Wine review — Nick O’Leary, Peter Lehmann and Mr Riggs

Nick O’Leary Canberra District Shiraz 2011 $28
Local winemaker Nick O’Leary’s 2011 shiraz impressed when he released it last year. Then in a masked tasting a few weeks back it vied for top spot among tasters alongside O’Leary’s new flagship red, the $55 a bottle Bolaro Shiraz 2011. They’re both wonderful, distinctively-Canberra wines, the Bolaro likely to win in the long run. However, the tasting proves the law of diminishing returns. For half of the price of the Bolaro, the $28 delivers 90 per cent of the quality. It’s highly aromatic, featuring the distinctive spice, pepper and ripe berry aromas of cool-grown shiraz. The medium bodied, lively, fresh and elegant palate reflects the aroma.

Peter Lehmann Eden Valley Portrait Riesling 2012 $15
Having dismissed this gold medal winner as just OK in a recent masked tasting, I grabbed another bottle a few days later. Whether my palate went AWOL, or the original bottle was damaged, I’ll never know. But the second tasting revealed a most appealing, aromatic, floral young riesling – delicate and light bodied at just 11 per cent alcohol, shimmering with fresh lime-like varietal flavour and cut through with zesty, refreshing acidity. It drinks well as an after-work refresher (as we had it at the second encounter) and would be good company with light seafood, salads and spicy Asian food.

Mr Riggs McLaren Vale The Gaffer Shiraz 2011 $19–$22
Mr Riggs, made by Ben Riggs, belongs with Woop Woop, Penny’s Hill and The Black Chook in the Galvanised Wine Group’s portfolio. The Gaffer sits in the quality-value sweet spot of the group’s rang, generally offering well-defined regional varietal character. We put the latest vintage, alongside several other shirazes, to the curry test. Against conventional wisdom, many fruity, soft Australian shirazes, retain their attractive flavours in the presence of cumin, cardamon, nutmeg, turmeric, black pepper and even chilli. And so it proved on this occasion. The delicious ripe-berry flavours welled up through other savoury flavours and the firmer, more-grippy-than-usual tannins.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 17 March 2013 in The Canberra Times