Wine review — Grant Burge, Seppelt, Frankland Estate, Coriole and De Bortoli

Grant Burge Corryton Park Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 $50
Burge Corryton Park Vineyard, Barossa, South Australia
Grant Burge’s Corryton Park vineyard sits on a high, cool site near Mount Crawford, in the southern Barossa. The site produces cabernet of outstanding varietal definition and flavour intensity. Grant Burge bought the site in 1999 and, over time, polished the wine to its current very high level. In the very good 2010 vintage, the wine seems saturated with ripe, blackcurrant-like varietal flavours while maintaining the wine’s usual elegant structure. This is exceptionally high-class cabernet with many years cellaring ahead of it.

Seppelt Jaluka Chardonnay 2012 $24–$27
Henty, Victoria
A generation ahead of his time, Karl Seppelt planted a vineyard for the then family company at Drumborg in 1964. It’s a cold site, near Portland in the Henty district, southwestern Victoria. Some say it’s the first landfall north of Antarctica. The vineyard and others in the area grow beautiful chardonnay – high in natural acid, with intense flavours at the cool, grapefruit and melon end of the spectrum. In an outstanding year like 2012, the wine really sings and, given cool cellaring, has the potential to develop well for another five or so years.

Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Chardonnay 2012 $25–$27
Frankland Estate, Frankland River, Western Australia
Frankland River, part of Western Australia’s vast Great Southern area, sits on the south-western edge of the continent. At around 34 degrees south and with little elevation above sea level, the area succeeds with chardonnay (a variety that prefers cool ripening conditions) through the chilling influence of the Southern Ocean. Recent vintages show a lightening and refinement that founders Barrie Smith and Judi Cullam attribute to earlier picking and use of larger oak barrels. The resulting higher natural acidity and textural richness (without oak flavour) produced a particularly pleasing 2012 wine – medium bodied, with ripe, stone-fruit-like varietal flavour, tight structure and vibrant, dry finish.

Coriole Fiano 2013 $25
Coriole vineyard, McLaren Vale, South Australia
Coriole planted the very old southern Italian variety, fiano, in 2001 and released the first wine from it four years later. A number of other Australian producers now make wine from the variety. Our sample bottle appealed to a range of drinkers of varying ages. The flavour reminded me of melon rind, with just enough fruit sweetness to offset the tartness of the rind, and lifted by a fresh, citrus-like character. The wine is fairly full bodied with a pleasingly chewy texture and dry finish.

De Bortoli La Boheme Act Four Syrah Gamay 2012$18–20
Dixons and Steels Creek, Yarra Valley, Victoria
Winemaker Steve Webber says he and wife, Leanne De Bortoli, found inspiration for Act Four while drinking the fruity reds of Ardeche in Paris bistros. Our encounter with the couple’s Yarra Valley version was more an outdoor rashy and croc affair, after a few hours’ kayaking on Lake Conjola. Lightly chilled, Act Four appealed for its fruity perfume and vibrant, juicy, supple, refreshing palate. Presumably much of the perfume came from gamay, the red grape of France’s region. It works well with the slightly fuller, spicy character of shiraz.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 5 February 2014 in the Canberra Times