Wine review — Mount Horrocks, Heggies and Barwang

Mount Horrocks Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 $30–$38
In this beautiful, elegant cabernet, winemaker Stephanie Toole demonstrates the great finessing of Australian regional wine styles now underway. Clare Valley makes good cabernet. But more often than not in the past they’ve tended to be on the burly side. Nothing wrong with burly on a cold winter’s night. But Mount Horrocks lifts the style to a higher level, delivering even more drinking pleasure. The pure varietal perfume and flavour, the rich, balanced palate and, in particular, the silk-smooth tannins put it way above the pack. O’Toole sources the fruit from a single vineyard on her estate.

Heggies Vineyard Eden Valley Riesling 2011 $16.90–$24
Heggies sits in the Hill-Smith family’s portfolio of wine brands that also includes Yalumba, Running with Bulls and Oxford Landing. In this case the vineyard is the brand as all wines bearing the Heggies label come from the Heggies vineyard, located at 550 metres above sea level. Peter Gambetta made the 2011 from several riesling blocks on the vineyard, harvested between 30 March and 5 April. It’s a delicate but intense riesling, the flavour leaning to the lemony end of the varietal spectrum. The lightness, delicacy, lemony flavour and dry, zesty finish make it a great aperitif. Should age well, too.

Barwang Hilltops Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 $15.20–$20
Can any region enjoy a “humble reputation” and still produce “some of the country’s best regional reds”. Confused by McWilliams press release, we poured our glasses, drank deeply and confirmed our faith in Hilltops as a very good cabernet-growing region and Barwang as one of its leading producers. The 2010 seems less fleshy than the 2009 and more firmly tannic. But it’s still rich and varietal and the stronger tannins simply reinforce the cabernet experience. Because it’s so widely distributed and holds strong appeal, retailers often discount it, so watch for the specials.

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