d’Arenberg Hermit Crab McLaren Vale Viognier Marsanne 2013 $14.25–$16
McLaren Vale’s warm climate seems to suit these Rhone Valley white varieties better than more commonly encountered ones like chardonnay, riesling and sauvignon blanc. In past years d’Arenbeg’s blend has often been predominantly marsanne with some viognier. In the warm 2013 vintage winemaker Chester Osborn bumped the viognier component up to 65 per cent. Although it isn’t so obvious in the aroma, the palate reveals viognier’s distinctive apricot-like flavour. Fortunately, marsanne tempers this (it can be overwhelming in some wines), giving a tasty, full-flavoured wine, with a savoury edge and rich, smooth palate.
Skillogalee Clare Valley Basket Pressed The Cabernets 2012 $30–$33
Skillogalee’s The Cabernets combines cabernet sauvignon (85 per cent) with robust malbec (9 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. The 2012 seems somewhat less fleshy than the 2010 vintage reviewed earlier this year. But that simply means cabernet’s assertive tannins play a slightly more prominent role. The fruit–tannin combination means a big but elegant cabernet with a very sturdy tannin backbone. This should cellar well for many years in stable, cool conditions.
Toolangi Yarra Valley Shiraz 2010 $20
Toolangi’s medium bodied shiraz comes from its own low-yielding vineyard at Dixon’s Creek, though the wine was made at three different wineries: Yering Station, Oakridge and Hoddles Creek Estate. This is very high quality cool climate shiraz at a modest price. It has a bright, youthful colour of medium hue. The aroma combines floral notes of cool-grown shiraz with a touch of spice; and though medium weight, the palate has a delicious concentration of ripe fruit flavour, seasoned with spice and with a fine tannin structure.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 6 July 2014 in the Canberra Times