Parish Vineyard Riesling 2013 $25–$29
Parish vineyard, Coal River Valley, Tasmania
In 2012 Yalumba proprietor, Robert Hill-Smith, bought Frogmore Creek vineyard in Tasmania’s Coal River Valley. “Hiding among the rather large plantings of chardonnay and pinot noir”, writes winemaker Louisa Rose, “was an irresistible temptation to work with” – a three-hectare block of riesling, the signature white variety in Hill-Smith and Rose’s home turf in South Australia’s Eden Valley. Rose’s bone-dry riesling made from those vines is just lovely. Bone-dry, delicate and light bodied (11.5 per cent alcohol), it delivers the intense apple and lime-like flavours of Tasmanian riesling with a great purity and finesse.
Shotfire Shiraz 2012 $20–$25
Barossa, South Australia
David Clarke and family own 275 hectares of vineyards at three locations along the Eden Valley hills – between Truro in the north and Mount Crawford to the south – and one on the Barossa Valley floor, slightly south of Tanunda. These lie in the Eden Valley and Barossa Valley wine regions – which combined form the large Barossa zone, the appellation used on Shotfire Shiraz. This is a slightly bigger, stronger shiraz than its cheaper sibling, Sandpiper Shiraz 2012 ($15–$19). Shotfire delivers the ripe, black cherry flavours of warm-grown shiraz with the background vanillin character of American oak. The tannins are sturdy but soft.
Logan Weemala Shiraz Viognier 2012 $19
Weemala vineyard, Central Ranges, NSW
Winemaker Peter Logan makes starkly contrasting shirazes from two very different parts of the Great Dividing Range: Mudgee and the Central Ranges, in the vicinity of Orange, at higher altitude and almost one degree further south. The greater warmth creates bigger, more tannic shiraz in Mudgee while the cooler Central Ranges tends to make lighter, softer shiraz – in this instance with a touch of the white viognier. The wine shows an aromatic, floral face of shiraz – characters that flow through to a buoyant, lively, mid-weight, silk-textured palate. Brisk acidity and varietal spice add a gentle bite to this most appealing red.
Stoneleigh Pinot Noir 2013 $19–$22
Northern Wairau Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand
Stoneleigh, along with Brancott Estate (formerly Montana Wines), is a Marlborough-based brand of French-owned Pernod Ricard. By the mid nineties, Montana (owner of Stoneleigh, but not yet part of Pernod-Ricard) was investing heavily in pinot noir vineyards and winemaking techniques. Scaling up production presented unique quality challenges for the variety. Almost twenty years on, pinot noir is Marlborough’s red specialty and is largely responsible for a surge in that variety’s popularity in Australia. Stoneleigh offers a decent expression of the variety, featuring strawberry and raspberry-like varietal with some savouriness and fine, soft tannins.
Peter Lehmann H and V Verdejo 2014 $22
Fiebiger vineyard, Vine Vale, Barossa Valley, South Australia
Verdejo (Spain’s “fifth most planted white wine variety” according to Jancis Robinson) found its way to the Barossa after winemaker Andrew Wigan encountered it in London then “looked at the soil conditions in Rueda”, its Spanish home. Wigan persuaded Chris Fibiger to plant it at his Vine Vale vineyard in 2009, then in 2014 produced the first release. The wine is highly aromatic, low in alcohol (11.5 per cent), but quite full flavoured, with a grippy structure and pleasant lemony aftertaste.
Albarino (Bodegas Castro Martin) 2012 $38
Salnes Valley, Rias Baixas, Galicia, Spai
We discovered Castro Martin’s albarino over a sun-drenched winter lunch at Rick Stein’s Bannisters restaurant, Mollymook. Northern Spain’s signature white variety provided bright, fresh, modern drinking in a distinctive style. Though full-bodied and richly textured, its savouriness and pleasant lemony tartness refreshed as we munched joyously through piles of local seafood, raw and cooked. Spanish and Portuguese specialist, the Spanish Acquisition (spanishacquisition.com) imports and distributes the wines of Bodegas Castro Martin. Available at Plonk, Fyshwick Markets.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 25 June 2014 in the Canberra Times