Wine review – Mt Monster and Capital Wines

Mt Monster Limestone Coast Chardonnay 2012 $15.95
The Bryson family owns two vineyards, totalling 170 hectares, at Padthaway on South Australia’s Limestone Coast – about an hour’s drive north of Coonawarra. The family manages the vineyards and marketing of its Moorambro Creek, Jip Jip Rocks and Mt Monster brands but they hire Ben Riggs to make the wines. For a time Padthaway produced some of Australia’s leading chardonnays, until the focus moved to cooler sites further south. However, the area continues to make tasty chardonnays with a distinctive melon-like varietal flavour – in this instance without the influence of oak.

Mt Monster Limestone Coast Shiraz 2011 $15.95
In the cold, wet 2011 vintage, the Bryson family harvested a much-reduced shiraz crop three weeks later than usual. The winemaking technique – static fermenters and controlled temperatures – is aimed at preserving bright, ripe berry flavours, then building in soft tannins by leaving the wine on skins for a week or so after completion of the fermentation. It’s a successful approach as it captures the region’s lovely berry flavours and elegant structure in a soft, drink-now style with chewy, soft tannins on the mid palate.

Capital Wines The Treasury Late Picked Riesling 2011 375ml $25
Capital’s Jennie Mooney says fruit for this wine came from four Canberra District vineyards – Lambert’s Tallagandra, Four Winds and Long Rail Gully. The cold wet season resulted in large crop losses, largely because of fungal disease. However, we’ve seen many very good, albeit lighter style reds from the vintage and some intensely flavoured high acid whites, like this one. That’s a good combination in a sticky as the acid provides a delicate balance to the sweetness – in this case tinged with the attractive orange-marmalade-like flavour of botrytis (although Mooney says the majority of the fruit as clean at harvest).

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 10 February 2013 in The Canberra Times