Wine review — Bussell, Thomas and Brown Brothers

Bussell JG Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2011 $24
Barossa winemaker Grant Burge says he created the Margaret River brand, Bussell, and a New Zealand brand, Drift, to meet demand for wine styles he couldn’t make in the Barossa. He also says, “They have to be exceptional to work” – and Bussell JG cabernet merlot is. Made for Burge at Clairault Wines, the wine delivers drink-now Margaret River elegance and richness at a fair price. It’s sweetly perfumed, with a floral edge as well as the slightly leafy character of cool-grown cabernet. These characters come through as well on the delicious, soft, medium bodied palate.

Thomas Two of a Kind Hunter McLaren Vale Shiraz 2011 $24
Hunter winemaker Andrew Thomas makes a range of beautiful, cellarable Hunter shirazes as well as this drink-now blend. Thomas says it comprises 57 per cent Hunter shiraz, the rest McLaren Vale shiraz. He ferments the two components separately, but blends them before maturing them in oak barriques for two years. The result is an harmonious, smooth red, combining the fleshy richness of McLaren Vale with the savoury, earthy character of the Hunter. It’s medium bodied, but richly fruity, with fine, soft tannins.

Brown Brothers Victoria Chardonnay 2012 $17.90
Brown Brothers source fruit for this wine primarily from their high-altitude Banksdale Vineyard in the King Valley – a significantly cooler site than their original site on the Oxley Plains, a few kilometres to the north. The cool growing conditions produce rich, varietal flavours reminiscent of white peach and a touch of melon rind. These flavours underpin a vibrant, full-bodied dry white, with the rich textured derived from fermentation and maturation in oak, and a refreshing bite of acidity. While the oak subtly influences the aroma and flavour, its influence is more in the texture and structure of the wine.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
Firsts published 12 May 2013 in The Canberra Times