Wine review — Dopf au Moulin, Richard Meyman Wines, Villa Maria, Chapel Hill, Mount Avoca and De Bortoli Bella Riva

Alsace Riesling Grand Cru Schoenenburg 2008 (Dopff au Moulin) $24–$30
Schoenenbourg vineyard, Riquewihr, Alsace, France
Approach this glorious Dopff wine with an open mind. Forget Australian riesling, or German. The floral, citrusy nose says riesling – but the accent’s unique, suggesting power and weight. The palate delivers this – intense flavour, subtly viscous texture and a seductive, sweet kiss (but not too sweet) of residual grape sugar, offset by harmonious, assertive acidity that attenuates the flavour and gives a lingering, fresh, dry finish. Its dessert-sweet cellar mate, Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Sporen 2008 ($26.40–$33) is of the same calibre. Imported by Dan Murphy.

Richard Meyman Wines Colebrook Road Pinot Noir 2010 $27–$35
Coal River Valley, Tasmania

Richard Meyman buys selected batches of grapes and has wine made for his own label – much as Australia’s great earlier wine merchants did. In this case it’s pinot noir grown in the Coal River Valley, near Hobart, and made into wine at Frogmore Creek by Alain Rousseau. It’s a complete success – bright and medium coloured, with fragrant, musk and cherry varietal aroma, a faint stalky note and a delicate, juicy, soft, loveable palate. It’s available from Glebe Liquor, Annandale Cellars and at

Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2009 $24.69–$30
Marlborough, New Zealand

When I first visited New Zealand in 1984, George Fistonich, Villa Maria’s owner, produced some of the country’s best reds at his Vidal Winery, Hawkes Bay. Across all those year’s Fistonich’s wines maintained their quality edge, even after expanding south to Marlborough, where Sir George’s team now makes some of the region’s best value pinot noir. The new release offers generous but elegant, pinot flavours and structure at a fair price. The Cellar Selection 2009 ($38–$46) offers more intensity, tannic grip and longevity.

Chapel Hill Parson’s Nose Shiraz 2010 $15.20–$17
McLaren Vale, South Australia

It’s deep and purple with an amazing pure, sweet, fruitiness – like crushed, ultra-ripe black cherries, seasoned with a lick of liquorice and bag of spices. On the palate, Parson’s Nose moves from fruitiness to “wineyness”, the deep, lush fruit pulsing up through the strong, firm tannins. Winemaker Michael Fragos says it’s all McLaren Vale and all matured in French oak. It’s a very good regional varietal, easy to drink now because of its plush fruitiness, but capable of developing savouriness with a year in bottle.

Mount Avoca Shiraz 2009 $25–$27
Pyrenees, Victoria
Winemaker John Harris writes, “As we come off the back of the incredibly challenging 2011 vintage, where no reds at all were made from our estate vineyard, it is extremely pleasing to be able to release wines from one of the best red wine vintage in the last 10 years”. And to John, we say, it’s extremely pleasing to drink a wine of this calibre – buoyant and ripe, red-berryish with spice and a touch of black pepper, full but elegant palate and firm, savoury tannins. It’s a strong, distinctive wine built for the cellar.

Bella Riva Pinot Grigio Vermentino 2010 $15–$17
King Valley, Victoria
The King Valley’s vines took off in the nineties as the area’s Italian-descended families turned their backs on tobacco growing – changing vices, so to speak. And two Italian winemaking families from Griffith, New South Wales, joined them – Miranda and De Bortoli. Among De Bortoli’s vines are pinot grigio, a mutant of pinot noir, and the Italian white variety, vermentino. De Bortoli’s low alcohol (12.5 per cent) blend of the two provides richly textured, pleasantly tart, savoury drinking, very much in the Italian style.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 7 September 2011 in The Canberra Times