Capital Wines Gundaroo Vineyard Riesling 2014 $28
Gundaroo, Canberra District, NSW
In 1998, Mark and Jennie Moonie planted Geisenheim clones of riesling on a north-facing, protected slope at Gundaroo. They sold the vineyard to Ruth and Steve Lambert in 2004. But in 2013, by now the owners of Capital Wines, they bought grapes from the vineyard for a special single-vineyard riesling – a wine of outstanding quality. The second vintage, from the 2014 vintage, shows similar class, with its delicate, alluring perfume and intense, Germanic palate. This winner of four trophies is pure and beautiful riesling of a very high order.
Eddystone Point Pinot Noir 2011 $25.70–$30
Derwent Valley, Coal River Valley and East Coast, Tasmania
Eddystone Point, a new brand, comes from Accolade Wines’ Bay of Fires winery, Tasmania. This is the winery behind the Tasmanian components of Eileen Hardy Pinot Noir, one of Australia’s finest pinots, and the outstanding Bay of Fires Pinot Noir. Eddystone gives us the Tasmania pinot experience, from an expert team, at a more modest price. Tasted on a number of occasions, it captures pinot’s vibrant red berry flavours but also provides much of the deeper, more savoury and silky textured elements of the variety.
Moores Hill Tasmania Pinot Noir 2013 $34
Tamar Valley, Tasmania
Some kind soul send a bunch of impressive Tasmanian pinot noirs, including Moores Hill and Eddystone Point reviewed today. In the warm 2013 vintage, Moores Hill, run by Julian Allport, Fiona Weller and Lance Weller, produced a fuller version of pinot than the Eddystone. Pure, ripe-cherry-like varietal aromas and flavours gave the wine instant appeal. Behind the fruit lay a satisfying, smooth tannin structure and deeper, earthier pinot characters.
Grant Burge Summers Chardonnay 2013 $28
Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Australia’s current golden age of chardonnay provides us with an extraordinary diversity of styles. Almost universally, the best are fermented in oak barrels and then matured in contact with spent yeast cells. The variations on this approach – combined with the enormous range of sites, viticultural practices and clonal selection – throws up a thousand shades of chardonnay. Grant Burge’s sits in a comfort zone – a complex wine built on vibrant fruit, subtly backed by the barrel influence – but without pushing the limits, as some do, on yeast-derived, oak, or other winemaker inputs. It’s simply a pleasure to drink.
Bleasdale Second Innings Malbec 2012 $15–$22
Langhorne Creek, South Australia
In a promotional poster for its three 2012 vintage malbecs, Bleasdale neatly sums up the character of the variety as “perfumed as pinot noir, mid-palate of shiraz and structure like cabernet” – or for those not up on wine lore, a perfumed red with a fleshy, fruity palate and firm, dry finish. The company claims to crush 10 per cent of Australia’s malbec in a winery accounting for 0.1 per cent of the nation’s total crush. Bleasdale entry-level malbec offers alluring ripe-plum aromas and a full, fleshy palate but through with soft, smooth tannins.
Bleasdale Double Take Malbec 2012 $65
Langhorne Creek, South Australia
Winemaker Paul Hotker reckons Langhorne Creek’s makes its best malbecs in years like 2012 when cool night breezes come in from a full Lake Alexandrina. A step up from “Second Innings” malbec is the more opulent, powerful $35 “Generations” version. And at the top of the pile, made only in outstanding years, comes the cellar door only “Double Take” – a deep and brooding wine of intense fruit flavours, cut through with persistent, firm tannins. This is one for long-term cellaring, though the strong tannins would disappear, leaving only fruit, if enjoyed with a big, juicy steak. (Available only at bleasdale.com.au).
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 3 and 4 February 2015 in Fairfax digital media and the Canberra Times