Wine review — Chandon, Mt Monster, Sassy, Tahbilk, Jacob’s Creek and Picante Espana

Chandon Vintage Brut Rose 2008 $27.85–$35
Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania
Chandon’s bubbly rosé combines material from the Yarra Valley, King Valley, Goulburn Valley, Strathbogie and Macedon, Victoria; the Adelaide Hills, South Australia; Great Southern, Western Australia; and the Coal River Valley, Tasmania. Winemaker Dan Buckle says it comprises 30 individual cuvees, including a pinot noir component fermented on skins – source of the lovely salmon-pink colour. The quality of the fruit, prolonged ageing on yeast lees and the red-wine component all contribute to a round, soft, creamy-textured scrumptiously fruit bubbly. We served it with baked whole salmon from FishCo, Fyshwick. The fruitiness matched with sweet flesh, while the fresh acidity cut through the fat. Buckle emailed, “this is my go-to wine for yum cha at the moment”.

Mt Monster Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 $15
Padthaway, South Australia
The Bryson family owns two vineyards, totalling 170 hectares, at Padthaway on South Australia’s Limestone Coast, about an hour’s drive north of Coonawarra. The family manages the vineyards and marketing of its Moorambro Creek, Jip Jip Rocks and Mt Monster brands but they hire Ben Riggs to make the wines. Cabernet performs well in the mild maritime climate, producing this bright, clearly varietal, medium bodied version for current drinking.

Sassy Pinot Noir 2010 $30
Sassy vineyard, Orange, NSW
In 2005 Fliss and Rob Coles moved uphill from Cowra to Orange’s brisker climate – establishing a vineyard, including three clones of pinot noir, at an elevation of 900 metres. Their first pinot, a light to medium bodied style made by neighbour Peter Logan, delivers vibrant, delicate pinot aromas and flavours. Fine tannins give it a gently, dry, savoury finish. It’s a well-made wine with lovely fruit – one to watch in future as the vines age, delivering deeper, more complex flavours.

Tahbilk Eric Stevens Purbrick Shiraz 2007 $69.95
Tahbilk vineyard, Nagambie Lakes, Victoria
Alister Purbrick, makes this wine from older shiraz vines (average age 35 years) on Tahbilk’s extensive vineyards, located on a beautiful anabranch of the Goulburn River. It’s a medium bodied red, with intense, verging on syrup-rich, plummy, spicy fruit, cut by assertive but soft tannins – far from the more aggressive styles we once say from Tahbilk. The wine drank beautifully over several days – a satisfying memento to Purbrick’s grandfather and mentor, the late Eric Stevens Purbrick.

Jacob’s Creek Reserve Riesling 2012 $10.70–$18
Barossa, South Australia
The on-special price of Jacob’s Creek Reserve often drops close to the standard price of the cheaper Classic Riesling. In 2012 they’re both outstanding dry rieslings – the slightly fuller-bodied reserve version offering greater floral character on the nose and brisk, lime-like varietal intensity on the palate. Even at full price it offers good value but becomes a bargain on special. Should provide outstanding drinking over the next five or six years.

Picante Espana Grande Meseta Tempranillo Shiraz 2010 $13.99
Meseta, Spain
Picante Espana gives us a clean, fresh modern, screw-cap sealed take on Spain’s great red specialty, tempranillo, tempered by shiraz. The bright, spicy and fruity aroma (like a compote of fresh summer berries) appeals greatly. After an initial hit of vibrant fruit on the palate, tempranillo’s firm tannins close in, adding a mouth-watering savoury element to the otherwise fruity and delicious wine.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 20 February 2013 in The Canberra Times and