit intensity. We tried again and again to love it over several days but finally lost interest.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate

  • Riesling 2009 $15–$20
  • Chardonnay 2009 $15–$20
  • Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2007 $10–$20

Prices of Wynns wines vary enormously, depending on retailer moods. They’re good value at full retail price but become exceptional bargains when on special. Riesling 2009 is taut, acidic and flavour packed – an attractive, dry aperitif style. Chardonnay 2009 shows pure, vibrant melon-like varietal flavour. It’s full-bodied, flavour packed, fresh and dry. The red blend, with the familiar old Essendon red-striped, black label, has the austere, dry tannins of cabernet and merlot, but shiraz fills out the mid palate. The combination is very Coonawarra – deep, ripe-berry flavours with elegant but strong, assertive structure.

d’Arenberg McLaren Vale The Twenty Eight Road Mourvedre 2007 $30–$35
Hewitson Old Garden Barossa Valley Mourvedre 2008 $69
Same grape variety, similar very warm growing regions, very old vines – the former planted in the 1920s, the latter in 1853 – but, oh what different flavours they deliver. d’Arenberg’s is firm, savoury, earthy and tannic, with a core of ripe fruit; the sort of rustic wine that needs protein or savoury food as a match. Hewitson’s is stunningly aromatic, with buoyant, bright, well-deep fruit flavours (Dean Hewitson likens the flavour to glacé orange rind) with soft but mouth-filling tannin. In this hot vintage alcohol intrudes a little. But the seductive fruit wins; what a wonderful, distinctive wine from the Koch family’s venerable old vineyard.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010