Wine review — The Winesmiths, Mad Fish and Dopff au Moulin

The Winesmiths South Australia Chardonnay 2-litre cask $18.99
In July, Samuel Smith and Son, an arm of Robert Hill Smith’s Yalumba group, launched this new upmarket range of wine casks – pinot grigio, chardonnay, tempranillo and shiraz. The cask, made from a claimed 75 per cent recyclable goods and 13 per cent the carbon footprint of wine bottle, has a decidedly wholesome, wholemeal appearance. The tempranillo appealed for its rich fruit and rustic tannins. The chardonnay, too, slips down pleasantly. It’s full-bodied and richly textured with clean, fresh, peachy varietal flavour.

Mad Fish Western Australia Shiraz 2010 $14–$18
Mad Fish is the entry-level brand of Western Australia’s Burch Family Wines. The family owns wineries in Margaret River and Denmark in the state’s south, where it produces wines under the Howard Park and Mad Fish labels, and the Australian wines in its Australian–French joint venture, Marchand and Burch. As we so often see with Australian top-end producers, quality trickles all the way down the line – meaning very high quality in Mad Fish shiraz. Sourced from Great Southern and Margaret River, it offers bright, fresh fruity flavours, medium body and gentle, soft tannins for current drinking.

Dopff au Moulin Alsace Pinot Blanc 2011 $12.35–$13
Pinot blanc is the little-known, third face of the pinot vine – the other two being pinot noir and pinot gris (or grigio). It’s an important white variety in Alsace, though on a lesser scale than pinot gris (formerly known there as tokay d’Alsace). They’re hardly recognisable, though, as expressions of the same variety. Alsace pinot gris tends to be unctuous and often a little sweet. Pinot blanc, on the other hand, is leaner, lighter, tighter and made as an aperitif style – with a nice little bite of tannin emphasising the dry finish. Dopff, a good example of pinot blanc, is imported by Woolworths and available in their Dan Murphy outlets.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 17 November 2013 in the Canberra Times