Wine review — Centenary of Canberra

Centenary of Canberra Chardonnay Pinot Noir Cuvee Centenary $30
In 2008 a group of local winemakers produced a shiraz and a riesling for release in Canberra’s centenary year, 2013. But, writes vigneron Allan Pankhurst, “Only about 300 cases of each were produced of which half is already earmarked for use by the ACT government and key organisations for the centenary celebrations. So I thought there was both more wine needed and a more celebratory style would be complementary to the other wines. Hence the sparkling came after – from the 2011 vintage”. Canberra’s sparkling specialist, Greg Gallagher, made and blended the wine with Jeir Creek’s Rob Howell. It’s available at

Centenary of Canberra Riesling 2008 $30
Several of Canberra’s top riesling makers collaborated on this blend back in 2008. A panel tasted samples from the vintage, selected suitable parcels and recommended the final blending ratios. Roger Harris (Brindabella Hills Winery) finished and bottled the wine with assistance from Mr Riesling, Ken Helm. The result is very pleasing indeed. The delicate wine combines lime-like varietal character with the mellow, honeyed notes of five years’ bottle age. Age also takes the edge off the acidity that makes Canberra riesling a little too austere in youth. It’s at its drinking peak right now – a delicious example of Canberra’s white specialty. (Available at

Centenary of Canberra Shiraz 2008 $35Canberra’s centennial red blend comprises parcels of shiraz selected by a panel of winemakers, then blended and bottled by local red royalty: Eden Road’s Nick Spencer, Collector’s Alex McKay and Clonakilla’s Tim Kirk. It’s moving into its peak drinking period – with the strength and freshness to hang in for a few more years. The colour’s remains red and youthful. And the aroma and flavour retain underlying bright berry fruit character, now meshed with delicious spicy and savoury notes. It’s medium bodied and tightly structured with an assertive grip of fine tannins in harmony with the savoury flavours. (Available at

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 27 January 2013 in The Canberra Times