Wine review — Tarra Warra, Shingleback and Rolf Binder

TarraWara Estate Yarra Valley J-Block Shiraz 2009 $35
Though fully priced for an unproven wine off very young vines (planted 2007), TarraWarra’s J-Block shiraz offers pure, sexy, drinking pleasure. From the first sniff of the seductive, floral and musk aroma to the last supple, sweet drop in the bottle, it held our attention. A few other tasters sharing the bottle all reacted similarly – a collective “wow” at the aroma, then collective pleasure in the juicy, fruity, very soft palate. It’s a lovely, unique take on Australia’s great red variety – all fragrance, fruit and softness, though with complexity and flavour length. Note this vineyard.

Shingleback Haycutters McLaren Vale Shiraz Viognier 2008 $15–$17
In cooler climates like Canberra’s a dash of the white variety, viognier, co-fermented with shiraz, can add an extra dimension to the aroma, colour and texture of the wine – Clonakilla being our world-renowned local classic. The blend generally works less well in warmer climates, and indeed becomes a distraction when the apricot-like character of viognier takes over. The Davey family’s McLaren Vale version, however, seems to be an exception as the viognier fleshes out the savoury palate without attempting to take over from the shiraz. It’s an attractive, full flavoured early-drinking style.

Rolf Binder Eden Valley Riesling 2011 $18
Rolf Binder and his sister, Christa Deans, make wine at the Veritas Winery, on the outskirts of Tanunda in the Barossa Valley, Rolf looking after the reds and Christa making the lively, delicate, very fruity whites. Christa’s latest riesling tells much about the 2011 vintage – the wet and cool season, in this instance, producing an almost unheard of pH of 2.77, accounting for the particularly spritely, dazzling palate. The wine’s highly aromatic and so fruity there’s an impression of sweetness, despite a very low residual sugar level of about five grams per litre. This is an absolutely beautiful and powerful but fine expression of riesling.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 16 October 2011 in The Canberra Times