Saltram 1859 Barossa Shiraz 2012 $17–$21
The first 2012 reds coming into the market suggest a high quality vintage, much as we’ve seen of the exceptional whites. Saltram 1859 Barossa Shiraz 2012 shows what’s at the heart of a good vintage – vibrant, juicy fruit flavours. Winemakers will add other layers of flavour to the very best wines and release them over the next five years. But for this Barossa shiraz delivers lovely drinking right now. The makers used more stainless steel than oak in its production, thus capturing the vibrant, fleshy fruit flavours of the vintage. Soft tannins add to the fleshy texture and drink-now appeal.
Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley Moon Mountain Chardonnay 2012 $16–$20
A Chateau Shanahan favourite for a couple of decades, Moon Mountain provides sophisticated chardonnay drinking (and medium-term cellarability) at a fair price. Good Hunter fruit’s at the heart of the wine. But over the last 40 years, the Tyrrell family and winemaker Andrew Spinaze perfected the art of chardonnay making. Thus that delicious fruit comes in a matrix of aromas, flavours and textures derived from winemaking techniques. Grape solids in the fermentation, maturation on yeast lees (and lees stirring) in new and older French oak barrels all add to the drinking pleasure.
Rosemount Estate South Australia Chardonnay 2012 $10–$15
The union of Rosemount Estate and Southcorp Wines early last decade almost destroyed the Rosemount brand globally. A new iteration of the once-ubiquitous diamond-label chardonnay offers fair drinking at its on-special price – a fresh, medium bodied style with a light touch of leesy complexity. But if you find fully priced Rosemount alongside Tyrrell’s Moon Mountain (reviewed above) on special, pay the extra dollar and enjoy the substantially better, more satisfying Tyrrell wine.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 19 May 2013 in the Canberra Times