Grosset Springvale Vineyard Watervale Riesling 2011 $36
Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 2011 $49
Despite widespread crop losses to mildew and botrytis, the wet, cold 2011 vintage delivered stunning quality in some white varieties where growers kept disease at bay and processed only clean fruit. The cool growing conditions produced higher than average acidity which, when combined with fully ripened fruit, meant the sort of intense, fine flavours seen in these two brilliant rieslings from Clare winemaker, Jeffrey Grosset. The Watervale wine shows delicate lime-like flavours and minerality; the Polish Hill is more austere in structure with amazingly powerful flavours underneath the acidity. These are exciting wines capable of long-term cellaring.
Tscharke Only Son Marananga Vineyard
Barossa Valley Tempranillo 2010 $25
We snuck this in towards the end of a tasting of tempranillos from across Australia. The variety seems adaptable to a wide range of climates, producing different styles in different areas. Damien Tscharke’s version, sourced from vineyards at Marananga, Western Barossa Valley, bear the regional thumbprint of full body and soft tannin, within the varietal spectrum. The colour’s notably deeper than wines from cooler areas and the palate’s full, ripe, fleshy and round – but still vibrant and varietal. The tannins, though soft for tempranillo, permeate the fruit and complete the red wine story. This is a really high-class example of this fascinating variety.
Tulloch Hunter Valley Verdelho 2011 $12.35–$16
Tulloch Hunter Valley Vineyard Select Verdelho 2011 $20
Verdelho, from the Island of Madeira, has a long history in Australia, originally as a valued component in fortified wines. But like the red varieties shiraz and mourvedre, it moved easily into the world of table wine, principally in our warmer growing areas. Tulloch’s cheaper version captures the sappy, tropical and citrusy varietal characters pretty well in a grape-fresh, refreshing off-dry style. The vineyard selection version, from Denman (upper Hunter) and Pokolbin (lower Hunter) turns up the intensity of sweet, juicy fruit flavours and finishes a little drier. They make an interesting alternative to sauvignon blanc in the fruity, drink-now style.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 30 October 2011 in The Canberra Times