Wine review — Cumulus, Lerida Estate and Anderson

Cumulus Orange Shiraz 2009 $30
Unlike Canberra where shiraz and riesling have become our signature varieties, the even higher, cooler Orange district seems to make a bit of everything, with no clear regional hero emerging – though chardonnay is, perhaps, the strongest contender to date. I’ve seen some decent shirazes, too, including Cumulus, sourced from two blocks on the company’s 508-hectare estate. It’s a medium-bodied, fine-boned, savoury style, built on ripe, black cherry and black pepper varietal flavours. A seam of fine but firm tannins emphasises the wine’s savoury character. Made by Debbie Lauritz.

Lerida Estate Lake George Pinot Rose 2011 $18
Lerida distinguishes itself from most other dry roses by its high acidity – a blessing of the exceptionally wet, cool 2011 season. Where others opt for the mouth-filling roundness that accompanies low acidity, Lerida harnesses the brisk acidity to accentuate the delicate, bright, strawberry-like pinot varietal flavour. The acidity also provides a clean, fresh finish, much as it does in a white wine. But despite the wine’s very light colour, the pleasant bite of tannin ensures we’ll see it more as a pale red than a tinted white. It’s made to enjoy right now.

Anderson Rutherglen Basket Press Durif 2007 $24
Rutherglen’s idiosyncratic red specialty, once impenetrably black and thunder-in-the-brain tannic, now comes in a toned down version. Several wineries, including Anderson, make an approachable, early-drinking style durif, without losing the variety’s ink-deep colour and rich tannins. In this version father and daughter Howard and Christobelle Anderson keep the alcohol comparatively low at 12.3 per cent yet retain attractive, ripe aromas and flavours. On the supple palate, smooth, round tannins mesh pleasantly with those ripe, juicy fruit flavours. It’s a generous, soft, fruity wine and ready to put a smile on your face now.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 4 March 2012 in The Canberra Times