Wine review — Toi Toi, Yalumba and Pikes

Toi Toi Central Otago Clutha Pinot Noir 2012 $15.90–$18
Central Otago’s reputation for pinot noir stems largely from higher priced classics like those made by Felton Road. But the growing production of this cool region at 45 degrees south means not every drop wins a place on the top shelf. Toi Toi, made intentionally for this modest (for pinot) price, offers terrific value. The colour’s pale (not unusual for pinot) but the palate presents convincing, and delicious, red-berry varietal flavour, supported by fine, firm tannins and brisk acidity. It’s a drink-now style. Like sauvignon blanc before it, New Zealand pinot noir is now drives the rapid growth of pinot noir consumption in Australia.

Yalumba Old Bush Vine Barossa Grenache 2012 $17.09–$21.95
Spain and Sardinia both have plausible historic claims to being home of grenache (known as garnacha in Spain; cannonau in Sardinia), writes Jancis Robinson in Wine Grapes – A Complete Guide to 1368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours (Allen Lane, 2012). However, writes Robinson, genetic evidence points to Spain as the birthplace. Grenache was documented in Spain in 1513 and Sardinia in 1549. It arrived in France in the late eighteenth century and in Australia in the first half of the nineteenth. Yalumba’s fine example, made from old vines pruned as individual bushes, gives a delicious, earthy, savoury expression of the variety built on pure, fruity varietal flavour.

Pikes Clare Valley Traditionale Riesling 2013 $16.85–$23
Judges at Canberra’s International Riesling Challenge 2013 rated Pikes Traditionale Riesling 2013 as the best of 371 Australian rieslings in the competition. The wine outscored rieslings, some of them far pricier, from more than 35 Australian regions. Pike’s victory underlines the tremendous value and drinking pleasure provided by Australia’s best dry rieslings. A blend of fruit from three Clare Valley sub-regions – Polish Hill River, Watervale and Sevenhill – the 2013 is highly aromatic with juicy, mouth-filling citrusy varietal flavours and thrilling, crisp acidity. It’s dry and weighs in at just 11.5 per cent alcohol.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 24 November 2013 in the Canberra Times