Capital Wine The Frontbencher Canberra District Shiraz 2011 $25
Cold, wet conditions greatly reduced Canberra’s 2011 grape crop and resulted in notably lighter red styles than usual. Capital Wine’s Jennie Mooney describes her Frontbencher 2011 as “just a lovely, easy-drinking, pretty shiraz”. That’s a fair summary. Its light-to-medium body, brisk acidity and soft, savoury tannins make fresh Christmas drinking –the flavour being notably more peppery and spicy than normal. Lightly chilled, it should make a particularly pleasant companion to cold cuts, game or fuller flavoured fish dishes.
Kooyong Beurrot Mornington Peninsula Pinot Gris 2012 $28–$31
More often than not pinot gris produces ordinary wines, often propped up by winemaking tricks or residual sugar. Beurrot, from two vineyards on the Kooyong property, certainly relies to some extent on winemaker add-ons. But an underlying, delicate, pear-like flavour tells what there is of the varietal story. The flavour weaves through the richly textured palate – and is joined by a struck-match character, a byproduct of fermentation and maturation for ten months on its yeast lees. A good level of acidity gives the palate refreshing vigour, followed by a pleasantly tart bite of tannin in the finish.
Brown Brothers Heathcote 18 Ninety Nine Shiraz 2012 $18.80
Fourth generation Katherine and Caroline Brown made their mark on this old Victorian family business with the release of the new 18 Ninety Nine range. The range includes pinot grigio, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon and this shiraz from Heathcote, Victoria. A gold medal winner at the Great Australian Shiraz Challenge, the wine offers bright, ripe, plum-like varietal flavour with an earthy, savoury note. It’s fresh and lively with spikey, tart tannins offsetting the sweet fruit flavours. This would be another candidate for easy Christmas drinking at a modest price. The dutiful daughters got father, Ross Brown, to sign the back label.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 22 December 2013 in the Canberra Times