Wine review — Devil’s Corner and Tahbilk

Devil’s Corner Tasmania Chardonnay 2012 $14.25-$17
Few new releases offer as compelling a reason to buy as Devil’s Corner. It delivers high quality at the right price. And it all gets back to growing grapes where they perform best. In this instance Tasmanian chardonnay – grown in the Tamar Valley and the East Coast, near Freycinet– delivers intense white peach and citrus varietal flavours on a dazzling fresh palate of great purity. There’s no oak; and the amazing thing is that the fruit stands on its own. Brown Brothers’ expertise completes the story. They acquired Tamar Ridge, its vineyards and the Devil’s corner brand from Gunns in 2010.

Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes Shiraz 2009 $16.15–$23.30
The wide gap between the recommended and on-special price indicates the strong appeal of this old and solid wine from the Purbrick family. The historic property lies at a similar latitude to Coonawarra. But the continental climate (versus Coonawarra’s maritime one) means a significantly different wine style. Both are medium bodied. But Tahbilk’s are more spicy and savoury with quite strong, sometimes tough tannins giving a firm grip to the wines. At four years’ the shiraz offers satisfying drinking – its savoury flavours and assertive tannins well matched to high-tannin food, especially red meats, and also to more savoury, spicy food, like pepperoni pizza.

Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 $14.90–$23.30
If you’re driving to Melbourne it’s worth the detour off the Hume Highway, via Violet Town and Nagambie, to Tahbilk. The cellar door and café sit on a beautiful anabranch of the Goulburn River, a short walk from the historic nineteenth century underground cellars. Vines, too, date from1860, though most were planted after the Purbrick family purchased the property in the 1920s. Winemaking passed direct from Eric Purbrick (first vintage 1931) to his grandson, Alister Purbrick, the current winemaker. Tahbilk’s medium bodied cabernet delivers rich, ripe varietal flavour, the underlying fresh fruit cut through with assertive, satisfying tannins.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 24 February 2013 in The Canberra Times