Wine review — Turkey Flat, Helm, Peppertree, Kooyong Estate and Chapel Hill

Turkey Flat Mourvedre 2010 $32
Turkey Flat vineyard, Barossa Valley, South Australia
In 1847 Johann Fiedler planted shiraz on the southern slopes of Tanunda Creek. In 1865, the Schultz family bought the site and 125 years later, fourth generation Peter Schultz and wife Christie became winemakers as well as grape growers. Today they grow, make and bottle the wine on site, not far from the still-productive 1847 vines. The very late ripening mourvedre (aka mataro or monastrell) thrives in the valley floor’s hot, dry conditions making this unique spicy, earthy, savoury red with its distinctive, mouth watering, dry tannin structure.

Helm Half Dry Riesling 2012 $25
Murrumbateman, Canberra District, NSW
Ken Helm rates 2012 the vintage of a lifetime – a belief supported by his stunning botrytis riesling reviewed two weeks ago. His Classic Dry and Premium rieslings are to be released later in the year and he’s just released this semi-dry version. Its voluminous, citrus-like aroma and rich palate belie the modest 10.3 per cent alcohol. The rich, citrusy varietal flavour and acidity wrestle a little on the palate at the moment. But from past experience these will harmonise with another few months in bottle.

Peppertree Elderslee Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 $42
Elderslee Road vineyard, Wrattonbully, South Australia
Until the mid nineties, Wrattonbully, known at the time as Koppamurra, consisted of a few isolated vineyards. Its similarity to the adjoining, time-proven Coonawarra region and lower land prices prompted large-scale planting to feed the red wine boom. As the vines mature, we’re seeing some excellent wines, including this beautiful, juicy cabernet sourced from a favoured site on Pepper Tree’s 100-hectare holding. This is an elegant, supple cabernet with a tasty interplay between the fruit and high-class French oak. Made by Jim Chatto.

Kooyong Massale Pinot Noir 2011 $26.59–$33
Kooyong and Ballewindi vineyards, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Today’s two Kooyong pinots represent two interpretations of the variety by winemaker Sandro Mosele – the more savoury, earthy, firmly structured Estate wine versus the younger, simpler Massale with its fresh, primary fruit flavour. It’s paler coloured than the Estate wine and still has a savoury, sappy current under the bright, fresh fruit. The palate is brisk and fresh relying on both acid and fine, slightly tart tannins for structure.

Kooyong Estate Pinot Noir 2010 $36.85–$3
Teurong, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
We love a pinot with a solid backbone of tannin and savoury as well as fruity flavours. Sandro Mosele’s latest Kooyong Estate delivers all of this. It’s an harmonious, intensely flavoured, elegantly structured pinot, the fruit flavour reminiscent of dark, ripe cherries but with a deep, earthy, savoury undertone. Some of the structure and savouriness probably comes from Mosele’s decision to increase the total oak maturation time from 16 to 20 months, six to ten months of that in 6,300-litre foudres following a period in 220-litre barriques.

Chapel Hill Bush Vine Grenache 2010 $30–$35
McLaren Vale, South Australia

This excellent follow up to the fleshy 2009 vintage, captures the rich, earthy flavours of old McLaren Vale bush vines (vines grown as individual bushes, without trellising), planted in 1926, 1952 and 1967. Winemakers Michael Fragos and Bryn Richards say they hand picked the grapes and made the wine in small batches in open fermenters “to facilitate a long, slow, gentle extraction”. Subsequent maturation in older French oak hogsheads further ameliorated the tannins. The result is a pure grenache featuring the earthiness and pronounced tannins of the vintage – with a background of spice.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 15 August 2012 in The Canberra Times