Petaluma White Label Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2011 $20–$22
For about half the price of the regular Petaluma chardonnay, white label delivers the vitality and intense nectarine and grapefruit-like varietal flavours of a cold Adelaide Hills vintage. Where the regular blend carries the patina of flavours and texture associated with barrel fermentation and maturation (a serious wine, so to speak), white label delivers the razzle-dazzle of early-picked grapes, captured through fermentation in stainless steel. But barrel fermentation of a portion of the blend adds subtly to the wine’s texture without taking the focus away from the fruit. This is a delicious drink-now style.
Red Knot McLaren Vale Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2012 $10.40–$15
The Davey family’s Red Knot range delivers some of the best value for money drinking in the market. Red drinkers twigged to this a few years back, and retailers responded by including the wines among their regular discounts. The wines easily deserve $15 a bottle. But they’re bargains when the price drops closer to $10 – as they were when I wrote this review. The 2012 blend leads with the lovely musk-like fragrance of grenache, supported on the soft and juicy palate by the richness of shiraz and spiciness of mourvedre.
Red Knot McLaren Vale Chardonnay 2012 $14.95
Like every other wine region, McLaren Vale climbed on board the chardonnay bandwagon in the 1980s. While makers of the finest quality chardonnays moved further south or to higher elevations seeking cooler climates, McLaren Vale did the best it could with the variety. Over time the style shifted from rich, buttery oaky styles to the far more refined versions we see today. Red Knot is a good and well priced example of the modern McLaren Vale style – bright and fresh, with generous melon and peach varietal flavour, but modestly alcoholic at 12.5 per cent and with oak way off in the background, a gentle seasoning.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 24 March 2013 in The Canberra Times