Wine review – Vickery, Jeir Creek, Geoff Merrill, Maipenrai, Rosemount Estate and Logan

Vickery Riesling 2014 $24
Castine and Brazel vineyards, Watervale, Clare Valley, South Australia

A year after the death of Leo Buring in 1961, Lindemans bought his business and retained his winemaker, John Vickery. Lindemans promptly planted riesling in place of sherry varieties on Buring’s Florita Vineyard at Watervale, southern Clare Valley. And, in time for the 1963 vintage, they installed protective winemaking equipment in the winery. This set the stage for Vickery to emerge over the coming decades as Australia’s master riesling maker. Vickery retired some years ago. But in 2014 he collaborated with winemaker Phil Lehmann on this lovely Watervale riesling. It’s made in the flavoursome but delicate Vickery style – intense lime-like varietal aromas and flavours of great purity, with a clean, dazzling acid backbone and a bit of bite in the dry finish. “Vickery” is part of WD Wines, owners also of Hesketh Wines, St John’s Road and Parker Coonawarra Estate.

Jeir Creek Riesling 2014 $25
Jeir Creek vineyard, Murrumbateman, Canberra District, NSW

Rob and Kay Howell’s Jeir Creek Riesling 2014 won a gold medal at this year’s Canberra Regional Wine Show. Their success adds to the glamour of Canberra riesling, which is now firmly established as the local white specialty. Theirs is an attractive style. The aroma combines lemony and floral varietal characters that come through, too, on a generous, fruity palate. Typical Canberra acidity cuts through the fruit, giving great freshness in a pleasantly tart lemony way. The combination of rich fruit and high acidity promises a pleasant flavour evolution for some years on a good cellar.

Geoff Merrill Jacko’s Shiraz 2010 $23.75–$27.50
McLaren Vale, South Australia

McLaren Vale veteran Geoff Merrill not only makes good shiraz but releases it with a few years’ bottle age. The bottle age adds to the wine’s savouriness and overall “red wine” character. It rated highly in a recent multi-region shiraz tasting, which included wines with far higher price tags. Merrill wine shows bright fruit flavours with regional and bottle-aged savouriness and quite a firm tannin backbone, characteristic of the vintage.

Maipenrai Pinot Noir 2012 $180 for 6 bottles, $100 for 3 bottles
Maipenrai vineyard, Yass River Valley, Canberra District, NSW

Maipenrai’s Brian Schmidt swims against the tide, making pinot in a district renowned for shiraz. But he’s on a high (760 metre), comparatively cool site, and in the cool 2012 season made an impressive, distinctive wine. The colour’s quite pale, which is acceptable for pinot, though I’d like to see more red than garnet hues. The pleasantly stemmy-fruity-savoury aroma is all pinot – a character that flows through to a surprisingly intense, firmly structured palate, with attractive, bright fruit pulsing away under the tannins and low-level oak flavours. The firm, taut style is far removed from the raspberry-strawberry fruitiness of many Australian pinots. I suspect we’ll taste even better things after a few years in the cellar. (Available at

Rosemount Estate Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2013 $25
McLaren Vale, South Australia

You may have lost track of Rosemount’s many labels, but this one with the gold “MV” in a black diamond, offers rich, supple current drinking. Grenache gives the wine its appealing fruity fragrance and round, soft palate, while shiraz adds body and mourvedre chips in with firmer tannins. Overall, though, this wine is all about fruit, soft tannins and easy drinking right now. Rosemount Estate is a brand of Treasury Wine Estates.

Logan Cabernet Merlot 2012 $28
Orange, NSW

Eating raspberries off the vine in a cold climate will give a glimpse of the bright and well defined fruit flavours in Peter Logan’s cabernet merlot blend. That’s the first impression at least. But this is wine and of course much more goes on when fruit’s fermented. Dazzling berry fruit flavours remain at the core. But there’s the leafy note of cool-grown cabernet, the earthiness of merlot and elegant structure and gentle grip of fine tannins. The berry fruit flavours and medium body make this an excellent luncheon red.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published:

  • 28 October 2014 in
  • 29 October 2014 in the Canberra Times