Wine review – Long Rail Gully, Baron Amarillo and Aldi

Long Rail Gully Canberra District Riesling 2013 $17.08–$20
It’s an understatement to say the Parker family hides its light under a bushel. They make some of Canberra’s finest wines, but they don’t make much noise about it. A group of us enjoyed their 2013 riesling at Quarterdeck restaurant, Narooma, during the recent oyster festival – a Moruya-markets-meets-the-oyster farmer kind of event. The Parker’s light, delicate, lime-like Long Rail Gully 2013 proved delicious company for our local Sydney rock oysters. Garry and Barbara Parker established Long Rail Gully at Murrumbateman. Their son Richard makes the wine. The cellar door price ( is $102.50 for six bottles.

Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva (Aldi) 2008 $9.99
Aldi recently became the third largest of Australia’s grocery retailers. It overtook the Metcash-supplied independent stores as the distant third to industry giants Coles and Woolworths. Most of what you find in Aldi are its own brands, including the well-selected beers and wines. England’s Decanter magazine awarded Aldi’s Rioja Reserva a stingy two stars out of five. But I think most drinkers would be more generous. This is not great Rioja. But who’d expect that for $10? Instead, it’s decent Rioja, offering generous fruit flavour, medium body, savouriness and abundant but tame tannins.

Cotes du Rhone Villages Cuvee Reserve (Aldi) 2012 $8.99
French winemakers don’t make it easy for Australian wine drinkers not up on French wine lore. Even knowing where the Cotes du Rhone is doesn’t tell unfamiliar drinkers a red wine of that appellation will be a blend of grenache, shiraz, mourvedre and possibly other associated varieties. Full marks to Aldi for at least sourcing this one under a hygienic screw cap and offering a clean, fresh expression of the region’s earthy, presumably grenache-led blend. It’s medium bodied and, in the French style, has layers of savoury, earthy tannins overlying the fruit – which is there, though not the first thing that leaps out at you.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 20 April 2014 in the Canberra Times