Wine review — Chapel Hill, El Figura and Dal Zotto

Chapel Hill Parson’s Nose McLaren Vale Shiraz 2012 $15–$20
Winemaker Michael Fragos says the mild 2011–12 growing season proved “ideal for maturation and facilitated even flavour and tannin ripening”. The wine reflects the quality of the season with its full body and juicy, ripe fruit flavours. Savoury, firm tannins permeate the vibrant, plummy fruit. They underline the wine’s distinctive McLaren Vale origins and provide great drinking satisfaction. The savouriness and firm tannins distinguish McLaren Vale from other warm-grown shirazes – for example from the more tender tannins of the Barossa, two hours’ drive north of the vale.

El Figura Rioja 2012 $9.49–$9.99
El Figura provides a fruity, drink-now expression of the Rioja region’s great red specialty. Though Spanish law permits the use of several varieties in the region’s red, this one is all tempranillo, made specifically for consumption as a young wine – in Spanish parlance “joven” wine. Woolworths’ private label company, Pinnacle Wine Group, imports it direct (hence the low price) for sale mainly through Dan Murphys outlets. The wine’s medium bodied with vibrant blueberry-like flavours and quite a firm tannin backbone, typical of the variety. Refreshingly for a European wine, the makers sealed all the fruity goodness in with a screw cap.

Dal Zotto Pucino Prosecco NV $21
Prosecco’s Italian home is the Valdobbiadene district, near Conegliano in the Veneto region. The variety makes light, delicate aperitif-style sparkling wines, usually tank fermented (Charmat method) and served as young and fresh as possible. Otto Dal Zotto, born in Valdobbiadene, released his first Australian prosecco in 2004 and now offers the light, delicate, refreshingly bubbly Charmat-made Pucino NV. The Winemakers Federation of Australia recently objected, successfully, to a European application to register “prosecco” as an Italian geographical indication in Australia. Their success would’ve barred our makers from using what is essentially just a varietal name.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 19 January 2014 in the Canberra Times