Angullong The Pretender Central Ranges Savagnin 2012 $22
During the export boom of the late nineties, Orange attracted several broad-acre vine plantings, including the 220-hectare Angullong vineyard. The vineyard straddles the Orange/Central Ranges wine boundary for no other reason other than that part of it lies below the 620 metre altitude mark, Orange’s lower limit. While this ancient variety has the same DNA profile as traminer and gewürztraminer, it’s a distinctly different clone and was planted in Australia in the mistaken belief it was the Spanish variety, albarino. In this instance savagnin makes a vibrant, distinctive, smoothly textured wine with passionfruit-like highlights and savouriness.
Tim Adams Clare Valley Shiraz 2010 $22.80–$29
Tim Adams sourced this mouth-watering shiraz from four Clare Valley vineyards – Irelands, Bayes, Rogers and Senecas, the first three owned by Adams and his wife, Pam Goldsack, the third belonging to Pat Seneca. The fruit from these vineyards was clearly sensational in the 2010 vintage as the wine is simply saturated with juicy, ripe, plummy varietal flavours. It’s round and gentle, but layered with soft tannins. While it may age well for a decade – there’s certainly enough fruit flavour there to suggest so – it’s just so joyously fruity now it’s hard to imagine it ever being a better drink.
Lowe Tinja Mudgee Chardonnay 2012 $20
In the mid nineties, Len Evans called unoaked chardonnay a con – referring to tricked-up wines then replacing fat, woody ones. The truth, it turned out, lay in making better, subtler use of oak. A few small makers nailed this in the eighties and of the big companies, Penfolds and Hardys succeeded by the mid to late nineties, leading a trend that continues to blossom. With Tinja, David Lowe of Mudgee shows his former employer, the late Len Evans, that unoaked chardonnay can indeed be subtle, fine, delicious and unoaked and, at 12.5 per cent, not too alcoholic.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 20 April 2013 in The Canberra Times