Wine review — Tahbilk, Shingleback and Zema Estate

Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes Marsanne 2013 $12.99–$18
Tahbilk, the Purbrick family’s lovely old property on an anabranch of the Goulburn River, established marsanne long before Rhone Valley varieties became fashionable in Australia. Tahbilk marsanne drinks well and it takes on a golden, honeyed richness with age. The introduction of a screw cap from 2002, and a brightening of the fruit character in the last decade, makes it an even safer cellaring bet than ever. Most likely, though, the bulk of the just-released 2013 vintage, will slip down before next year’s vintage arrives. It offers distinctive citrus and melon-like flavours and a full, dry palate unlike any other white wine.

Shingleback Haycutters McLaren Vale Shiraz 2012 $15–$17
Shingleback’s very popular Red Knot range recently became a Woolworths’ exclusive, selling between $11.40 and $15 a bottle in their Dan Murphy outlets. Coles have since struck back against their archrival, releasing Shingleback Haycutters Shiraz at a slightly higher price. I’ve not tried the two side by side, so can only make the comparison from memory and notes. Red Knot, I recall as bright, fruity and fresh. Haycutters, on the other hand, brings quite assertive, rustic, savoury tannins into the equation. Coles offers it through its Vintage Cellars, 1st Choice and Liquorland outlets.

Zema Estate Cluny Cabernet Malbec 2009 $25
Cluny is the Zema family’s blend of cabernet sauvignon (65 per cent) and merlot (25 per cent) with five per cent each of cabernet franc and malbec. It’s a medium bodied red, featuring Coonawarra’s bright berry flavours, the distinct fragrance of cabernet franc and the minty–herbaceous notes associated with cool-grown Bordeaux varieties. Firm but fine tannins, some no doubt derived from malbec, give the wine a solid backbone. Former Lindeman winemaker, Greg Clayfield, makes the wine. At four years, it’s ready to drink, though should hold for another three or four years.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 20 October 2013 in the Canberra Times