Wine review – Majella, Oxford Landing Estates and Peter Lehmann

Majella Coonawarra Sparkling Shiraz 2008 $30–$35
At the 2014 Limestone Coast Wine Show, Chinese judge Fongyee Walker awarded her International Judge’s Trophy to Majella sparkling shiraz. ABC Rural quoted Ms Walker, “It is the one wine of the whole set [of 418 wines] that I could safely give to every single person in China and they would like it”. Majella make and barrel age a normal Coonawarra shiraz, before being bottled for secondary fermentation and maturation on yeast lees for about four years. After they disgorge the spent yeast cells from the bottle, the winemakers add a splash of fortified wine and reseal it. The result is Australia’s traditional Christmas sparkler: an effervescent but real red with a lick of sweetness and a load of fruit flavour.

Oxford Landing Estates Shiraz 2013 $8–$9
Few wines at this price originate from a single vineyard. But Oxford Landing actually exists. Established on South Australia’s hot Riverland in 1958 by Yalumba’s Wyndham Hill-Smith, it remains in family hands today and is the base of the Oxford Landing Estates wine range. From a hot, dry growing season, 2013 delivers notably richer, riper fruit flavours than the previous two vintages, especially the leaner 2011. A small amount of white viognier co-fermented with the shiraz gives an aromatic lift to this generous, soft, drink-now wine, with flavors reminiscent of juicy, ripe, black cherries.

Peter Lehmann Eden Valley Wigan Riesling $28.50–$32
In November, the Griffith based Casella family announced its purchase of Peter Lehmann Wines. Across all the years, from the building of the winery in 1979, Andrew Wigan, worked as winemaker, then as chief winemaker, eventually giving his name in 2003 to the company’s reserve riesling. The 2009 vintage, from the Petney family’s Eden Valley vineyard, pours a shimmering, green-tinted, pale golden colour. The flavours are fresh and lively and lime-like, with the delicious “toasty” note of bottle age – providing glorious Christmas drinking at a modest price for a wine of such rare dimension.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published:

  • 13 December 2014 in
  • 14 December 2014 in the Canberra Times