Wine review — Mount Trio, Smith & Hooper and Cumulus

Mount Trio Great Southern Riesling 2010 $19
Gavin and Gill Graham own vineyards at Porongurup, a small, elevated sub-region of Western Australia’s large Great Southern area. The area excels with riesling and shiraz, but you’ll find all the usual Australian varieties as you drive around. Mount Trio offers a pretty good example of the local riesling style – at two years, the acidity’s softening off but still gives a brisk tingle and backbone to the lemony varietal flavour. At a recent office tasting it attracted more “likes” than a Wrattonbully semillon sauvignon blanc and a Hunter Valley unwooded chardonnay.

Smith and Hooper Wrattonbully Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2011 $16–$22
If we have to drink sauvignon blanc, let’s bolster it with semillon, in the dry Bordeaux style. In this example from Robert Hill-Smith’s Yalumba group, the winemakers fermented one fifth of the blend in old oak, leaving this component on the spent yeast cells (lees), and stirring the lees every two weeks. The process builds a rich texture and subtle flavours that, together with the semillon, contribute so much to the drinking pleasure. But sauvignon blanc still exerts its pungent, herbal flavour and zesty acidity.

Cumulus Wines Climbing Orange Pinot Gris 2011 $18–$22
In the difficult, wet and cool 2011 vintage some white varieties, including pinot gris, seem to have fared particularly well – for example, in last year’s local wine show, Mount Majura Vineyard won a gold medal for its 2011; and at the recent Tasmanian show, the extraordinary Bay of Fires 2011 won the special chairman’s trophy. And over in even cooler Orange, Cumulus wines harvested this scrumptious, bronze-tinted drop. Winemaker Debbie Lauritz really captures the character of this often-lacklustre variety – fresh and intense, with pear-like flavour and rich, slightly viscous texture.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 11 March 2012 in The Canberra Times