Wine review — Tertini, Centennial Vineyards and Lowe Tinja

Tertini Southern Highlands Riesling 2009 $30
Julian Tertini established the Yaraandoo vineyard, west of the old Hume Highway, just south of Mittagong, in 2001. Riesling and pinot noir quickly became the star varieties in this challenging grape-growing environment. Because of the austerity of the very young rieslings, Tertini releases them after a few years in bottle. Age softens the acidity and releases riesling’s appealing floral and lime characters. These flow from the aroma through to a delicate, fine, bone-dry palate – the lime-like varietal flavour lingering on and on. Ben Brazenor manages the vineyard; winemaker is Jonathon Holgate.

Centennial Vineyards Bong Bong Sparkling NV $18.69–$23.99
The Southern Highlands’ largest winemaker, located between Bowral and the old Hume Highway, makes a range of exciting sparkling wines, sourced from vineyards adjacent to the winery-cellar door function complex. The quality of the bubblies indicates the unexpectedly cool growing climate – producing fruit of a delicacy and intensity usually found much further south. A combination of altitude and cloud cover seem to account for this climatic quirk. A blend of estate-grown pinot noir and chardonnay, provides delicate and tasty off-dry drinking of a very high quality at the price.

Lowe Tinja Mudgee and Rylstone Preservative-Free Red and White 2012 $20
A sensitivity to sulphur dioxide prompted David Lowe to make Tinja sulphur-free wines – a red from 2009 and a verdelho-chardonnay blend from 2012. They’re difficult wines to make, requiring undamaged hand-harvested fruit picked early (as the low pH offers natural protection) and fanatically protective care in the winery. This includes selecting yeast strains that don’t produce sulphur dioxide during fermentation. The results are very good. Both wines offer fresh, bright, drink-now fruit flavours and the pleasantly tart edge that comes from early harvesting.  The shiraz merlot blend comes from Lowe’s organic vineyard, Mudgee; the white combines fruit from Mudgee and Rylstone.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 4 November 2012 in The Canberra Times