Logan Apple Tree Flat Mudgee Chardonnay 2013 $10–$13
Mudgee, in the high country about 270 kilometres north-west of Sydney, makes sturdy, tannic reds and surprisingly gentle, tasty chardonnays. Surprising because, in theory, we’d be looking these days for cooler locations for this early ripening variety. But chardonnay arrived there mid nineteenth century and became an early source of the variety as interest in chardonnay spluttered to life from the late 1960s. In the warm 2013 season Peter Logan’s popular version offers attractive melon and peach varietal aroma, generous flavours, reflecting the aroma, smooth texture and clean, dry finish.
Lake Breeze Langhorne Creek Bernoota Shiraz Cabernet 2012 $19–$22
Langhorne Creek, near Lake Alexandrina, South Australia, supplies large volumes of high quality grapes to Australia’s biggest wine brands, including Jacob’s Creek, Penfolds and Wolf Blass. The region’s comparatively high yields and quality appeal as much to the accountants as they do to the winemakers – though it’s a pity to see so much of this material blended anonymously away. Local growers like the Follett family, however, make excellent wines bearing the regional name. In 2012 the family’s Bernoota gives sensational drinking at the price. It’s fragrant, ripe and rich (but not heavy), with a juicy, seductive mid palate and soft, tannic finish.
Domaine Chandon Heathcote Shiraz 2012 $26–$31
Heathcote Victoria, especially in the cool 2012 season, offers a pleasing, savoury contrast to the more robust, joyously fruity Lake Breeze shiraz cabernet reviewed above. The limpid, medium colour reveals the cooler origin of Chadon’s shiraz, as does the spicy note seasoning the bright berry flavours. On the palate the wine is lively, fresh and medium bodied with a taut structure and very fine, savoury tannins harmonising with the lovely fruit. This is elegant shiraz, ready to drink now and with several years’ cellaring potential. Winemaker Dan Buckle describes 2012 as, “a great vintage in central Victoria”.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 29 June 2014 in the Canberra Times