Beurrot by Kooyong Pinot Gris 2010 $27–$30
Meres Block and Beurrot vineyards, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Today’s reviews include two really good, very different expressions of pinot gris, a variety that all too often produces non-descript wines. The first, made by Sandro Mosele, demonstrates the combined power of great fruit and assertive, but skilled, winemaking inputs. Mosele says he whole-bunch pressed the fruit, then moved the juice to old oak barrels for spontaneous fermentation, followed by maturation on yeast lees for 10 months. This approach added a distinct patina of aromas and flavours, including a “struck match” aroma and a considerable boost to the natural viscosity of the variety. These add great appeal to the intense pear and stone fruit varietal flavour.
Toi Toi Brookdale Reserve Pinot Gris 2010 $17.09–$19
Brookdale Vineyard, Omaka Valley, Marlborough New Zealand
Toi Toi’s pinot gris focuses on pure, fresh varietal flavour, enriched by a modest amount of residual grape sugar and textural richness derived from maturation on yeast lees. To preserve the varietal character, winemaker Chris Young fermented only the free-run portion of the juice at low temperatures in steel tanks, using a selection of yeast strains. This produced a, fresh, highly aromatic, richly textured off dry white, featuring pear-like varietal flavour.
Toi Toi Clutha Pinot Noir 2010 $16.15–$18
Central Otago, New Zealand
Central Otago’s reputation for pinot noir stems largely from higher priced classics like Felton Road. But the growing production of this cool region at 45 degrees south means not every drop wins a place on the top shelf. Toi Toi, made intentionally for this modest (for pinot) price, offers terrific value. The colour’s pale (not unusual for pinot) but the palate presents convincing, and delicious, red-berry varietal flavour, supported by fine, firm tannins and brisk acidity. It’s a drink-now style.
Massale by Kooyong Pinot Noir 2010 $25.95–$30
Haven and Ballewindi Vineyards, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Massale offers a significant step up in pinot quality without a massive price increase. The colour’s perhaps half a tone deeper than Toi Toi pinot, with a vibrant crimson hue at the rim. The aroma suggests ripe, black cherry with savoury and earthy notes. The vibrant, juicy palate reflects these flavours in a savoury way that only pinot achieves. Fine fruit and oak tannins permeate the fruit, providing structure and convincing red-wine finish.
Brothers in Arms No. 6 Shiraz Cabernet 2006 $17–$24
Adams Family Vineyard, Langhorne Creek, South Australia
Whether by design or slow sales, the Adams family still offers the 2006 vintage of their generous shiraz-cabernet blend – when most retail red-wines come from 2009 or 2010. The extra age softens and completes the wine for current drinking. There’s a touch of Langhorne Creek’s “eucalyptus” in the aroma – but, more importantly, oodles of fleshy fruit and soft tannins. The wine’s subject to bouts of discounting and offers great value at the lower end of the price range, and not so good at the higher end.
Eperosa Totality Mataro Shiraz 2009 $25
Rosedale and Moppa Springs, Barossa Valley, South Australia
There’s a wonderful movement flourishing in the Barossa, where talented young winemakers with good local knowledge source wine from small, high quality vineyards. Eperosa’s Brett Grocke writes, “We source wine grapes from our favourite sites throughout the Barossa and Eden Valleys”. In this instance, spicy, firm mataro (75 per cent) from Rosedale joins plump, soft shiraz (25 per cent) from Moppa Springs. It’s a big, fine-boned, beautifully proportioned red revealing an irresistibly delicious face of the Barossa. Only 800 bottles made; available at www.eperosa.com.au
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 21 September 2011 in The Canberra Times