Wine review — Willow Creek, Clonakilla and Coriole

Willow Creek Vineyard Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay 2009 $40
Willow Creek is one of many beautiful Mornington Peninsula vineyards to make stunning chardonnay and pinot noir. Winemaker Geraldine McFaul writes that the wine is estate-grown, whole-bunch pressed, fermented in oak barrels (25 per cent new) and matured on yeast lees in the barrels, with regular lees stirring, for 10 months. It also undergoes full malolactic fermentation (converting hard malic acid to soft lactic acid). The result is a fine, delicate chardonnay that blossoms after opening for some time, revealing delicious, subtle nectarine-like varietal flavour. A silky, fine texture adds to the appeal. And bottle age should bring out more magic.

Clonakilla Canberra District Jack Reidy Shiraz 2009 $28–$35
This is one of several shirazes made under proprietors’ labels exclusively for the Coles liquor group and available in their 1st Choice and Vintage Cellars outlets. This one, named for Clonakilla founder John Kirk’s grandfather, expresses the bright, generous fruit flavour of the great 2009. It’s a little more upfront and simpler in its fruit expression than Clonakilla’s other two more-expensive Canberra shiraz viognier blends. Nevertheless it shows Tim Kirk’s deft touch with these varieties. It’s totally seductive; our sample disappeared in less than an hour. Although it’s easy to drink now, it should age well for three or four years.

Coriole McLaren Vale

  • Redstone Shiraz 2008 $18
  • Estate Shiraz 2008 $28

A severe March heat wave in 2008 brought vintage on in a rush and pushed grape ripeness to unprecedented levels. Coriole’s Mark Lloyd said he coped by declassifying over ripe, late picked batches. Certainly he produced a couple of very good wines in the difficult conditions. Redstone, sourced from Coriole and other vineyards, is a nice chunky wine at the price, packed with ripe flavours and cut with firm, satisfying, savoury tannins. The estate-grown version is more intensely flavoured and more fine boned but still has the firm, savoury tannins of the vintage.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010