d’Arenberg McLaren Vale “The Cadenzia” Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre Tempranillo Cinsault 2008 $22–$25
d’Arenberg’s seductive blend contains four of the 13 varieties permitted in the reds of France’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape region – and throws in Spain’s tempranillo, too. The blend contains roughly equal portions of grenache, shiraz, mourvedre and tempranillo and just a hatful of cinsault. No single variety stands out. Instead we have a medium bodied dry red that’s subtle, soft, flavour packed and easy to drink. But it’s also savoury and complex with satisfying red wine structure – and it’s oh, so hard to screw the cap back on once it’s opened. It captures McLaren Vale’s generous flavours without the heaviness sometimes associated with our warm areas.
- McLaren Vale Sangiovese 2009 $22
- McLaren Vale Barbera 2008 $30
- Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo 2008 $35
Mark Lloyd’s Italian varieties offer a flavour world far removed our usual menu of shiraz, cabernet and pinot noir. The limpid sangiovese appeals for its medium body, savoury flavours and taut, grippy tannins – such a good combination with char-grilled meat of all kinds. The barbera startles with its vivid crimson colour and high-toned aroma – always reminiscent of summer berries, but in this warm vintage resembling very ripe mulberries. The palate is soft and round, but not without a tannic twist to finish. The deceptively pale nebbiolo offers deep, earthy flavours, tightly bound with firm, lingering, drying tannins.
- Pikes Clare “Traditionele” Valley Riesling 2009 $17–$23
- “The Merle” Riesling 2009 $33–$38
“Traditionele” and “The Merle” present slightly different, but dry, faces of Clare riesling. “Traditionele” is the softer of the two, being less acidic but still vibrantly fresh with pure, citrusy varietal flavours. It’s slightly rounder and fuller flavoured than “The Merle” but still, clearly, its sibling. “The Merle”, shows the more acidic, dry austerity of Clare’s Polish Hill sub-region. And hand-in-hand with that goes an extraordinarily intense-but-delicate lime-like varietal flavour – setting it apart from ordinary rieslings. Both have the capacity to change in pleasing ways with cellaring. But “The Merle”, I suspect, will still make us smile thirty years from now.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011