Wine review — Red Knot, McHenry Hohnen, Dowie Doole and Main Ridge

Red Knot McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 $13–$15
McHenry Hohnen Tiger Country Margaret River Tempranillo Petit Verdot Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 $28–$31.50

Here we have the quintessential and quirky of Australian winemaking. Red Knot Cabernet, from the Davey family’s Shingleback vineyard, McLaren Vale, evokes words like ripe, juicy, fruity, varietal and soft – a bright, fresh, flavoursome, lovable, red to enjoy now. McHenry Hohnen’s quirky blend of Spain’s tempranillo with Bordeaux’s petit verdot and cabernet sauvignon leads with the green, unripe aroma of cool-grown cabernet – then a more attractive funky, earthy note kicks in, suggesting a substantial palate. Alas, though, the green cabernet flavours take over again, diminishing, to my taste, the wine’s other virtues. It’s an adventurous style that may work with a little more ripeness.

Dowie Doole McLaren Vale G & T Garnacha Tempranillo 2009 $22–$25
McHenry Hohnen Margaret River 3 Amigos 2007 $21–$24
We love our grenache, shiraz, mourvedre blends. They’re Rhone in origin but thoroughly adapted to Australia’s hot, dry climate. But now we have to throw another variety in the blending pot – Spain’s tempranillo. In Spain, it’s often blended with garnacha (aka grenache), as it is in this attractive McLaren Vale red – a plush, lively youngster with a surprisingly savoury, dry richness. In 3 Amigos, a blend of shiraz, grenache and mourvedre, earthy, spicy fruit flavours lurk beneath the pleasantly astringent tannins. It’s intensely dry and savoury and works well with savoury food.

Main Ridge Estate Mornington Peninsula

  • Chardonnay 2008 $52
  • Half Acre Pinot Noir 2008 $65

Few pinot noirs and chardonnays in the world match the purity and finesse of those made by Nat and Rosalie White at Main Ridge Estate, Mornington Peninsula. They’re subtle, harmonious wines, built on deep, sweet, pure fruit flavours and barely revealing the hand of the winemaker. The rich, but delicate 2008 chardonnay combines pristine, cool-climate varietal flavour with the texture and complexity that could only come from full barrel fermentation and maturation – but the flavour components are inseparably combined. The equally glorious pinot 2008 starts with ripe varietal flavour; then, as you sip the silky texture builds and the assertive, fine tannins declare it as a classic for long cellaring.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010