Yearly Archives: 2015

Nick O’Leary White Rocks riesling leads world-class Canberra lineup

Nick O’Leary “White Rocks” Riesling 2013
Westering vineyard, Lake George, Canberra District, NSW

Canberra winemaker Nick O’Leary sources grapes for White Rocks from one of Canberra’s oldest vineyards, planted by Captain Geoff Hood in 1973. These venerable old vines, with huge trunks, produce tiny crops of powerfully flavoured grapes. O’Leary’s definitely onto something special with this unique, powerful yet delicate riesling, with its intense, citrusy varietal flavour and invigorating, lemony-tart finish. This is another notch above the excellent 2013 reviewed last year. O’Leary says the old, unirrigated vines yielded just two tonnes to the hectare.

Nick O’Leary Shiraz 2014 $30
Murrumbateman, Canberra District, NSW

Nick O’Leary’s 2014 shiraz topped its class at this year’s Canberra regional wine show. A month later, judges at the NSW Wine Industry Awards named it NSW Wine of the Year, a double for O’Leary after winning the same award in 2014. The limpid 2014 offers sweet and alluring red-berry and spice aromas. The vibrant, fresh, medium-bodied palate precisely reflects the aroma, with its spicy, rich, berry fruit flavours and underlying savouriness. Soft, silky tannins give the wine its smooth texture, gentle finish and elegant structure.

Capital Wines The Whip Riesling 2015
Murrumbateman, Canberra District, NSW

Capital’s wines, white and red, share a trait – what wine judges call “closed” or “tight”. The jargon appears pejorative, suggesting something unpleasant or unapproachable. In fact, the words generally refer to wines in which structural elements – acid for whites, tannin for reds – initially mask the underlying fruit flavours. The Whip certainly falls into this category as the lemony acid zings across the palate. But a bit of aeration, or bottle age, reveals a slowly blossoming and delicious fruit flavour. The acid then accentuates the fruit, preserves it over time and provides a refreshing dry finish.

Capital Wines The Frontbencher Shiraz 2013
Murrumbateman, Canberra District, NSW

In a fast-paced masked tasting of 20 Canberra 2013-vintage shirazes last year, The Frontbencher led with its tannin structure. The underlying fruit barely peeped through. Fourteen months later, a more relaxed Frontbencher reveals sweet and spicy berry-like varietal flavour welling up through the still assertive tannins. The two harmonise, giving a taut, savoury dry red of great appeal.

Gallagher Blanc de Blanc 2010 $50
Gallagher vineyard, Murrumbateman, Canberra District, NSW

Greg Gallagher’s 2009 Blanc de Blanc won a silver medal at the Canberra regional wine show. It’s almost old out in November. But the equally good 2010 is due for release on 1 December. A full-bodied style, it offers really fresh and vibrant melon-like varietal flavours, with the patina of brioche-like flavours and creamy, chewy texture derived from ageing on yeast lees in bottle for five years. Gallagher makes, bottles, matures and despatches his outstanding bubblies from his own purpose-built cellars at Murrumbateman.

Lark Hill Riesling 2015
Lark Hill vineyard, Lake George Escarpment, Canberra District, NSW
Lark Hill’s riesling vines, planted in 1978, sit a couple of hundred metres higher than most of their Canberra district peers. The higher altitude means cooler, later ripening and, for the resultant wine, a notably different flavour and structure to those grown on lower, warmer sites. The aroma, reminiscent of some German rieslings, combines apple-like character with Australian riesling’s more familiar lime-like intensity. A richly textured palate delivers the same flavours, strung along a fine, assertive acid backbone.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 24 and 25 November 2015 in and the Canberra Times

Is push-button beer coming to a bar near you?

Press here for beer

Will self-serve beer taps in pubs prove to be all froth and novelty? Or will they become a permanent feature of the craft beer boom?

Taps Mooloolaba set the auto spigots flowing at a Sunshine Coast bar in 2014. And now its website,, seeks franchisees Australia wide, urging entrepreneurs to “join the latest and greatest innovation to hit the Australian hospitality industry”.

The existing Mooloolaba outlet provides a regular beer service from its eight-tap bar, and offers the same brews from an adjacent push-button, self-serve bar.

Patrons load credit onto an ‘iButton’ at the main bar, pop it into a magnetic holder on a tap and pour any quantity into a glass provided by the bar staff. The machine charges by the milliliter and deducts the charge from the credit.

The flexibility to pour even small tasting amounts could be its most practical feature.

Beer reviews

Pact Beer Co 42.2 Summer Ale 330ml 6-pack $25
Australian reigning amateur brewing champ, Canberra’s Kevin Hingston, turned professional this year with the launch of Pact Beer Co. His new summer ale, brewed and bottled in Melbourne, celebrates Canberra’s hottest recorded temperature. It offers exceptional character and refreshing bitterness for a beer of just 4.2 per cent alcohol.

Riverside 69 Summer Ale 330ml $4.99
Parramatta’s amber-gold coloured summer ale, pours cloudy, with an appealing, thick head. The aroma shows the fruit and citrus character of Australian galaxy hops, a note that follows through on the lively, rich, malty-fruity palate. Hops take over in the finish: refreshing and bitter, but with a (for me) too-resiny aftertaste.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 24 and 25 November 2015 in  and the Canberra Times

Wine review – Gallagher, Nick O’Leary, and Pitchfork

Gallagher Duet Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut $25

Greg Gallagher’s mastery of the bubble shows in this lovely aperitif style. He sources chardonnay from his own Murrumbateman vineyard and pinot from the Pankhurst vineyard, Hall. But it takes more than fruit alone to make a top sparkler. Gallagher blended wine from the 2013 vintage with smaller components disgorged from bottles of the 2012 and 2011 vintages. The blend then underwent a secondary fermentation and extended bottle ageing on the spent yeast cells, adding greatly to the wine’s dimension. The pale lemon-gold colour, small bubble and persistent mousse all point to the delicate, fine, aperitif-style bubbly that follows.

Nick O’Leary Canberra District Riesling 2015 $25
Nick O’Leary says the outstanding 2015 vintage coincided with the arrival of a new Italian whole-bunch press. Its ability to process four tons of grapes at a time, greater than the capacity of his old press, allowed him to bring grapes in precisely as they ripened, rather than queuing up. Seemingly little steps like this reduce compromises in the winemaking process and result in finer, better-flavoured wines. The pale colour wine offers big volumes of delicate, citrusy aromatics. An amazingly lively, intense palate reflects the aroma, providing dazzling current drinking and probably long-term cellaring prospects.

Pitchfork Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2015 $14.25–$16
Winemaker Michael Kerrigan praises the quality of Margaret River’s 2015 vintage, but laments the tiny quantities. He writes,We experienced some of the wildest, windiest weather for decades, unfortunately just when a number of grape varieties were flowering, and it is these flowers that when set become berries… seriously compromising fruit set with the result that the yields of 2015 were the lowest that I have experienced in 23 years of growing grapes in the South West. Ouch”. However, dry and balmy end to the season ensured lively, grassy, herbaceous flavours in this classic, slurpy Margaret River blend.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 21 and 22 November 2015 in  and the Canberra Times

Wine review – Lark Hill, Taylors, Seppelt, Stella Bella, Wilson, Penfolds

Lark Hill Gruner Veltliner 2015
Lark Hill vineyard, Lake George Escarpment, Canberra District, NSW

Lark Hill 2015 gruner veltliner surpasses the quality of its very good 2014, created in a very difficult season. In contrast, “2015 provided optimum vintage conditions and we picked higher than normal quantities of fruit, with incredible quality and intensity”, writes winemaker Chris Carpenter. The intensely flavoured, deeply textured white supports Carpenter’s excitement. A multi-dimensional expression of this Austrian variety, it tingles and thrills with lemon- and melon-rind -like tartness on a sensuous palate, with a subtle rasp of skin tannins and taut, invigorating acid.

Taylors Estate Shiraz 2014
Clare Valley, South Australia


Taylors cheap and cheery 2014 Estate Shiraz beat several big names – including $147 Wolf Blass Platinum Label and $58 Seppelt St Peters – to pull off first place in the 2015 Great Australian Shiraz Challenge. The award came on top of its trophy for best shiraz in the Perth Royal Wine Show and nine gold medals awarded at various events. The wine’s vivid fruit booms out of the glass and precisely predicts the juicy, soft palate that follows. Little wonder the judges ranked it so highly in a no-doubt daunting line up of robust young reds.

Seppelt Drumborg Pinot Noir 2013
Seppelt Drumborg vineyard, Henty, Victoria

The very cool Drumborg vineyard, located near the southwestern Victorian coast, struggled for decades after Karl Seppelt established it in 1964. From the early 1980s, Seppelt renovated and extended the vineyard. In 1986 and the mid nineties they added extensively to the original pinot plantings of 1966 and 1968. In the early 2000s, Emma Wood succeeded Ian McKenzie as winemaker, and in 2012 she passed the baton, via Adam Wadewitz, to Adam Carnaby. In the warm and sunny 2013 season, Carnaby made this idiosyncratic, exciting pinot: low in alcohol (12.5 per cent); vivid but pale in colour; then layered and strong in aroma and flavour. Delicate fruit sits in a matrix with spicy, savoury and stalky characters and firm, fine tannins. It should evolve in bottle for ten years or more.

Stella Bella Tempranillo 2013
Margaret River, Western Australia

Spanish red variety, tempranillo, finds a number of expressions in Australia, from full and fleshy to lean and tannic. Climate largely determines the style, though winemaking approach also contributes. Stella Bella sits toward the lighter, tighter end of the style spectrum, influenced by both of these factors. The bright, limpid colour points to the medium body confirmed in a fresh, taut palate that combines fruity and savoury elements. Fine tannins sweep across the palate giving bite to the dry finish.

Wilson Watervale Riesling 2015
Watervale, southern Clare Valley, South Australia

Wilson Watervale riesling won a gold medal the 2015 Royal Melbourne Wine Show. The judges were perhaps attracted by its bold and powerful style – a contrast to the often delicate, lime-like rieslings from this Clare Valley sub-region. However, the Wilsons say they sought vineyards “offering the most powerful aromatic wines”. Their preference shows in this highly aromatic white, with its full, intense flavour and delicious lemony dryness.

Penfolds Max’s Shiraz and Max’s Shiraz Cabernet 2013
Multi-region, South Australia
Shortly after launching its $450 The Max Schubert Cabernet Shiraz 2012, Penfolds released two reds under a new Max’s label. Like the more expensive wine, the new releases exploit the legacy of Grange creator, the late Max Schubert. Whether the new wines attract customers or simply confuse us all remains to be seen. The shiraz offers vibrant, full varietal fruit flavour in typically tannic but approachable Penfolds style. The blend does likewise, with the added grip of cabernet sauvignon. These are good, sturdy wines, but fully priced in the current market, even when discounted to $28.50.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 17 and 18 November 2015 in  and the Canberra Times

BentSpoke brewery plans cans

New outlet and canning line

Canberra’s BentSpoke brewery recently announced plans to open a second outlet and packaging plant in the industrial suburb of Mitchell.

Brewer and part owner Richard Watkins expects the new facility to open in the first half of 2016. It will operate as a brewery, bar and packaging hall.

Like a growing number of small brewers, Watkins aims to package his beer and cider in cans, citing their superior ability to keep beer fresh. The packaged beers and cider will be available at the new outlet, to be known as The Cannery. Watkins also aims to distribute the packaged product across Canberra.

BentSpoke will be the third Canberra brewer to offer packaged beer. In a one-off exercise in 2009, Richard Watkins brewed and bottled the Wig and Pen’s Kembrey Ale at the De Bortoli family’s Red Angus brewery, Griffith, NSW.

And in September this year Kevin Hingston introduced Pact Beer Co’s bottled beers to several Canberra outlets. Canberra-based Hingston brewed and bottled the beers in Melbourne but plans to build a sizeable brewery in Canberra.


Moo Brew Belgo 330ml $5.90
Moo Brew shares its Hobart site with Moorilla Estate and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). The brewery’s gold-amber expression of the Belgian wheat ale style leads with a luxurious white head and sweet, banana-like fruitiness. A creamy, fresh palate reflects the aroma. But an assertive hops bitterness distinguishes it from the Belgian style.

Riverside Brewing Co Eighty Eight Robust Porter 330ml $5.50
This porter comes from Parramatta, just a few kilometres upstream from where convict James Squire grew Australia’s first hops. Inky black and six per-cent alcohol, it blurs the line between porter and stout with its oppulent roasted-grain and molasses-like flavours. Roasted flavours overlap hops bitterness and the fresh, clean finish.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 17 and 18 November 2015 in  and the Canberra Times

Wine review – Domaine des Grosses Pierres, Mr Mick, Richmond Grove

Sancerre (Domaine des Grosses Pierres) 2013 $19–$28
This delightful unoaked French sauvignon blanc showed up in a masked tasting alongside oak-fermented 10X Mornington Peninsula Sauvignon Blanc 2014 ($28). They’re both comparatively delicate sauvignons, though poles apart in style. The 10X wine showed varietal tang and herbaceousness, overlaid with the rich texture and charry aroma derived from barrel fermentation. The wine from Sancerre, Loire Valley, on the other hand showed delicately herbal and tropical-fruit-like flavours, with great freshness and vivacity. The lightness and purity of the wine is preserved by a screwcap and therefore a safer buy than cork-sealed wines from sauvignon’s French heartland.

Mr Mick Clare Valley Novo Sangiovese 2015 $12.80–$17
Many years back the success of the light, fruity, young reds of France’s Beaujolais region fanned a brief craze for Australian lookalikes. Winemakers large and small plunged in. However, demand for both the French and local versions quickly receded and Australians reverted to drinking big, solid reds. The release of Tim Adams’ Novo Sangiovese 2015, sparked memories of those vibrant, light and fruity styles. It’s a wine to enjoy lightly chilled, with or without food, during the warm months. The light crimson colour, shimmering, summer-berry flavours and tart tannins provide easy, refreshing drinking.

Richmond Grove Limited Release McLaren Vale Shiraz 2012 $12.90–$22
The term “limited release” surely means little on a widely distributed, deeply discounted red from one of Australia’s largest wine groups, French-owned Pernod Ricard Australia. Not in question though is the wine’s quality, authenticity and sheer good value. It combines the bright, fresh, pure varietal flavours of modern winemaking, with the deeper savoury character of McLaren Vale shiraz. Oak maturation also adds to the savouriness, while building richness on the mid palate and mellowing the wine’s earthy tannins.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 14 and 15 November 2015 in  and the Canberra Times

Wine review – Hurley Vineyard, Chapel Hill, Yering Station, Richmond Grove, Domaine Christian Salmon, and Colvin Wines

Hurley Vineyard Hommage and Garamond Pinot Noirs 2013
Hommage and Garamond vineyards, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

$70 and $85
This review covers two Hurley Vineyard 2013 pinots – one from the Hommage block ($70), the other from Garamond block ($85). They were tasted masked, then, after unveiling, consumed over the next hour or so. Hommage shows a vibrant, ripe, pure and mouth-filling side of pinot – fragrant, generous and round, but with a good backbone of soft tannin. The more intense Garamond shows pinot’s tighter, leaner face, with stemmy and savoury characters woven in with the fruit, and quite firm tannins attenuating a long, satisfying finish.

Chapel Hill The Parson Shiraz 2014
McLaren Vale, South Australia
Winemakers Michael Fragos and Bryn Richards consistently turn out excellent McLaren Vale reds. While the best of these sell for around $75, the winemakers take their entry-level shiraz very seriously indeed. The Parson captures the essence of modern McLaren Vale shiraz. Bright, fresh and clean, it combines plummy varietal flavours, which dominate the wine now, with the Vale’s earthy savour and fine but grippy tannins. Bigger retailers discount the wine regularly, currently to $15.20 in six bottle lots. This is a bargain.

Yering Station Chardonnay 2013
Yering Station vineyards, Yarra Valley, Victoria
Where riesling largely expresses varietal fruit flavours, unadorned by winemaker inputs, the best chardonnays carry the winemaker’s thumbprint. In modern Australian winemaking that means aromas, flavours and textures introduced by fermentation and maturation in oak barrels – plus other factors, including whether grape solids are included in the ferment, the type of yeast (inoculated or indigenous) and whether malolactic fermentation occurs, either partially or fully. Yering Station builds on juicy, vivid grapefruit- and -nectarine-like varietal flavour with barrel-derived texture and funky aroma.

Richmond Grove Limited Release Riesling 2015
Watervale, Southern Clare Valley, South Australia

Way back in 1998, inspired by winemaker John Vickery, Richmond Grove led the modern charge into screw caps – arguably the wine industry’s greatest quality breakthrough in a generation. Vickery retired from Richmond Grove in 2009, but his winemaking style continues with this delicious riesling. From the warm 2015 vintage, it’s fuller and rounder than usual, but remains packed with Watervale’s signature lime-like aromas and flavours and brisk, refreshing finish.

Pouilly-Fume Close des Criots (Domaine Christian Salmon) 2013
Before Marlborough seized Australia’s sauvignon blanc market, what little of the variety Australians enjoyed came mainly from Pouilly-sur-Loire and Sancerre in France’s Loire Valley. This excellent Pouilly-Fume shows a shy, demure side of sauvignon, the antithesis of Marlborough’s uber-fruity style. Herbal and savoury varietal flavours come on a fresh, soft, supple, smooth-textured palate. Loire sauvignons can be green and austere, but this one offers ripe flavours and slips down easily. Available at Jim Murphy’s Airport Cellars. (Stocks of the 2013 vintage are low but the 2014 is being distributed).

Colvin Wines Sangiovese 2005
De Beyers Vineyard, Pokolbin, Hunter Valley, NSW
The Colvin family owns De Beyers vineyard, located near Tyrrells at the base of the Brokenback Ranges – a majestic backdrop to the lower Hunter Valley wine region. The family grows Hunter staples, semillon and shiraz, but added Tuscany’s sangiovese in 1995 and 1996. Though Tyrrells now make the wine, this early vintage was made by the late Trevor Drayton, a good friend of John Colvin. Ten years after vintage, the medium-bodied wine combines freshness and sweet fruit with the mellow flavours of age, a unique Hunter earthiness and tender tannins. It’s available in limited quantities, along with other vintages, at

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 10 and 11 November 2015 in and the Canberra Times

Craft beer winners

Richly flavoured, idiosyncratic beers

In late October, the Craft Beer Industry Association announced the winners of its 2015 Craft Beer Awards, a judging event open to Australia’s craft brewers.

The champion beer, Feral Brewing Co’s Watermelon Warhead, led a diverse line up of medal winners from the 468 beers entered by 92 brewers.

While mainstream beer drinking remains dominated by lagers, the craft show fielded mainly ales. They contributed 86 per cent of entries, compared to lagers, which made up just 14 per cent.

Richly flavoured and idiosyncratic brews filled the tasting benches, covering in descending order of entry numbers, pale ales (147), specialty ales (73), porters and stouts (49), IPAs (49), amber and dark ales (43), French and Belgian styles (21) and wheat ales (19).

The full catalogue of results, which makes a mouth-watering shopping list, is available at


Hop Dog Beer Works Cosmic Way 330ml $4.90
South Nowra brewer Hop Dog makes this in the American pale ale style, with hops as the main feature. In this case, New Zealand Motueka hops give an appealing aroma of tropical fruit. A sweet, toasty malty character complements the hops flavour on the palate, then hops flavour and bitterness take over the finish.

Cavalier Brewing Baltic Porter 330ml $9.50
Cavalier’s one-off, inky black, 7.7 per cent alcohol porter delivers the flavour intensity of vegemite, without the salt. The powerful flavours of roasted grains permeate a surprisingly light, fresh palate, completel subduing the high alcohol content, which can at times take over strong beers. The porter finishes pleasantly tart, tangy and bitter.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 10 and 11 November 2015 in and the Canberra Times

Wine review – Bay of Fires, Stella Bella, and Grant Burge

Bay of Fires Tasmania Chardonnay 2014 $33.25–$42
Bay of Fires is an offshoot of Hardy’s Tasmanian quest for high quality grapes suited to sparkling wine production. The quest soon extended to table wine, culminating in the establishment of the Bay of Fires brand, produced at Pipers River, Northern Tasmania. The 2014 combines handpicked fruit from Tasmania’s Coal River Valley, East Coast, and Derwent Valley sub-regions. Barrel fermented and matured, it offers an intense, full, varietal flavours, reminiscent of lemon and nectarine, bound up the in flavours and textures derived from oak barrels. The oak flavour is prominent in this vintage, though of high quality and deliciously complementary to the fruit.

Stella Bella Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2015 $20.90–$24
Stella Bella’s semillon and sauvignon blanc blend brings together fruit components from many parts of Margaret River. The winemaker aims to preserve the vibrant, fresh character of each variety by fermenting most of the components at low temperatures in stainless steel tanks. They then weave in greater depth of flavour and texture by fermenting about one third of the wine “in a combination of new and older oak”. However, the pungent, herbaceous fruit character of the two varieties remains at centre stage, making this a wine to enjoy young and fresh.

Grant Burge Fifth Generation Barossa Shiraz 2014 $14.20–$20
Early this year Accolade Wines, owner of Hardys, bought one of the Barossa Valley’s largest private brands, Grant Burge Wines. Grant Burge continues to supply the old firm with grapes from his extensive vineyard holdings. And his long-term head winemaker, Craig Stansborough remains in the job. Burge’s Fifth Generation 2014 provides delicious, drink-now pleasure at a fair price, especially when the big retailers discount it. The medium-bodied wine offers the pure, ripe, fruity flavours of Barossa shiraz, with soft, easy tannins.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 7 and 8 November 2015 in  and the Canberra Times

Wine review – Greywacke, Soumah, Jacob’s Creek, d’Arenberg, Huntington Estate, and Tulloch

Greywacke Pinot Noir 2013
Yarrum and other vineyards, southern valleys, Marlborough, New Zealand
Marlborough makes its red specialty, pinot noir, mostly in the light and fruity, drink-now style. However, the area’s cool, sunny climate suits the variety and the best equal those of more glamorous New Zealand pinot regions like Central Otago and Martinborough. Kevin Judd’s Greywacke is one of those. His beautifully harmonious, 2013 delivers deep, ripe, varietal flavours, meshed with the earthy, savoury, smoky flavours and silky texture of great pinot noir.

Soumah Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2014
Soumah vineyard, Gruyere, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Soumah 2014 topped the chardonnay classes at this year’s Royal Sydney Wine Show to win the chardonnay trophy, then the best-white-of-show trophy. The judges no doubt loved the completeness of a wine built on outstanding stone-fruit and grapefruit-like varietal flavour, with the extra dimension contributed by skilled winemaking: barrel fermentation with indigenous yeast, barrel maturation and partial malolactic fermentation (converting harsh malic acid to soft lactic acid). That all adds up to a full-bodied, smooth-textured, refined chardonnay, seasoned with barrel-derived flavours.

Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz 2014
Padthaway, Coonawarra and Bordertown, Limestone Coast, South Australia

On a quality basis, Jacob’s Creek Reserve justifies its full $18 recommended price. But why pay that when it’s perennially discounted, currently to $10.90 as part of a six-bottle buy? Lap it up and let the marketers worry about how they differentiate it from the standard Jacob’s Creek brand. The 2014 delivers pure, vibrant varietal fruit flavours on a medium-bodied, elegantly structured palate.

d’Arenberg d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache 2013
McLaren Vale, South Australia

d’Arry Osborn popularised this rich, warm blend of shiraz and grenache decades ago as d’Arenberg Burgundy. Varietal labelling from the early 1990s made no difference to its quality, style or long-term cellaring ability – the latter a rare thing in sub-$20 reds. The new release shows the extra body and depth of a very good vintage. It offers full-flavoured, bright fruit, deeply layered with firm, satisfying tannins – perhaps a touch firmer and more assertive than usual.

Huntington Estate Semillon 2015
Huntington Estate vineyard, Mudgee, NSW

Huntington Estate, founded in 1969 by Bob and Wendy Roberts, built a reputation as much for its music festival as for its long-lived red wines. Tim Stevens bought Huntington a decade ago and continues making wine in the styles established by Roberts. Stevens’ new semillon, weighing in at just 11.7 per cent alcohol, provides light, lemony, juicy flavours on a soft, drink-now palate. Available at

Tulloch Pokolbin Dry Red Shiraz 2014
Pokolbin, Lower Hunter Valley, NSW
There’s a paradox in Hunter shiraz: a warm to hot region this far north ought to make ink-deep, high-alcohol, big and tannic wines. Instead it makes limpid, medium bodied shiraz of moderate alcohol (13.5 per cent), with soft, silky tannins. The Tulloch family’s 2014, a great example of the regional style, sits light and bright on the palate, with fruit flavours reminiscent of red summer berries. Soft tannins weave through the fruit and together they create a well balanced, satisfying but gentle red. It’s enjoyable now, but a few years’ bottle age should see the Hunter’s earthy characters come into the picture.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 3 and 4 November 2015 in and the Canberra Times