Bourke Street Canberra District Chardonnay 2011 $18.39–$22
Local winemakers Nick O’Leary (Nick O’Leary Wines) and Alex McKay (Collector Wines) jointly make the Bourke Street range, including this impressive chardonnay. Their website currently offers the fuller bodied 2010 vintage, but a friend picked up the 2011 recently in a Canberra retail outlet. The cold vintage shows in the wine’s comparatively low alcohol (12.5 per cent) and racy, grapefruit-like varietal flavour and acidity. The usual barrel-related winemaking tricks season the wine with a touch of butterscotch and the struck-match character of sulphides at a very low but detectible level.
Skillogalee Clare Valley Basket Pressed The Cabernets 2010 $26.50–$30
Skillogalee’s ripe, juicy, succulent blend combines elegant cabernet sauvignon (87 per cent) with robust malbec (11 per cent) and fragrant cabernet franc. The combination delivers a wine of dense, crimson-rimmed colour and vibrant, ripe-berry aromas, tinged with distinctive, regional touch of mint. Where cabernet sometimes tends to austerity on the mid palate, Skillogalee, probably because of the malbec, fills the mouth with voluptuous, ripe fruit flavours. A load of tannin matches the opulent fruit. But it’s soft and supple – meaning the wine drinks easily now, though I suspect those with good cellars might be saying this for another 20 years.
Tulloch Hunter Valley Verdelho 2013 $12.80–$16.50
Verdelho, from the island of Madeira, adapted readily to Australia’s warm wine-growing regions. In the past, it made superb, long-lived fortified wines. But in recent decades it emerged as a tasty, niche variety for making full-flavoured dry whites. They’re happy, fruity, easy drinking wines like this one from the Tulloch family. The cheaper of two versions the family makes, it captures the sappy, tropical and citrusy varietal character of the grape. The palate’s full flavoured, and rounded off by noticeable residual grape sugar. This adds body to the wine and gives an off-dry finish – that is, not perfectly dry, but not sweet either.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 9 March 2014 in the Canberra Times