Wine review — Handpicked, Clonakilla and Yalumba

Handpicked Eduardo Jordan Selection Maipo Valley Carmenere 2008
Until a French vine expert identified it in 1994, Chile’s vignerons remained unaware that many of their vines, misnamed as merlot since the mid 19th century, were in fact carmenere – a variety that disappeared from Bordeaux after the phylloxera infestation. Chile now has a near monopoly on the variety. This medium bodied version combines ripe, red fruit flavours with a tangy touch of capsicum and slightly raw, though not hard, tannins. ‘Handpicked’ offers a range of wines from different winemakers, in this instance Chile’s Eduardo Jordan. The wines are available through selected independent retailers.

Clonakilla Canberra District Viognier 2010 $45
Canberra’s regional wine show becomes a powerful marketing tool for local vignerons when it’s supported by our best makers and best wines. For example, when a wine of this calibre tops its class then wins the trophy for best “other” white variety, there can be no doubting Canberra’s potential to make sublime viognier. The wine’s success puts a halo over the whole district. And what a refined, elegant, classy viognier it is. It has the classic apricot and ginger flavours of the variety, but the silky, fine, rich texture stops short of oiliness. See

Yalumba Galway Vintage Barossa Shiraz 2010 $10.42–$16
This is a new incarnation of Yalumba’s ever-popular Galway Shiraz, originally Galway Claret, dating from the 1940s. It’s a long way from the bigger, firmer style admired by Bob Menzies, but retains its delicious Barossa character. It now comes in lightweight glass bottle, and focuses on the ripe, primary, fruity fragrance of Barossa shiraz – generous, round, fleshy, soft and unburdened by too much oak (just three months in older barrels). The recommended price is around $16 but retailer discounting sometimes pushes it under $11 – then it’s a bargain.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 9 October 2011 in The Canberra Times