Wine review — Lark Hill, Kingston Estate and Koonara

Lark Hill Canberra District Pinot Noir 2011 $30
Shock and horror stories of vintage 2011 didn’t paint the full picture. Yes, mildew and rot took their toll. And low temperatures slowed and even prevented ripening in some instances. But the best reds now coming onto the market are as clean as a scalpel, though somewhat lighter than in warmer years. The Carpenter family’s pinot noir demonstrates the positive side of the vintage. It’s intensely aromatic and a touch spicy, within normal pinot varietal bounds; and the medium bodied, lively palate again delivers intense varietal flavour and a fine, silky structure. It’s a delight to drink now and should evolve well in the medium term.

Kingston Estate Adelaide Hills-Mount Benson Pinot Gris 2012 $13–14
Bill Moularadellis’s Kingston Estate, though based on the Murray River, sources fruit from cooler growing regions. In this instance pinot gris from the cool Adelaide Hills and mild maritime Mount Benson region (near Coonawarra but closer to the sea) delivers a good value for money dry white. It’s a difficult variety and sometimes the descriptor “textural” seems a euphemism for bland. Kingston’s version captures some of elusive pear-like varietal flavour, but it’s really more savoury than it is fruity. And, yes, a rich, slightly grippy texture adds to its savoury appeal.

Koonara The Temptress Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 $24.95
Coonawarra’s 2010 cabernets look terrific – highly aromatic, intensely fruity and featuring the region’s unique power with elegance. Koonara’s Temptress captures this cabernet magic at a modest price. It’s deeply coloured, but limpid; the aroma shows ripe berry and floral notes, with just a hint of cabernet leafiness – characters that come through on a rich, well balanced, firm but supple palate. Proprietor Dru Reschke attributes 2010 vintage quality to smaller than average berries and the consequent high ratio of skin to juice. “As the flavour comes from the skins, the flavour structure was extremely dense”, he explained.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 14 October 2012 in The Canberra Times