Sancerre (Vignerons a Crezancy) 2011 $16.49
For a different take – in fact, the original – on dry sauvignon blanc, try Costco’s French import from the eastern Loire Valley town, Sancerre. Located at 47 degrees north, this cool region makes lean, acidic sauvignons a world away in style from the brash, fleshy, globally loved versions from Marlborough, New Zealand. It’s the difference that matters, so expect lighter body and herbal and savoury rather than capsicum-like flavours. This is a comparatively tame, soft expression of the regional style and slips down easily without becoming the centre of attention.
Curly Flat Lacuna Macedon Ranges Chardonnay 2013 $36
Australian winemakers continue to tweak chardonnay making it, in my view, our great national white specialty – much as shiraz, in all its similar diversity – carries our red-wine banner. Curly Flat’s second label, Lacuna, adds yet another hue to the ever-widening spectrum. Passing a portion of the grapes through rollers and foot crushing another small component adds grip and texture to an otherwise delicate wine, fermented in stainless steel tanks and the beautifully named, air-permeable Flextank cubes. The small amount of oxygen tones down the fruit and adds to this delicious, fresh, crisp wine’s savoury character.
Vinaceous Voodoo Moon Margaret River Malbec 2012 $20–$25
We hear much of Australia’s winemakers but not so much these days of wine merchants buying, blending (and sometimes making) wine for sale under their own labels. Victoria’s Seabrook family and Sydney’s late Harry Brown are great examples of these entrepreneurial merchants – known in France as negociants. Vinaceous, a newcomer to the ranks, combines the skills of marketer, Nick Stacy, and winemaker, Michael Kerrigan. Their small and excellent regional range includes this rich, ripe, aromatic, fruity malbec from Margaret River, Western Australia. The quirky label fits the happy, fruity, easy drinking style of the wine.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2014
First published 23 February 2014 in the Canberra Times