Ravensworth Murrumbateman Sangiovese 2010 $21
In the hot, then wet, then cool 2010 season, grape ripening “rushed ahead, then stopped”, says winemaker Bryan Martin. As a result, shiraz struggled to ripen. But Martin’s very small crop of sangiovese (10 barrels) ripened easily. “It was the best fruit in the winery in 2010”, he says. But it came in it a lower than normal pH – meaning a more purple colour and softer tannins than usual. Behind the deep but limpid purple colour lurks a delicious, fairly fleshy red – quite a contrast to the generally bonier wines of the vintage – with sangiovese’s distinctive, savoury and still reasonably firm tannins.
Juniper Crossing Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2009 $17–$21
Juniper Estate, located at Wilyabrup in the historical heart of Margaret River, makes two ranges of wines – the Estate range, sourced only from the estate, and showcasing the best of the vineyard; and the Crossing range, purpose-built for early drinking. The Crossing wines all provide excellent drinking, though the semillon sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon merlot hold the strongest appeal to my palate. Winemaker Mark Messenger sourced fruit for the 2009 cabernet merlot from estate vineyards and one long-term grower. It’s a delicious, ripe and full-flavoured expression of this regional specialty, with vibrant fruit flavours to the fore.
Oxford Landing Estate Chardonnay 2011 $6.65–$9.50
Yalumba’s Wyndham Hill-Smith established Oxford Landing vineyard on the Murray River, South Australia, in 1958. In the 1980s Hill-Smith’s son, Robert, launched the Oxford Landing Estate range as a fighting brand to take on the big companies. The meticulously managed estate still contributes chardonnay grapes to a brand that sits with the best in its price range. But the company also sources grapes from other grower sin the region – hence the subtle rebranding from ‘estate’ to ‘estates’. The full-bodied winner delivers pure, ripe, peachy varietal flavour with crisp acidity and a firm, tangy finish.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 8 April 2012 in The Canberra Times