Mad Fish Gold Turtle Margaret River Chardonnay 2012 $14.25–$15
A mad fish and a gold turtle seem unlikely companions in a wine name. But the wine, from Jeff and Amy Burch’s Howard Park Winery, Margaret River, offers extraordinarily good drinking at a bargain price. Sourced from the Wilyabrup and Karridale sub-regions, Gold Turtle Chardonnay offers bright, fresh nectarine-like varietal flavour with lively acidity and a rich texture derived from a natural fermentation in barrel followed by extended maturation on yeast lees. The screw cap on wines of this calibre enables reliable cellaring for perhaps five years from vintage.
Yalumba The Strapper Barossa Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2011 $17–$20
Winemakers generally put the best spin on their vintage stories, even in miserable, wet, cold years like 2011. The Barossa was particularly hard hit in this season. But the better wines, through careful fruit selection, show fresh, clean regional flavours, albeit in a leaner, lighter style reflecting the cold growing season. Louisa Rose’s red is an excellent example of this. We bought ours at Civic Pub where it washed down a thick and chunky meat pie quite nicely. Grenache fragrance set the tone of this medium-bodied, earthy and savoury dry red.
Heartland Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2010 $19–$20
From Langhorne Creek, near Lake Alexandrina, South Australia, winemaker Ben Glaetzer reports an “amazing” 2012 vintage, a small but excellent 2010 vintage and a disastrous 2011 season, noting, “no 2011 reds will be released from Heartland Wines as we were not able to create anything we found worthy of our label”. Glaetzer’s 2010 shiraz offers generous, mulberry-like fruit flavours – lively, sweet and juicy on the palate, and cut with soft, savoury tannins. Glaetzer says the blend contains a small amount of fruit from the Limestone Coast, a little to the south of Langhorne Creek.
Copyright Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 21 July 2013 in the Canberra Times