Castro’s Ligador McLaren Vale Cabernet Malbec 2012 $20
With his new release Ben Riggs suggests a parallel between the blending arts of a cigar maker (ligador) and a winemaker. Both craftsmen, says Riggs make “the whole greater than the sum of its parts”. Riggs argues his case with this blend of cabernet sauvignon and malbec. He sourced the cabernet from the Malpas Road area of Willunga and the malbec from the Church Block vineyard in McLaren Vale. The wine’s delicious bright, fresh, red berry characters come with a load of fine tannins that give an elegance to the structure. This is a very good wine at the price.
Xanadu Next of Kin Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2014 $18
Margaret River’s signature blends of sauvignon blanc and semillon come in a spectrum of styles – ranging from sip-and-savour, long-lived oak fermented versions like Cullens, to bouncy, light and fruity styles like Next of Kin. It captures the pungent, penetrating side of sauvignon blanc (sometimes described as resembling “canned pea”), filled out on the palate by the semillon component. It’s a love-it or hate-it style, made to drink icy cold and as close to vintage as possible. The recently released 2014 vintage delivers the style’s vibrant, fruity freshness plus a rich, smooth texture.
Xanadu Next of Kin Margaret River Chardonnay 2013 $18
Xanadu, part of the Rathbone family wine group, makes some of the best whites and reds in Western Australia’s Margaret River region. Knowledge and skill acquired in making their top-shelf chardonnay trickles down to the more modestly priced Next of Kin. Few wines at this price can claim 100 per cent barrel fermentation (10 per cent of it new), a portion of spontaneous fermentation and nine months maturation in those barrels. These techniques season the wine’s attractive melon-like varietal flavour with attractive spicy and savoury notes and also add richness to the texture.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 18 October 2014 in Fairfax digital media
and 19 October in the Canberra Times