Wine review — Robert Stein, Bay of Fires and Tin Soldier

Robert Stein Mudgee Reserve Riesling 2010 $45
What does Mudgee stand for as a winemaking region? I’ve visited there, judged there, and tasted wines from there since the late seventies, all without spotting a regional hero. Chardonnay stood out more than any other. Riesling, however, didn’t register until Robert Stein’s caught our attention a few years back. Winemaker Jacob Stein, says he sources fruit for the reserve wine from the family’s 32-year-old vines, at an altitude of 600 metres – considerably higher up than most Mudgee vineyards. Almost certainly the cooler site gives Stein riesling its racy edge and intense, fine, lime-like varietal flavour. It’ beautifully made a pleasure to drink, from first drop to last.

Bay of Fires Tasmania Pinot Noir $35
For a glimpse of Tasmania’s winemaking future, grab a bottle of this beautiful, silk-smooth, trophy-winning pinot before the price heads north. It’s part of Constellation Wine’s portfolio and made at their Bay of Fires Winery, Pipers River. Winemaker Fran Austin sourced fruit for the wine from a variety of clones grown on several vineyards on Tasmania’s east coast, Coal River Valley and Derwent Valley. Fran’s been tweaking the wine for about a decade, and in that time we’ve seen it evolve from a nice drop to jaw-dropping good. It joins a growing number of distinguished wines destined to make Tassie Australia’s pinot capital.

Tin Soldier Hunter Valley

  • Verdelho 2010 $18
  • Shiraz 2009 $20

Tin Soldier is the big-value member of a family produced by Swish Wines, comprising what were once the Gartelman and Warrarong vineyards in the Hunter Valley’s Lovedale sub-region. The verdelho is all about juicy freshness and fresh-from-the-vine fruit flavour – an appealing drop to quaff in its youth, then back up for the new vintage next year. The shiraz provides classy drinking at this price. Its pure, natural and fine-boned – in the Hunter’s medium-bodied, understated style. The winemaker hasn’t burdened it with too much oak, allowing the fruit to express itself. But it’s not too tutty-fruity either; it’s more trim and savoury.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010