Wine review — Jim Barry, Port Phillip Estate, Peter Lehmann, By Farr, Cullen and Lowe

Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling 2013 $21–$23
Jim Barry Lodge Hill vineyard, Clare Valley, South Australia
A gold medal and trophy at the royal Queensland wine show underlines the drink-now, fruity, dry appeal of Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling. It’s probably a tad less in-your-face fruity than the trophy-winning 2012 vintage and therefore potentially of even wider appeal. At a recent office tasting, even the red wine diehards slurped it down and enquired where they might buy it. It should be available in any decent liquor store. 2013 looks to be another excellent Clare Valley riesling vintage.

Port Phillip Estate Quartier Pinot Noir 2012 $28
Mornington Peninsular, Victoria
Port Phillip Estate (including Kooyong Estate) recently released three pinot noirs, two from the cold, wet 2011 vintage and this crowd pleaser from the more benign 2012 season. Port Phillip Estate 2011 ($38) and Kooyong Estate 2011 ($53) offer lean and taut, silky expressions of the cool season. But Quartier 2012 takes us into plump, juicy fruity territory – ripe, round delicious pinot flavours with sufficient tannin structure and savouriness to count as a real red wine – an irresistible one at that.

Peter Lehmann Drawcard Shiraz 2010 $21–$23
North-western ridge, Barossa Valley, South Australia
Peter Lehmann died in June, so Drawcard shiraz reminds us of the Barossa wines he loved and championed. And of course they’re still being made under his name by long-serving winemaker Ian Hongell. Sourced from old vines in the north-western Barossa, Drawcard shows a particularly robust face of Barossa shiraz – deeply coloured, with powerful, ripe fruit and particularly firm tannins; quite a contrast to the often soft, tender styles of the region.

Shiraz by Farr 2010 $55
Geelong, Victoria
This is the sort of shiraz you’d expect from one of Australia’s most accomplished pinot makers. Grown in the cool, maritime climate of Geelong and co-fermented with a splash of the white viognier, it’s fragrant and lively, medium bodied, peppery and spicy and smoothly, gently textured. We tasted then drank Shiraz by Farr at a leisurely pace following a couple of top-end pinots. This proved a delicious segue into a fine, firm old Bordeaux, Chateau Pichon-Lalande 1986.

Cullen Mangan Vineyard Merlot Malbec Petit Verdot 2012 $29
Cullen Mangan vineyard, Margaret River, Western Australia
Vanya Cullen’s new red, from the family’s Mangan vineyard, captures the rich, ripe flavours and abundant tannins of these three Bordeaux varieties. As only about four fifths of wine is matured in oak (seasoned) and for only eight months, vibrant fruit dominates the aroma and flavour of very deeply coloured, crimson-rimmed wine. The vibrant berry flavours come with a touch of leafiness. And the full-flavoured, fruity palate carries quite a load of assertive but soft tannins. The wine will probably age well for many years.

Lowe Louee Nullo Mountain Pinto Grigio 2012 $25
Louee vineyard, Nullo Mountain, Rylestone, NSW
David Lowe’s unusually aromatic pinot grigio comes from a site he claims “as the coldest vineyard in Australia in the 2012 vintage”. Assuming there’s sufficient heat to ripen the berries, cool or cold is good for pinot grigio. Cool ripening intensifies fruit flavour, retains acidity and generally means greater fragrance and a more elegant, delicate wine style – characteristics seldom associated with pinot gris/grigio. Lowe’s is a delicious expression of the variety – aromatic, lively on the palate with vibrant pear-like flavour and crisp, dry finish without the hardness sometimes seen in the variety.

Copyright Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 31 July 2013 in the Canberra Times and