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