Wine review – Illuminati, Williams Crossing and Tyrrell’s

Illuminati Ilico Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2011 $12.35–$16
Woolworths imports Ilico direct from the Illuminati family in Abruzzi, Italy, and offers it through its BWS and Dan Murphy outlets. We purchased our bottle from BWS Kingston for $16, though Dan Murphy offers it for $12.35 in a six-bottle buy. It’s a bargain at that price. This is a refined and elegant expression of the montepulciano variety, though still rich and savoury in its own delicate, understated way. Ilico comes from vineyards at 260 metres above sea level in the highly flavoured sub-region of Contraguerra, between the Adriatic and the Apennines.

Williams Crossing by Curly Flat Macedon Ranges Chardonnay 2012 $27
“Sensational” came to mind as we tasted Williams Crossing. It’s the vineyard’s second label – a blend of barrels that didn’t make the cut for the $42-a-bottle Curly Flat label. Essentially, you get 80–90 per cent of the quality for 35 per cent less outlay – an attractive sum, indeed. The wine offers chardonnay’s luxurious flavour and texture with great freshness and vivacity. It’s the product of fussy vineyard management, individual barrel ferments with wild yeasts and maturation in those high-quality, two-to-four-year-old French barrels.

Tyrrell’s Rufus Stone Heathcote Shiraz 2012 $19–$25
Shiraz presents so many faces in Australia, ranging from delicate and peppery to alcoholic blockbusters. Up in the Hunter, Tyrrells long ago mastered the idiosyncratic local, earthy, medium-bodied style. Then in 1997 they produced their first shiraz from Heathcote, Victoria – an altogether different beast from the Hunter styles. Fifteen years on, the now mature Heathcote style presents concentrated, vibrant berry and spice flavours, with quite firm, savoury tannins on an elegant, medium bodied palate. The Tyrrell winemaking mastery shows in the appealing harmony of the wine. Retailer discounts sometimes bring the price below $20.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 11 May 2014