Wine review — Robert Oatley, Waipara and Bream Creek

Robert Oatley McLaren Vale Shiraz 2011 $17.09–$22
We paid just under $22 for Bob Oatley’s shiraz down the south coast, and it’s on special in Canberra at present for $17.09 each in a six-bottle buy. But even at full price, the wine represents outstanding value. It’s made for Oatley by Larry Cherubino, one of Australia’s very talented winemakers. Cherubino’s talent lies largely in letting very good fruit do its thing. In this case McLaren Vale shiraz from the very cool 2011 vintage offers, ripe, spicy, savoury flavours, cut through with soft, drink-now tannins. The just-released 2012 should offer slightly fuller, riper flavours, but in the same general style. I’ll review this soon.

Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2012 $18.05–$22
New Zealand’s Waipara region sits between Christchurch and Marlborough, in northern Canterbury. At latitude of 43 degrees south (the same as Hobart’s), the area’s climate is ideal for growing flavoursome, well defined pinot noir, like this reasonably priced version. It’s on the lighter side of pinot, but offers pure varietal aroma and flavour and adequate depth and tannin structure to be a real red. The style suits Australia’s warm climate extremely well as it’s not heavy – and offers its brightest, best fruit flavours at around 16–18 degrees, a temperature easily achieved with a short stay in the fridge or ice bucket.

Bream Creek Vineyard Tasmania Riesling 2010 $25
Cool-grown rieslings begin life lean and acidic. But over time their delicious fruit flavours emerge. The time required depends on the individual wine and can be as little as nine months from vintage – as the wine warms up during its first spring and summer. Other wines may take years. Break Creek vigneron, Fred Peacock, therefore holds his rieslings back for a few years. He’s about to move to the 2011 vintage, but the delicious 2010 is still in the marketplace. It offers delicate, Germanic, apple-like flavours, carried refreshingly across the palate by its high natural acidity.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 15 December 2013 in the Canberra Times