Wine review — d’Arenberg, Kingston Estate and Michel Chapoutier

d’Arenberg The Money Spider McLaren Vale Roussanne 2009 $17-$19

d’Arenberg, The Vale’s master of the Rhône Valley red varieties grenache, shiraz and mourvedre, some years back turned its hand, with equal panache, to the white varieties, marsanne, viognier and roussanne. The shy roussanne appeals strongly in the 2009 vintage. The aroma and flavour are reminiscent of stone fruit and honey. The palate begins juicy, full and smoothly viscous. But it’s also dry and savoury with a pleasant, subtle twist of tannin to finish. In its northern Rhone home, roussanne is normally blended with other varieties, but in Money Spider it stands comfortably alone.

Kingston Estate Padthaway-Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2010 $12–$14

In this blend Bill Moularadellis combines the full, ripe-melon and nectarine character of chardonnay from Padthaway (about two hours drive north of Mount Gambier) with tangier, citrus-like material from the cooler Adelaide Hills. It’s tasty, inexpensive and always tempting to come back for another sip as the wine’s complex and interesting but also bright, fruity and refreshing. Clever use of oak and contact with yeast lees added texture and subtle flavours as a backdrop to the vibrant varietal flavours.

Cotes-du-Rhone (M. Chapoutier) 2008 $15–$18

This is what a French country wine should be about but often is not – clean, tasty, pleasing to drink, realistically priced with flavours reflecting region and variety. Chapoutier’s blend combines grenache and shiraz from the Drome, Vaucluse, Gard and Ardeche in the southern Rhone Valley. It’s medium bodied, with spicy, earthy grenache leading the nose and palate and shiraz adding grip and structure. It’s not as fleshy or as in-your-face fruity as comparable Australian blends, but that’s only to do with individual style, not quality. What a terrific, distinctive drink at a fair price.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011