Wine review — Penfolds, Frankland Estate and Wirra Wirra

Penfolds Hyland Cool Climate Adelaide Chardonnay 2012 $18–$23
We could call Thomas Hyland the forgotten Penfolds range – sitting quietly in the shade of the much-hyped bin and icon wines. The chardonnay debuted in 2001, an offshoot of the “white Grange” project that delivered the flagship Yattarna and Adelaide Hills Reserve Bin chardonnays. The style evolved with the times, and in the 2012 vintage we taste a rich but tightly structured wine showing terrific fruit flavour woven in with textures and flavours derived from fermentation and maturation on yeast lees in oak barrels. The on-special price seems to have snuck up a few dollars in the last year, but it still offers good value when under $20.

Frankland Estate Rocky Gully Frankland River Cabernets 2012 $16–$18
Frankland River lies a little to the south, and well to the east of Margaret River, Western Australia’s capital of cabernet blends. Part of the Great Southern zone, Frankland River, while better known for its shiraz and riesling, makes good wine from cabernet and related varieties on some sites. Frankland Estate Rocky Gully provides and affordable, drink-now introduction to the style. It’s medium bodied and built on gentle, ripe-berry varietal flavours with sufficient tannin to give backbone and bite to the dry finish.

Wirra Wirra Lost Watch Adelaide Hills Riesling 2013 $18.05–$22
Wirra Wirra’s Lost Watch, from the cool Adelaide Hills, provides a delicious contrast to the better-known rieslings from the Eden and Clare valleys (located to the north, on the same Mount Lofty Ranges). Our sample moved from the tasting bench to the dinner table on a warm summer’s evening. The wine’s delicate, pleasantly tart acidity, green-apple and lemon-like varietal flavours sat well with fresh prawns and cut through the heavier flavours and oiliness of barbecued salmon. It’s a particularly delicate riesling, with the flavour intensity, acidity and harmony to age well over the next four or five years.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 16 February 2014 in the Canberra Times