Wine review — Knappstein, Jacques Lurton and Chateau Vaugelas

Knappstein Clare Valley Shiraz 2010 $17–$22
We tasted Knappstein Clare Valley 2010 alongside the contrasting Alex McKay Canberra District Collector Reserve Shiraz 2011 ($58, reviewed in next Wednesday’s Food and Wine). Knappstein delivers the full, ripe, juicy flavours of the warm Clare Valley – a big, round, soft expression of shiraz ready to enjoy now and for another four or five years. Collector, on the other hand, showed the intense peppery flavours, medium body and lean, taut structure of a very cool Canberra vintage – a coy, succulently tannic wine needing time to reveal its layers of flavour.

Jacques Lurton The Islander Kangaroo Island The Red 2008 $20
Like Spike Milligan’s a bit of a book and a book of bits, Frenchman Jacques Lurton’s budget wine seems a bit of a red and red of bits – combining malbec, cabernet franc, co-fermented shiraz and viognier and grenache. In the French context this could be a Bordeaux-Cahors-Rhone Valley blend. On Kangaroo Island, however, the varieties happily cohabit, producing this rich, easy drinking red. Malbec leads the flavour and structure of a clean, fresh wine, with quite a firm spine of savoury tannins that leave a satisfying bite in the finish.

Chateau Vaugelas Corbieres 2009 $15.99
Corbieres, a sub-region of France’s massive Languedoc-Roussillon wine growing area, produces rich, warm, earthy wines, based on the red variety, carignan. In this Costco import, carignan, grenache and shiraz contribute 30 per cent each to the blend, and mourvedre the final 10 per cent. It’s deeply coloured, with a bright crimson hue. The aroma suggests bright, fresh ripe fruit – a promise delivered on the lively, full palate. Savoury, earthy flavours sit behind the fruit, matching the earthy, firm, dry finish of this solid, warm-climate red. Nice wine, dear Costco, but how about screw caps for the Australian market?

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 29 April 2012 in The Canberra Times