Wine review — Tyrrell’s and Campbells

Tyrrell’s Lost Block whites – $13.29–$18.99
Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Hunter Valley Semillon 2011

Tyrrell’s Lost Block range presents high quality regional-varietal combinations at fair prices, trimmed dramatically on occasion by retail discounting. The sauvignon blanc comes from the comparatively cool Adelaide Hills. And the particularly cool 2012 vintage produced fresh, herbal and tropical-fruit varietal flavours at quite at a modest 12 per cent alcohol. It provides a subtler, less in-your-face drinking experience than the Marlborough versions. The delicate, bone-dry semillon pleases with its unique lemongrass-like flavours and light, zingy freshness – delicious company for salads, cold cuts and delicate seafood. The alcohol level is just 11.5 per cent.

Tyrrell’s Lost Block reds – $13.29–$18.99
Limestone Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Heathcote Shiraz 2010

In the nineties, the Tyrrell family expanded beyond their Hunter base, establishing a vineyard at Heathcote, Victoria, and acquiring an interest in the St Marys Vineyard on the Cave Range, about 15 kilometres west of Coonawarra. Though excluded from that illustrious appellation, the wines from St Marys, including Lost Block Cabernet Sauvignon, bear a striking resemblance to Coonawarra’s, with clear, ripe-berry varietal character and elegant structure – in this instance approachable and ready to drink now.  The Heathcote shiraz is true to regional style, too – medium bodied, with plummy, spicy, savoury varietal flavour and soft, fine tannins. (Bruce Tyrrell tells me, “we own 60 per cent of the St Mary’s vineyard in conjunction with the Mulligan family who own the balance of 40 per cent and the brand”).

Campbells Bobbie Burns Rutherglen Shiraz 2010 $19.95–$22
Campbell’s 41st Bobbie Burns shiraz comes mainly from 50-year-old vines on the Bobbie Burns vineyard, the Rutherglen site first planted by the Campbells in 1870. It’s a generous, comforting red, but fine boned and not at all in the blockbuster style sometimes associated with the warm Rutherglen region. The colour’s medium, bright and youthful. And the aroma and flavour are all warm-climate shiraz – ripe, earthy and savoury. Abundant, soft tannins support the fruit, adding texture and a bit of bite to the finish. It’s a really good, easy-drinking, regional wine at a fair price and has proven medium-term cellaring potential.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 29 July 2012 in The Canberra Times