Wine review — Lark Hill, Tar and Roses, and Campbells

Lark Hill Canberra District Riesling 2011 $30
What sort of riesling do we get from Canberra’s highest, coolest vineyard in a wet, cool growing season? Probably the sort of riesling Lark Hill made in previous cool periods. It’s pale coloured and aromatic in a pure, minerally, lemon-citrus way. The minerality and lemon-citrus flavours come through, too, on a pure, scintillating palate of great delicacy. High acidity accentuates the fruit flavour. The Lark Hill website notes, “A cool summer and mild autumn resulted in a return to our normal long-term average heat summation, giving delicate flavours, vibrant acidity and a lower final alcohol”.

Tar and Roses Central Victoria Pinot Grigio 2011 $18
Pinot grigio (= grey) lives up to its name here, giving this “white” wine a pale grey-pink tint. It’s sourced from the Nagambie Lakes (74 per cent) and Strathbogie Ranges (26 per cent) and matured on yeast lees in older oak barrels for one month. This treatment accentuates the wine’s rich, smooth texture, an important element in wines made from this variety. It’s a little more perfumed than most pinot grigios, revealing a touch of pear-like character and even a hint of strawberry. The palate’s rich, soft and delicious – another very good wine from winemakers Don Lewis and Narelle King.

Campbells Rutherglen Tempranillo 2010 $18.90
The total volume of the Spanish red variety, tempranillo, remains small. But plantings are widespread and the variety performs well in a range of climates, including Canberra’s – notably at Mount Majura. It’s a niche variety that may well move mainstream in the long run as it offers the full, upfront fruit flavours Australian drinkers are used to, but with a difference. Campbell’s version is in the drink-me-now style, offering mouth-filling, vibrant blueberry like fruit flavours – quite distinct from, say, cabernet or shiraz. After the initial hit of fruit, quite firm, savoury tannins move in, adding to the savoury impact of the wine.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 4 September 2011 in The Canberra Times