Wine review — Wicks Estate, Pindarie and Tar and Roses

Wicks Estate Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2010 $16.15–$20
Wicks Estate’s gold-medal winning shiraz appealed strongly to me while judging the recent Winewise Championship in Canberra. Against powerful competition, it failed to make the finals. But it offers absolutely delicious drinking right now. Estate-grown and made, it shows the ripe-berry, spice and medium body of cool-grown shiraz – the fresh, juicy, berry flavours, in particular, light up a gentle, completely seductive palate. The winemaker says, “the elegant fruit and tannin structure will reward careful cellaring”. This may be true. But it’s hard to imaging the wine every being more charming than it is now, just bristling with fruit.

Pindarie Barossa Valley La Femme Savagnin 2011 $16
A friend brought this to a tasting where it provided attractive, light, refreshing distraction from a run of solid reds. The wine comes from Pindarie vineyard, on the Barossa Valley’s western ridge. Most likely the owners thought they were planting the Spanish variety albarino. But Australia’s “albarino” stocks turned out to be savagnin blanc and wines made from the variety are now generally marketed simply as “savagnin”. The light-bodied, vibrant wine leans more to savouriness than fruitiness – making it good company for the black olives sitting near it at the tasting. The website ( now offers the 2012 vintage.

Tar and Roses Central Victoria Pinot Grigio 2012 $18
The light bronze tint of Tar and Roses points to the origin of pinot grigio (or pinot gris, literally “grey pinot”) – a mutant of Burgundy’s noble red variety, pinot noir. Like the red version, the white mutant grows best in cool climates. But the range of flavours (or lack of it) and styles varies so widely in Australia, it’s sometimes hard to believe they’re all made from the same variety. This one, however, captures much of the elusive pinot character, in this instance a full-bodied, crisp, richly textured, bone-dry white with a notably savoury, tannic bite.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 10 January in The Canberra Times