Wine review — Wilson, Solar Viejo and Yarra Loch

Wilson Polish Hill River Riesling 2010 $24

We found this wonderful drop on the wine list at Starfish Deli, Bateman’s Bay, and enjoyed it with fish and chips – a happy combination. It’s from the Wilson family’s stony, low-yielding vineyard in the Clare Valley’s cool Polish Hill River sub-region. It appeals for its pure, intense, lime-like varietal flavour and refreshingly acidic but very delicate finish. Winemaker Daniel Wilson says the vineyard lies on hard, stony ground and the spindly, thirty-plus year old vines consistently deliver powerful riesling flavours. He added that a new distribution arrangement means we can now find it in Canberra and on the south coast.

Rioja Crianza (Solar Viejo) 2007 $27–$30

This savoury red, from Spain’s Rioja region, is imported by the Wingara Wine Group, owners of Katnook Estate, Coonawarra. It’s 100 per cent tempranillo, unaided by the region’s usual blending partners garnacha and graciano. Fourteen months in oak and about a year in bottle brings it to an appealing stage of maturity. Rather than the plump, bright fruitiness we’re used to in Australian reds it’s aromatic but lean and savoury with a fine, firm backbone of tannin, releasing teasing bursts of fruit flavour. It drinks beautifully now and should hold its appeal for another few years.

Yarra Loch Yarra Valley Arneis 2010 $25

Annoyingly in this age of regional marketing the Coldstream, Yarra Valley, grape origin isn’t included on the label. That quibble aside, it’s a beautiful wine, with punchy, herbal aroma and rich, vibrant, juicy palate with zesty, refreshing acid backbone and dry finish. Winemaker David Bicknell fermented the wine partly in oak, partly in stainless steel – the combination giving great purity as well as body and structure. It weighs in at a modest 12.5 per cent alcohol. Arneis, meaning little rascal, is a white variety of Italy’s Piedmont region.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011