Wine review — St Hallett, Jim Barry and De Bortoli

St Hallett Barossa Valley Faith Shiraz 2008 $12.80–$16
St Hallett, now part of Lion Nathan, continues to produce high-quality Barossa wines like the big, juicy, tender Faith shiraz. The grapes going into Faith come from around the Barossa and include components from the cooler Lyndoch Valley, at the Barossa’s southern end, and the elevated Eden Valley, forming the Barossa’s eastern boundary. These components probably add to the vibrancy of the wine’s generous fruit flavours. Maturation for 16 months in mainly older French and American oak barrels softened the wine and added to its texture without injecting overt woody flavours. It’s a full, lively, fruity style to enjoy now.

Jim Barry The Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 $15.90–$19
The name salutes the Barry family’s 12-hectare vineyard located at the site of an old cricket ground at Penola, towards the southern end of Coonawarra. While the label reveals no region of origin, the wine does indeed come primarily from the Coonawarra vineyard, combined with a little from the family’s Clare Valley vineyards. Coonawarra really drives the style with its ripe-blackberry varietal flavour and elegant structure. It’s a drink-now style, with sweet mid-palate fruit and soft tannins. The regular price is around $19, but it specials occasionally for less than $16.

De Bortoli Windy Peak Victoria Chardonnay 2009 $11.90–$14.90
This is a terrific example of bright, modern Australian chardonnay, where oak plays a role, but only in support of the fruit. It’s made at De Bortoli’s Yarra Valley winery by Steve Webber (husband of Leanne De Bortoli) using fruit from the Yarra and King Valleys. Steve ferments the juice in both oak and steel tanks – the oak component giving savoury complexity while the tank component provides vibrant, fresh varietal flavours. Further complexity is added by warm fermentation of some components (adding to texture), maturation on yeast lees and partial malolactic fermentation. The result is a soft, fresh white with a bone-dry, savoury finish.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011