Wine review – Richmond Grove, Thorn Clarke and St Erth

Richmond Grove Watervale Riesling 2012 $19–$22
Richmond Grove is riesling royalty – combining the long, distinguished pedigrees of Leo Buring-Lindemans and Orlando. The two streams combined in the nineties and included riesling luminaries Bernard Hickin (Orlando) and John Vickery and Phil Laffer (Buring-Lindeman). Hickin now heads the winemaking team, and Rebekah Richardson made the 2012 riesling. It continues the delicate, brisk, dry style, with its distinctive lime-like flavour and potential to age well for many years. I rate this the best vintage since the outstanding and still delicious 2002. I’m surprised, though, to see such a good wine still in the market, more than a year after its release. Lap it up.

Thorn Clarke Barossa Sandpiper Shiraz 2012 $15–$19
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 Sandpiper Shiraz. From these vineyards winemaker Helen McCarthy makes a range of excellent wines, including this generous, satisfying shiraz. It combines bright, plump, ripe varietal flavour with a sympathetic touch of oak and the soft tannins characteristic of Barossa shiraz.

St Erth Geelong Pinot Noir 2011 $14.25–$15
The privately owned Ballande Group, based in New Caledonia, owns the Tisdall Winery, established in 1971 in Echuca, Victoria. The company exports under a number of labels and also owns the St Erth brand, which it sells exclusively to the Woolworths-owned Dan Murphy chain. A Geelong-based winemaker sources fruit and makes St Erth in Geelong for Ballande. The just-released 2012 steps up a notch in body and flavour depth from the 2011 reviewed last year, albeit still in pinot’s lighter mould. Bright, varietal fruit flavour underpins the wine. But pleasingly for a wine at this price, pinot’s earthy, savoury character comes through, too.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 22 June 2014 in the Canberra Times