Wine review — Shaw Vineyard Estate and Banrock Station

Shaw Vineyard Estate Canberra District

  • Laughter Series Riesling 2009 $15
  • Reserve Isabella Riesling 2009 $28

Here’s a couple of attractive wines from Graeme Shaw’s vineyard, on the Western edge of Murrumbateman. Isabella – Graeme’s new flagship, named for Isabella Anderson, matriarch of the former wool property’s founding family – is a knockout with its shimmering pale lemon-green colour, delicate floral, musky aroma and very fine, intense, brisk, dry palate. It’s all the more attractive for containing just 11 per cent alcohol. Isabella’s quaffing cellar mate’s a little darker and duller coloured with full, citrus-like varietal flavour and a slightly tart finish – not a bad wine, but there’s lots of low-priced competition out there in the quaffing stakes.

Banrock Station Mediterranean Collection – $14.99

  • Savagnin 2009
  • Pinot Grigio 2009
  • Fiano 2009

With the persistence of drier, warmer seasons Australian winemakers are looking to Spain and Italy for alternative grape varieties suited to these conditions. I’m not sure how pinot grigio – a mutant of pinot noir and at its best in humid, cool climates – snuck into this line up, but it’s a decent drop nevertheless, certainly in the drier style and leaning to pear-like varietal flavour. Savagnin, imported from Spain as albarino, until someone discovered the stuff up, is aromatic but bone dry and savoury. And fiano, a Roman variety, is full but pleasantly brisk and tart. Fiano and savagnin are currently available only at cellar door.

Banrock Station Mediterranean Collection – all $14.99

  • Montepulciano 2008
  • Tempranillo 2007

Here winemaker Paul Burnett works with one of the lesser-known (in Australia) Italian red varieties, montepulciano (not to be confused with the Tuscan town of the same name) and the increasingly popular Spanish tempranillo. In Italy, montepulciano hits it peak in Abruzzi, between the Apennines and Adriatic. This Aussie expression has pure, plummy fruit flavours, cut through with distinctive, savoury, dry tannins – a style that works well with char grilled meats, white, pink or red. The tempranillo is fleshier, with vibrant, juicy, ripe, blueberry like flavours and soft but abundant tannins drying out the finish.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009