Wine review – Ravensworth, Forbes and Forbes, Majella, Printhie, West Cape Howe and Wynns Coonawarra Estate

Ravensworth Riesling 2013 $20
Murrumbateman, Canberra District, NSW
Bryan and Jocelyn Martin’s 2013 riesling swept all competitors aside at the recent Canberra and region show. It won the top gold medal in the 2013 riesling class, then cleaned up in the taste offs, winning trophies as the show’s best riesling, best white wine and best wine. A few weeks later it won another gold medal plus a trophy as best Canberra riesling at the Canberra International Riesling Challenge. Ravensworth shows the tight structure and acidic backbone of Canberra riesling, with pure, intense, fresh citrus varietal flavour and sufficient mid-palate flesh to offset the gripping acidity. Should drink well for the next decade.

Forbes and Forbes Riesling 2012 $20
Woodman vineyard, Springton, Eden Valley, South Australia
A year older and a shade darker in colour, Forbes and Forbes 2012 offers an interesting style contrast to Ravensworth 2013. They’re both gold medallists from their respective regional shows and national events. They’re of a similar alcohol content. Both contain three grams per litre of residual sugar – undetectable by the average palate. And both deliver pure fruit flavour, albeit on different parts of the varietal spectrum. Where Ravensworth offers Canberra’s solid acid backbone and the unevolved flavour of a new wine, Forbes and Forbes sits more delicately on the palate, delivering a pristine, lime-like flavour, carried by soft, fresh acidity.

Majella The Musician Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz $18–$20
Majella vineyard, Coonawarra South Australia
The Musician is the Lynn family’s song of fruit ¬– a floral, juicy expression of the cabernet sauvignon and shiraz grapes grown on their eastern Coonawarra vineyard. The wine delivers Coonawarra’s deep, ripe, berry flavours, medium body and elegant structure, without the overlay of oak or other winemaker inputs seen in wines made for cellaring. It’s made to drink right now – move onto the next vintage as soon as it’s released next year.

Printhie MCC Shiraz 2012 $36
Printhie Phalaris block, Orange, NSW
Printhie shiraz comes from the company’s Phalaris block towards the lowest, warmest point of the Orange district. Even so, MCC 2012 sits at the cooler end of cool-climate shiraz styles. It’s highly aromatic – combining bright, strawberry-like character, overlaid with the spice and white pepper indicative of very cool growing conditions. The latter often points to green, unripe flavours in shiraz. But Printhie just makes it over the line – the white pepper, acidity and fine, firm tannins balancing delicately with the vibrant fruit flavour.

West Cape Howe Tempranillo 2012 $13–$20
Frankland and Perth Hills, Western Australia
Gavin Berry’s tempranillo presents the fruity side of Spain’s great red variety. It’s adapting well across a diversity of Australian climates – in this instance Frankland and the Perth Hills, Western Australia. The colour’s limpid and crimson-rimmed and the aroma is all about fresh, dark berries. Fresh berry flavours fill the palate, too, ahead of a pleasing earthy note and then the fine, firm tannins of the variety.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Michael Shiraz 2010 $100–$145
Eastern Coonawarra, South Australia
The Riddoch Highway dissects Coonawarra from north to south. The sea of vines on the flat land either side of the highway gives a deceptive impression of homogeneity – of a landscape where all sites are created equal. In fact, various plots across Coonawarra produce a wide diversity of wines, albeit in the elegant regional style. Shiraz, for examples, struggles to ripen in the south and fares best, in Wynns’ long experience, in the sandy soils towards the eastern edge of northern Coonawarra. This is the source of the sublime Michael Shiraz 2010, a powerful but fine-boned, gentle and elegant shiraz with long-term cellaring potential. Expect wide variation in pricing.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 30 October 2013 in the Canberra Times and