Pizzini Sangiovese 2009 $26.90–$30
King Valley, Victoria
Several Pizzini brothers emigrated from Italy’s Trento Alto Adige region in the 1950s, ultimately settling in Myrtleford and growing tobacco. With tobacco increasingly on the nose, in 1978 second-generation Fred Pizzini planted vines in the King Valley, originally as a supplier to Brown Brothers. In 1994 Fred and wife, Natalie, launched their own brand. By this time they’d been growing Italian varieties for a decade. Son Joel now makes the wines, including this impressive sangiovese. It’s medium bodied with vibrant cherry-like varietal flavour and a deep, tasty savoury vein. The savoury, assertive, soft tannins combine with the fruit to provide a unique and rewarding drinking experience.
Yering Station Village Chardonnay 2010 $25
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Yering Station, first planted to vines by the Ryrie family in 1838, is today part of the Rathbone Wine Group. The group also owns Xanadu Margaret River, Parker Coonawarra Estate and Mount Langi Ghiran Pyrenees. Yering’s new ‘Village’ label salutes the Burgundian concept of wines from a general vicinity sitting one rung lower on the quality ladder than those from individual sites. Flavour (melon and grapefruit-like), finesse and elegance are the keywords for this appealing example of modern, cool-climate chardonnay.
Brown Brothers Prosecco 2011 $22.90
Banksdale Vineyard, King Valley, Victoria
The King Valley, with its strong Italian heritage, has become a hot spot for this delicate sparkling wine, modelled on the originals from northeastern Italy. The style emphasises lightness, freshness and delicate fruit flavour – in this instance reminiscent of tart, just-picked, new season granny smith apples. This pleasant tartness is an endearing, unique feature of good prosecco, making it an excellent but unobtrusive aperitif and all-round food wine.
Philip Shaw No. 89 Shiraz 2009 $50
Koomooloo Vineyard, Orange, New South Wales
Philip Shaw’s glorious, demure, slow-evolving wine, appears upstaged at present by its fruit-riot, precocious, $17–$20 sibling, “The Idiot” Shiraz, winner of three trophies at the 2011 Sydney wine show. With a little aeration, though, Shaw’s flagship reveals the intensely spicy fruitiness and heady aromatics of cool-grown shiraz – with layers of supple, smooth, fine, ripe tannin. The inclusion of one per cent of the white viognier in the blend no doubt contributes to the aroma and supple texture.
Dandelion Vineyard Wonderland of the Eden Valley Riesling 2011 $30
Colin Kroehn vineyard, Eden Valley, South Australia
What a wonderful story and sense of place lie behind this wine. It’s summed up on the back label, “Colin Kroehn has tended his Eden Valley riesling for 66 of his 86 years. Our [wine] is made entirely from his vineyard which was planted in 1912 and thrives to this day”. The “we” being a small group of wine people intent on presenting wines from unique vineyard sites. The wine shows varietal floral and lemony aromas – characters reflected on an intensely flavoured, dry palate of rare delicacy.
Evans and Tate Classic Cabernet Merlot 2010 $13–$15
Margaret River, Western Australia
Evans and Tate, part of the McWilliams family since 2007, offers tremendous value across its range – starting with this budget-priced, genuine Margaret River blend. Sourced from the central and northern parts of the region, it’s a medium bodied blend, featuring sweet, verging on floral, varietal red-berry aromas. The particularly vibrant berry flavours provide juicy, easy drink-now pleasure at a modest price.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 16 November 2011 in The Canberra Times