Wine review — Red Knot by Shingleback, Shaw and Smith, Tahbilk and Tulloch


Red Knot by Shingleback McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010 $9.40–$14.95
Shaw and Smith Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2009 $40

Brothers Kym and John Davey own and manage the 100-hectare Shingleback vineyard – a big enough operation to produce outstanding regional wines across a range of price points. Their entry-level Red Knot shiraz presents a bright and fruity face of the Vale, backed by savoury and earthy notes. It offers huge value, especially during periods of intense discounting. Shaw and Smith produces the Adelaide Hill’s benchmark shiraz – distinctly cool climate in its fine, elegant style. In 2009 the fruit seems particularly aromatic with a floral note boosting the vibrant red-berry character. There’s great flavour depth and an amazingly silky, smooth texture.

Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes Shiraz 2008
and Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 $16.15–$19.95

The Tahbilk property sits on an anabranch of Victoria’s Goulburn River – rich, gently undulating country, spotted with massive, ancient eucalypts. It’s been in the hands of the Purbrick family since early last century and for a great deal of that time was run by Eric Purbrick, grandfather of the current custodian, Alister Purbrick. The extensive vineyard plantings cover many eras – starting with a block of shiraz planted in 1862. Even in a hot year like 2008, this comparatively cool region produced limpid, elegant wines with the property’s signature backbone of firm tannins. These are delicious, tight, savoury wines, far removed from Australia’s generally “fruit bomb” style.

Tulloch Hunter Valley Semillon 2011 $16
Fresh from the vine comes this lovely example of the Hunter Valley’s idiosyncratic, love-it or hate-it semillon style. It’s a comparatively soft expression of the style and therefore suited for early drinking – unlike some of the more austere versions that show their honeyed, toasty best only after 10, 15 or even 20 years in the bottle. It hits the scales at a modest 11.3 per cent alcohol, making it a particularly good company with lunch. The flavours are lemony and lemongrass-like, particularly brisk and fresh, but soft and refreshing in this light-bodied style – ready to drink now or over the next two or three years.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 21 August 2011 in The Canberra Times