Wine review — Tamar Ridge, Bleasdale and Chalkers Crossing

Tamar Ridge Tasmania

  • Devil’s Corner Pinot Noir 2009 $18–$21
  • Kayena Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008 $28–$31

Devil’s Corner still seems more like grapes than wine, but give it another six months in bottle and it should’ve turned the corner. The fruit flavour’s terrific – pure, ripe, musky pinot backed by fine, dry tannins. It’s sourced from Tasmania’s Tamar Valley and the East Coast. The more robust 2008 comes from Tamar Ridge’s Kayena Vineyard in the Tamar Valley. It’s not as plump as the 2007, perhaps reflecting the vintage, but it has good pinot fragrance, some savoury notes and sufficient fruit to carry the oak. Tamar Ridge is owned by Gunns Limited and managed by veteran winemaker Andrew Pirie.

Bleasdale McLaren Vale Langhorne Creek Tempranillo Malbec 2008 $20–$24
In the good old Aussie cross-regional blending tradition, Bleasdale came up with this novel pairing – malbec from their own Langhorne Creek vineyards and the Spanish variety, tempranillo, from neighbouring McLaren Vale. The wine has malbec’s dense, purple colour. But just where malbec drops off and tempranillo takes over isn’t so apparent in the aroma and flavour. The combination, though, is intensely fruity, bordering on brash. Both varieties carry a fair tannin load so, not surprisingly, the fruit’s mollified by a firm, but not hard, red wine structure.

Chalkers Crossing Hilltops

  • Riesling 2009 $18
  • Semillon $18

These are made by Celine Rousseau using grapes from Chalkers Crossing’s Rockleigh Vineyard, near Young. The area makes terrific shiraz and riesling (a natural pairing in Canberra and the Clare Valley, too). The riesling is floral and fragrant and strongly varietal, leaning towards the lemon and lime end of the spectrum. The racy, dry, delicate palate carries these citrus flavours deliciously. It’s a great aperitif. Rousseau’s barrel fermented semillon, too, is bone dry with mouth-watering, tangy lemon and lemongrass varietal flavours, saved from austerity by the barrel-derived creamy texture. This is a popular way to make semillon in Bordeaux, though usually in tandem with sauvignon blanc.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010