Tasting Victoria’s wine spectrum, from the cool Yarra to hot Rutherglen

Oakridge Over the Shoulder Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2014 $18.10–$22
Just-released Oakridge 2014 rates among the top few Australian chardonnays anywhere near $20 in price. There’s a thrill in every sip, underpinned by the most delicious fruit: imagine fresh, ripe nectarine with the added briskness of lemon or grapefruit juice. But there’s more to a really good wine than just the fruit. In this instance fermentation in oak barrels and maturation on spent yeast cells added a complementary patina of flavours and textures. These elements are the sauce to the main ingredient, fruit, which must always remain at centre. Congratulations to the chef, David Bicknell.

Oakridge Over the Shoulder Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2014 $18.10–$22
Oakridge Over the Shoulder pinot, like the chardonnay, offers most of the thrills of the variety at a fair price. However, where the chardonnay drinks beautifully now, the pinot, despite its rampant and lovely fruit, needs a year’s bottle age to move from fruitiness to what pinotphiles call “pinosity”. This is where the many elements of the wine come together as a fragrant, silky, seductive, satisfying whole. Right now the bright, ripe, pure varietal flavour hovers above the deeper savoury elements waiting to push through – which they did in the five days we spent with our bottle.

Anderson Verrier Rutherglen Durif Shiraz 2008 $32.50
Based largely on wines made from the durif grape, Rutherglen’s burly reds, have been called wines for heroes. Howard and Christobelle Anderson’s blend, from their unirrigated vineyard, fits the regional durif stereotype, mollified by the addition of shiraz. A deep and brooding winter warmer, it offers very ripe, earthy, porty aromas and flavours, fleshy mid palate, sturdy (but not hard) tannins and mellow bottle age. Durif, by the way, is an accidental cross of shiraz and peloursin, discovered in Montpellier, France, in 1880 by Francois Durif and imported to Australia by Francois de Castella in 1908.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 22 and 23 August 2015 in goodfood.com.au and the Canberra Times