Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley Vat 47 Chardonnay 2007 $40
Coldstream Hills Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2008 $29
Printhie Orange MCC Chardonnay 2008 $35
Voyager Estate Margaret River Chardonnay 2008 $38
This is a run of beautiful, luxurious chardonnays, all fermented and matured in oak barrels – but in every case the oak simply disappears into a wonderful amalgam of fruit-led flavours. My pick, by a small margin, is Tyrrell’s ultra fine, ripe-but-taut Vat 47 – a proven keeper. The others run in a tight pack, with Coldstream and Printhie sharing intense nectarine-like varietal flavour – the Printhie being a little tighter and steelier in structure. Voyager Estate delivers riper, peach-like flavours but, as in all of the above, harmoniously enveloped in barrel-derived complexities.
Craggy Range Hawkes Bay Block 14 Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2007 $28–$32
Hermitage (Domaine des Martinelles) 2005 $72–$80
Collector Canberra District Reserve Shiraz 2008 $45–$50
And for luxurious fine-boned, cool-climate shiraz try these contrasting styles from New Zealand, France and Canberra, all purchased in local liquor stores. NZ and shiraz, you ask? Isn’t it too cold? Yes, generally, but at Hawke’s Bay a little pocket of land, the Gimblett Gravels, makes intense, succulent, fine versions of our favourite variety in warm, dry years like 2007. Craggy Range is a good example of it. Hermitage, Rhone Valley home of shiraz (syrah to the French), makes a more potent, sinewy style – well illustrated in this modern, clean example. And Collector Reserve shows the fine, spicy intensity of the Canberra style at its best.
Pewsey Vale Vineyard Eden Valley Riesling 2009 $13.49–$23
It won’t be long before the 2010 rieslings trickle into the market. But if you’re after absolutely outstanding drinking right now, mop up the rest of Pewsey Vale’s extraordinarily delicious 2009. I’ve seen it as low as $13.49 but more commonly on discount at $15-$16 (though you can pay more if you want). It’s from the Hill-Smith family’s 50-hectare Pewsey Vale vineyard, located on the edge of the Eden Valley. Louisa Rose makes the wine just a few kilometres down the hill at the Yalumba Winery, Angaston, centre of the Hill-Smith wine operations.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010