Wine review — Stonier, Jim Barry and Juniper Estate

Stonier Mornington Peninsular

  • Pinot Noir 2009 $25–$28
  • Chardonnay 2009 $24.20–$26.90

Stonier, one of the oldest Mornington Peninsular wineries, began under Brian Stonier, became part of publicly listed Petaluma group and was later acquired by Lion Nathan. The ownership changed, but Brian Stonier keeps an eye on operations and the Stonier wines remain as good as ever – up there with the best from the region. In 2009 the fine-textured chardonnay reveals ripe, sweet melon- and nectarine-like varietal flavours, set against a subtle backdrop of barrel derived aromas and flavours. The pale coloured but intense pinot noir delivers one of the best pinot experiences possible at the price.

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Watervale Riesling 2010 $16–$20
This beautiful white, from the Barry family’s Lodge Hill Vineyard (one of the highest in the Clare Valley), won the Douglas Lamb Perpetual Trophy at this year’s Royal Sydney Wine Show. Despite the modest price, Lodge Hill shines on all fronts – floral aroma, pure, vibrant lemon-like varietal flavour, fine texture and zingy fresh finish – all the marks of a good riesling. It’s a fitting trophy as Jim Barry, winemaker, and Douglas Lamb, wine merchant, were contemporaries and shared a love of good wine. Both are now dead, but their children carry on the family enterprises founded by their fathers.

Juniper Estate Semillon 2009 $22–$26
Margaret River semillon generally has a distinctive aroma and flavour, described variously as “pea pod”, “canned pea” and even “cat’s pee”. These can be turbo, in-your-face flavours or just a subtle undertone that’s part of cool-grown semillon. In Margaret River winemaker often use semillon, with great effect, to flesh out and give structure to sauvignon blanc. In this version Mark Messenger coaxes the best from semillon using a wild yeast ferment, “in tight grained French oak and maturation yeast lees, to build texture and structure”. The result’s very pleasing – recognisably semillon, but with great complexity and a tight, firm structure.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011