Wine review — Peter Lehmann, Quilty and Toppers Mountain

Peter Lehmann H and V Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris 2012 $22
Minor mutations of the pinot vine explain how we can enjoy white (pinot blanc), pink-grey (pinot gris) and red (pinot noir) wine from a single vine variety. All three deliver their best flavours in cool climates. For Peter Barossa-based Lehmann wines, that means sourcing fruit from a couple of cooler, high-altitude vineyards in the Adelaide Hills. Though there’s none of the pink-grey colour we often see in pinot gris, the wine shows the variety’s silky texture, enhanced by fermentation of a portion in oak barrels. The flavour is delicate – a little like fresh pear – leaving the focus on texture and racy freshness.

Quilty Silken Thread Mudgee Petit Verdot 2011 $22
The late-ripening Bordeaux variety petit verdot gives colour and complexity to blends with cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot. However, recent genetic research, writes Jancis Robinson, puts it in a separate vine family, including little known varieties, ardonnet, gros verdot and petit verdot faux. Like the Bordelaise, Australian wine makers tend to blend petit verdot away. But Des Quilty and others let petit verdot standalone. At a recent tasting of lesser-known varieties, Quilty’s version appealed to a range of first-time petit verdot tasters. Not as deep as some I’ve tasted, perhaps because of the cool vintage, it delivered ripe, juicy flavour on a pleasingly elegant palate.

Toppers Mountain New England Gewurztraminer 2012 $35
In Wine Grapes: A complete guide to 1368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours, Jancis Robinson describes gewürztraminer as “one of the most headily and distinctively aromatic varietals of all with strong lychee flavours and high alcohol levels”. She says the latest genetic research classifies the variety as “an aromatic mutation of savagnin rose” that probably occurred in Germany’s Rheingau region. Toppers Mountain’s version, from the cool New England region, NSW, resembles more the plush, highly aromatic, almost viscous versions from Alsace, France. A little bit goes a long way. But I can imagine this with pork sausage, pate, or, alternatively, with the spicy tang of Thai food.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 7 April 2013 in The Canberra Times