Wine review — Jim Barry, Freeman Vineyards and Stella Bella

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Clare Valley Riesling 2012 $21–$23
Jim Barry’s Lodge Hill riesling won gold and an armful of trophies in Canberra’s 2012 National Wine Show of Australia. So, should we fall down in awe, worship at its feet? We picnicked with a bottle and pretty ordinary seafood behind the Yarralumla yacht club. The wine beat the seafood hands down. But it’s for those who like really full, fruity flavours. While, that’s a character of the 2012 Clare riesling vintage, Lodge Hill exaggerates fruitiness to the point it overwhelmed several palates, mine included. Others, including the show judges a month earlier, loved it – demonstrating how much individual taste varies.

Freeman Vineyard Hilltops Rondo Rose 2012 $20
Brian Freeman makes his dry, savoury rose from the Italian red variety, rondinella – a component, with corvina Veronese and molinara, in the wines of Valpolicella. Freeman makes a full-bodied red, adapted from Valpolicella’s Amarone style, as well as this rose. He runs juice off the skins after it picks up a rinse of pink colouring, then ferments and matures it in barrel. This produces a richly textured, pale pink wine that’s more savoury than fruity. The fresh, dry palate, rich texture and savouriness put it ahead of the many too-sweet roses on the market.

Stella Bella Margaret River Scuttlebutt Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012 $18
Stella Bella Margaret River Scuttlebutt Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 $18
Stella Bella’s latest sauvignon blanc-semillon blend includes a splash of the sometimes fat and oily viognier variety – but just enough to add a little richness to the palate. What you get is the herbal, passionfruit-like, zesty Margaret River style with a tad more weight than normal – a delicious drink-now style. Stuart Pym’s elegant, medium-bodied red blend combines shiraz with cabernet sauvignon – a bright, drink-now red with the focus on pure fruit flavours and smooth, fine tannins.

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