Wine review — Wicks Estate, Ad Hoc and Xanadu

Wicks Estate Adelaide Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 $18–$20
I tasted this in July at the winery with Tim Wicks and his three winemakers, Tim Knappstein, Leigh Ratzmer and Chris Parsons. The winery, on the edge of the 40-hectare vineyard, puts out good volumes of tasty, medium-bodied wines you can usually pick up for less than $20 a bottle. The 2012 reds impressed across the range – pinot noir, shiraz and this appealing cabernet sauvignon. All three deliver ripe, juicy fruit flavours with well-defined varietal character. The aromatic, drink-now cabernet combines cassis-like fruit flavour with just a touch of leafiness and a backbone of ripe and assertive but soft tannins.

Ad Hoc Avant Gardening
Frankland River Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2012 $21

I’m even more drawn to the wine by winemaker Larry Cherubino’s suggested food companion – wild mushroom ravioli with sautéed chantarelles and cabernet butter. I can imagine the chewy, sweet, earthy richness of the fungi with the bright, sweet, ripe-berry flavours of this appealing blend. A little malbec modifies the flavour and structure of cabernet in a pleasing way, adding a plummy, leafy fragrance and sturdy tannins to balance the sweet-berry flavours. Cherubino sourced the fruit from the Riversdale vineyard, planted in the Frankland River region in 1997. Though matured in new and older oak barrels, the wine’s focus is all on the delicious fruit.

Xanadu Next of Kin Margaret River Shiraz 2011 $18
Xanadu is the Margaret River arm of the Rathbone Group, comprising, as well, Yering Station (Yarra Valley), Mount Langi Ghiran (Grampians) and Parker Estate (Coonawarra). Xanadu’s Next of Kin range offers really good, drink-now regional wines at prices well below the premium offerings. The shiraz, though 14.5 per cent alcohol, seems more medium than full-bodied. Vibrant berry flavours drive the wine, but these are satisfying layered with spicy and savoury notes and soft, easy tannins. Vintage 2011 was very good in the west, unlike the cold, wet season experienced in eastern Australia.

Copyright Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 18 August 2013 in the Canberra Times