Wine review – De Bortoli, Brothers in Arms and Eddystone Point

De Bortoli Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2013 $4.75–$7
Drinkers of fine wine might now connect the De Bortoli family with their superb Yarra Valley products, particularly pinot noir and chardonnay. But the bulk of De Bortoli’s wine, like the Sacred Hill range, still comes from the NSW Riverina district. This blend plays on one of the Riverina’s strengths – large volumes of low-cost semillon (93 per cent of the blend) – seasoned with more pungent sauvignon blanc from Victoria’s King Valley (yes, De Bortolis is there, too). The result is a light, fresh and lively dry white, built on semillon’s lemon-like flavours, with an herbaceous twist provided by the sauvignon blanc.

Brothers in Arms Side by Side Langhorne Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 $27
Brothers in Arms wines come from Langhorne Creek’s Metala vineyard, established in 1891. The vineyard was source of Jack Kilgour’s legendary Stonyfell Private Bin Claret from 1932 until 1959, when Kilgour’s winemaking successor, Bryan Dolan, renamed the wine Stonyfell Metala. Dolan’s 1961 Metala won the first Jimmy Watson memorial trophy in 1962, the year of Jimmy Watson’s death. Treasury Wine Estates owns the Metala brand, but the Metala vineyard, now greatly expanded, belongs to the Adams family, descendants of founder, William Formby. Guy and Liz Adams produce Side-by-Side cabernet, a sturdy and satisfying example of a style Langhorne Creek does particularly well.

Eddystone Point Tasmania Pinot Gris 2012 $26
Like its red sibling, pinot noir, the pinot gris vine gives its best fruit in a cool climate – in this instance Tasmania’s Tamar Valley and East Coast regions. Winemaker Penny Jones fermented (then matured the wine for four months on the spent yeast cells) in stainless steel tanks. The technique captured the variety’s elusive aromas and flavours and built a silky smoothness to the texture. A small amount of residual grape sugar (5.5 grams a litre) adds further body to the wine, but leaves it effectively dry. Those subtle aromas and flavours are pear like and sit well in the soft, smooth palate.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 1 June 2014 in the Canberra Times