Brokenwood, Capital Wines and Stefano Lubiana

Brokenwood Beechworth Pinot Gris 2011 $20.89–$25
We’re seeing excellent pinot gris from the 2011. The variety prefers a cool climate and in vineyards that avoided the fungal diseases of the cool, wet vintage, varietal flavours really sing. This version, from Brokenwood’s Indigo Vineyard, Beechworth, compares pear-like and citrusy flavour with just a hint musk. The full, richly textured palate is soft, but exceptionally vibrant and fresh. A tiny kiss of residual sugar (5.3 grams a litre) adds subtly to the richness, making the wine suited to quite rich foods such as terrine, pate and, as Brokenwood suggests, foie gras.

Capital Wines Canberra District

  • The Backbencher  Merlot 2010 $25
  • Kyeema Vineyard t Reserve Merlot 2010 $46

What is merlot? Is it dry or sweet; soft or firm? Few varieties create more confusion, a fact not helped by the misidentification in Australia of cabernet franc as merlot, just as the variety gained some momentum. It’s a key variety of Bordeaux, more often than not blended with others, but capable of standing on its own as rich, but elegant, with abundant, sometimes firm, tannins. It’s a specialty of Capital Wines – the Backbencher revealing a plummy, elegant, soft face of the style; and the flagship, from the Kyeema Vineyard, showing greater power and chewier tannins – but nevertheless an elegance as a great and unique Canberra red.

Stefano Lubiana Collina Chardonnay 2008 $60
WOW! We decanted Collina a couple of hours before enjoying it, slowly, with a meal. It’s an extraordinary chardonnay, giving more weight to my belief that our finest chardonnays are destined to come from Tasmania. An intensity of varietal fruit flavours (grapefruit and white peach), both generous and ethereally fine, put this in the top ranks of Australian barrel-ferment and matured chardonnays. Winemaker Steven Lubiana says the vineyard site is rocky and gravelly, “providing plenty of sun, and just enough miserable soil for a plant to put down its roots and maintain a tenuous grip on life”. It’s available at

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 22 January 2012 in The Canberra Times