Wine review — Cherubino, Eden Road and Zonte’s Footstep

Cherubino Great Southern Riesling 2011 $35
Cherubino Pemberton Sauvignon Blanc 2011 $35

As a winemaker for BRL Hardy (at the time the biggest vineyard owner in Western Australia) Larry Cherubino developed an intimate knowledge of the state’s vineyards – a knowledge he now exploits with great aplomb in producing his own wines. His Great Southern Riesling 2011 combines intensity of flavour and textural richness with a unique delicacy – an exciting, racy riesling to enjoy with salads and cold cuts. Cherubino makes several sauvignons, including this full-flavoured, soft version from Pemberton. It combines sauvignons distinctive herbaceous with a subtle touch of oak-derived spice and savouriness.

Eden Road Canberra District Riesling 2011 $21
Shortly after vintage this year, Eden Road wines purchased Doonkuna Estate, Murrumbateman, then relocated from Kamberra Winery, Watson, to the heart of Canberra’s shiraz and riesling country. By then, winemaker Nick Spencer had already made this distinctive Murrumbateman riesling – fermented in 2,500-litre old oak vats. This is an unusual technique in Australia (stainless steel is the norm), but commonplace in Alsace and Germany. This micro-oxidative technique generally mutes primary fruit flavour and adds texture. In Spencer’s wine, the pleasantly tart, lemony character of the cool 2011 vintage cuts through the rich, fine texture, leaving a lingering, clean, fresh aftertaste.

Zonte’s Footstep Canto di Lago
Langhorne Creek Sangiovese Barbera 2010 $17.49–$20

Like the name, the wine combines bits of Italy and Australia.  A 50:50 blend of the Italian varieties sangiovese and barbera, Canto di Lago (song of the lake), brings together the sweet, brisk, piquant, summer-berry flavours of barbera and the firm, fine savoury tannins of sangiovese. The same blend made in Italy probably wouldn’t much resemble this all-Australian effort. It reflects the unique growing conditions of Langhorne Creek, cooled by breezes from nearby Lake Alexandrina, and a modern Australian approach to winemaking – capturing the pure, clean flavours of the grapes and sealing them in a bottle with an hygienic screw cap.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 11 December 2011 in The Canberra Times