Wine review — Yalumba, Punt Road and Bay of Fires

Yalumba Eden Valley Roussanne 2012 $25
Yalumba first worked with the Rhone white variety, roussanne in the 1980s, halted work because of a vine virus, then restarted with fresh material around 20 years later. By then they had 30 years’ experience with another of the Rhone varieties, viognier, and decades of experience with spontaneous fermentations in barrel. Bringing this experience to bear produced a roussanne of great character in the excellent 2012 vintage. Winemaker Louisa Rose sees wild pawpaw and peach in the aroma – descriptors that ring true with me. The richly textured palate delivers those flavours, finishing fresh, dry and with a little tweak of tannin in the finish.

Punt Road Airlie Bank Yarra Valley Shiraz 2012 $18
Cool-climate shiraz makes a versatile food companion for a hot Australian Christmas. The peppery–spicy flavours, medium body, modest alcohol content (12.7 per cent) and supple, soft palate pair well with a wide range of vegetables and meats– whether from sea or paddock. Punt Road’s new Airlie Bank, from accomplished Yarra Valley winemaker, Kate Goodman, delivers all these drink-now qualities for less than $20 a bottle. The wine, from the company’s vineyards at Coldstream, shows the lovely flavours of a very good vintage.

Bay of Fires Pinot Noir Chardonnay Tasmanian Cuvee $25.65–$30
Winemakers recognised Tasmania’s potential for growing sparkling wine some decades back. The long-term investments are now paying off in a growing number of outstanding, delicate wines. In my view House of Arras leads the way. But Arras quality trickles down the line to its cellar mate, Bay of Fires, sourced from vineyards in Pipers River and the Coal River, Tamar and Derwent Valleys. The cool-grown fruit provides a vivacious and elegant base for this outstanding sparkler. Extended maturation on spent yeast cells (following fermentation in bottle) and use of oak-aged reserved wines for topping up, give the wine structure and layers of pleasing flavours.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2013
First published 8 December 2013 in the Canberra Times