Wine review — Ravensworth, Paxton and Yellowtail

Ravensworth Canberra District “Le Querce” Sangiovese 2012 $23–$25
I don’t know why it’s called “the oak” as it’s not at all woody – in fact, quite the opposite, packed with the black-cherry wholesomeness of Italy’s ubiquitous red grape variety, sangiovese. The county’s 69,790 hectares (in 2000) produce an amazing diversity of wine styles, from profound to forgettable. Most are probably not as memorable as Bryan and Jocelyn Martin’s Murrumbateman version. To begin with, it’s clean and fresh and hygienically sealed with screw cap. And the vibrant cherry-like varietal flavour comes with attractive herbal, spicy, savoury notes. A combination of acid and fine, persistent tannins provide vibrance and structure to the medium body.

Paxton AAA McLaren Vale
Shiraz Grenache 2011 $18–$20

Paxton’s blend comprises 62 per cent shiraz and 38 per cent grenache from the family’s biodynamic certified vineyards in McLaren Vale. The maker fermented five shiraz components and three grenache components separately, using both closed and open fermenters. The different techniques resulted in a wine with both bright fruit more mellow winey character – a tasty combination in a red designed for early consumption. It’s a medium bodied dry red, combining the rich earthiness of shiraz and fragrant, spicy lift of grenache. The cool vintage means a less fleshy, tauter style than usual, but delicious nevertheless.

Yellowtail Shiraz 2012 $8–$10
Yellowtail’s huge success in America attracted bricks and bouquets in large volumes. Its fans say it opened American palates to fresh, fruity Australian wines. Detractors, on the other hand, say it created a cheap and cheerful stereotype that closes American minds to our better wines. But we should never lose sight of the great benefits the brand delivers to independent grape growers across southeastern Australia. The company’s 12 million-case production requires about 160 thousand tonnes of grapes annually, sourced from an estimated 10–11 thousand hectares of vines. The latest shiraz offers ripe, round plummy flavours on a soft, smooth palate.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 9 June 2013 in the Canberra Times