Wine review — Bibliotheque, Mr Riggs and Houghton

Bibliotheque Classical Literature McLaren Vale Grenache Shiraz 2011 $16
Sydney-based wine wholesaler Single Vineyard Sellers supplements its range of small-maker offerings with its own labels – “Highgate” for the on-premise trade and “Bibliotheque” for retailers. Smart independent retailers see a competitive advantage in Bibliotheque as they know the big boys don’t stock it and therefore can’t undercut them. The Classical Literature blend from McLaren offers attractive, easy drinking at a fair price. It’s a medium bodied, drink-now red, led by the fragrance and soft fruitiness of grenache, with the mid palate filled out by spicy, savoury shiraz.

Mr Riggs Montepulciano d’Adelaide Hills 2011 $27
Italy’s montepulciano grape (unrelated to the Tuscan town of the same name) is best known in the Abruzzi region, on the Adriatic coast. In the rolling hills leading up to the Apennines, it produces, at its best, dark, ripe, full-bodied, tannic, savoury reds. Leading producers, like Dino Illuminati (imported by Woolworths), bring out the best in the variety. Winemaker Ben Riggs sources his grapes from a warm site between Kersbrook and Williamstown in the Adelaide Hills. In the cold, wet 2011 vintage, Mr Riggs seems a little skinnier than usual, the delicious fruit fighting to push through the earthy, savouriness and firm tannins.

Houghton Western Australia Red Classic Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2011 $10
Houghton’s popular, keenly priced red earned a gold medal in the 2012 National Wine Show of Australia. The makers entered it in the classes for commercial, large-volume wines – meaning it didn’t need an award from another show to qualify for entry. The wine’s floral and musky fragrance gives it instant appeal – an appeal backed by the bright, fruity palate. Fresh acidity and fine tannins give life and structure to the medium-bodied palate. It’ll never be better to drink than it is right now. Houghton, an old Western Australian brand, is now part of Accolade Wines, formerly Constellation Wines Australia and before that BRL Hardy.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 31 March 2013 in The Canberra Times