Wine review — Ten Minutes by Tractor, Jim Barry and Shaw Vineyard Estate

Ten Minutes by Tractor Mornington Peninsula Pinot Gris 2010 $28
Ten Minutes by Tractor offers a range of individual vineyard wines and “estate” blends, like this one, sourced from several Mornington sites – in this instance from the Northway Downs, Spedding and Wallis vineyards. It’s a well-made wine, capturing all of the essential features of good pinot gris – including a bit of grip and slippery texture, courtesy of the grape itself plus fermentation and maturation on yeast lees in older oak barrels. This textural side of the variety’s very important to its overall impact, as the flavour’s subtle – pear-like, with lemony freshness and a pleasant spicy note.

Jim Barry The Cover Drive Coonawarra and Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 $18–$20
Cover Drive joins a growing list of beautifully made, inexpensive Coonawarra cabernet sauvignons that really show the unique flavours of this great cabernet district. Jim Barry’s wine adds a little Clare cabernet to the mix, but the aroma, flavour and structure really all say “Coonawarra” – perhaps plumped out a little by the Clare material. Sourced mainly from the Barry family’s southern Coonawarra vineyard it’s a lovely, juicy fruit festival – starring subtly mint-tinted, cassis-like varietal flavour. Flavour input from oak maturation is minimal, serving rather to build the palate and mellow the tannins. It’s ready to drink right now.

Shaw Vineyard Estate Canberra District Winemaker Selection Shiraz 2008 $16 and Cabernet Merlot 2008 $16
Graeme Shaw’s Murrumbatemen vineyard is one of Canberra’s largest with the capacity, says Shaw, of producing 25,000 cases of wine a year. Shaw segments the wines into three price ranges, including the entry-level Winemaker Selection range. The shiraz, a triple silver medallist, seems pretty big for a Canberra wine, showing the heat of the 2008 vintage, the flavours now leaning towards savouriness, with quite a firm tannin structure. The cabernet merlot (one gold, two silver medals) shows both the leafiness of cabernet and chocolate richness of merlot on a soft and easy, drink-now palate.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 7 August 2011 in The Canberra Times