Wine review — Pizzini, Waipara Hills and Paxton

Pizzini King Valley Verduzzo 2010 $20–$22
Verduzzo, a native of north eastern Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giula region, thrives on the Pizzini family’s vineyards on the river flats of Victoria’s King Valley. It makes full-bodied dry white (although there’s a sweet version, too), with an aroma and taste reminiscent of melon rind and lemon. The fresh, full palate finishes with a pleasant, tart bite, setting it apart from mainstream varieties. It’s fermented mainly in stainless steel tanks at low temperature to capture fresh fruity flavours. But a small component fermented in oak barrels adds subtle complexity and rich texture.

Waipara Hills Equinox Pinot Noir 2009 $27–$30
New Zealand’s Waipara region sits between Christchurch and Marlborough in northern Canterbury. Clearly its long, cool, dry ripening season suits pinot noir. Equinox is a pale to medium in colour, with a bright, youthful crimson hue at the rim. It’s highly aromatic, featuring much of the pinot spectrum: spice, musk, red berries and earthiness. These characters come through, too, on a very fine and elegant, tasty palate. High acidity joins with fine tannins to give structure and a racy, freshness. It’s a wine to enjoy over the next two or three years but seems to lack the length or depth to develop over the long term.

Paxton AAA McLaren Vale Shiraz Grenache 2009 $20–$23
This is an irresistibly slurpable, gentle wine built on vibrant fruit flavours and proven symbiosis of the shiraz-grenache blend. It’s generously flavoured and ripe, as you’d expect from warm McLaren Vale. But there’s nothing heavy, hot or overly tannic about it as we sometimes see from these warmer areas. David Paxton writes that it’s a blend of five parcels of shiraz with three of grenache – ultimately in a ratio of two-thirds shiraz to one-third grenache. The grenache tempers the shiraz, adding fragrant high notes and an attractive spiciness to the fuller earthy, savoury shiraz character.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011