Wine review — Peter Lehmann, Squitchy Lane and Zema Estate

Peter Lehmann Barossa Portrait Semillon 2011 $18
Peter Lehmann Barossa Margaret Semillon 2006 $25.65–$32

In the late 1990s Peter Lehmann winemaker, Andrew Wigan, moved away from ripe, oak-fermented semillon styles to an earlier-picked, fresher unwooded style. The lighter, fresher, lower alcohol wines appealed to wine drinkers. Lehmann recently released two versions of the style. Portrait Semillon 2011, appeals for its zesty, citrusy, bone-dry lightness (10.5 per cent alcohol). And Margaret Semillon 2006, sourced largely from 80–90 year old vineyards, weaves the magic of nutty and honeyed flavours of bottle age to the delicate, zesty theme.  Wigan rates 2006 as “one of the greatest white vintages the Barossa has ever seen”.

Squitchy Lane Vineyard Yarra Valley Fume Blanc 2011 $26
Squitchy Lane Vineyard Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2010 $32

Californian winemaker Robert Mondavi coined the term fume blanc in the 1960s. The term saluted the Loire Valley sauvignon blanc, Pouilly Fume, and differentiated Mondavi’s dry wine from its sweet competitors. The term took off in Australia in the eighties but is rarely used now. It usually indicates a sauvignon blanc that’s been oak fermented. In this case, winemaker Robert Paul made 420 cases from fruit grown on Mike Fitzpatrick’s vineyard at Gruyere, Yarra Valley. The barrel influence mutes sauvignon’s fruity exuberance, but adds texture and delicious layers of flavour derived from contact with spent yeast cells.

Zema Estate Coonawarra Shiraz 2008 $23.75–$26
Zema winemaker, Greg Clayfield (formerly of Lindemans), offers a few comments on what makes Zema shiraz special, “There is a good diversity of vineyards, from the subtly cooler Cluny block at the southern end of the renowned terra rossa strip, to the comparatively riper and drier Glenroy block at the northern end of Coonawarra… complemented by the home block which sits right in the heart of the original John Riddoch Fruit colony”. The 2008 vintage weaves together juicy, delicious, ripe-berry and spicy shiraz flavours with sweet but subtle oak and persistent, very fine tannins – a wine that should evolve well over the next decade.

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