Wine review — McKellar Ridge, Punt Road and Ariadne

McKellar Ridge Canberra District Riesling 2013 $22
You won’t find grape vines in McKellar, but their home address became the name of Brian and Janet Johnston’s wine label. Brian Johnston makes McKellar Ridge wines at the Point of View vineyard, Murrumbateman, sourcing fruit from Point of View and neighbouring growers. The Johnston’s riesling, from the Briar Hill vineyard, suggests yet another very good year for the variety in Canberra. At just 11 per cent alcohol it sits lightly on the palate and delivers, intense, citrusy varietal flavour and a dry, tending to austere, fresh acidic finish. (Available at cellar door and

Punt Road Napoleone Vineyard Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2012 $22.80–$25
The name commemorates an 1850s vineyard located on Melbourne’s Punt Road, as it rises steeply from the Yarra River towards Toorak Road, in what is now the salubrious suburb of South Yarra. The vineyard is long gone. But the Napoleone family – Yarra Valley orchardists since 1948, and grape growers since 1987 – took the name for their label, inspired by an 1856 photo of the punt, the road and the vineyard. Kate Goodman makes the wines, including this outstanding 2012 chardonnay – a rich but finely textured, barrel-fermented dry white from the Napoleone vineyard at Coldstream.

Ariadne Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2013 $8.99
Former Canberra wine merchant, David Farmer, now operates from the Barossa Valley, making a wide range of South Australian regional specialties and selling direct to drinkers through his website ( Farmer’s sauvignon blanc – a blend from vineyards at Hahndorf, Mount Torrens and Forreston in the Adelaide Hills – captures the pungent, fresh fruitiness of the variety well. It’s a bargain at $8.99. Farmer comments, “You need a cool climate to make great sauvignon blanc and the height of the Adelaide Hills vineyards and the closeness of the cooling Southern Ocean provide ideal conditions for this variety”.

Copyright Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 15 September 2013 in the Canberra Times