Wine review – Houghton, Willem Kurt and Ten Minutes by Tractor

Houghton Frankland River Crofters Shiraz 2013
Crofters won a gold medal in the same 2014 National Wine Show of Australia shiraz class topped by Canberra’s Lerida Estate Shiraz Viognier 2013 ($49.95). Just half a point out of 60 (55.5 versus 56) separated the two wines. The quality gap, however, is greater than that slim margin suggests – highlighting what a “bumpkin calculus” wine scores can be. If the Houghton wine lacks the finesse of the Lerida, it offers – at one-third the price – pure drinking pleasure with its sweet, perfumed aroma, vibrant palate and fairly solid, savoury tannins, typical of Frankland River.

Willem Kurt Alpine Valleys Vermentino 2014 $25
If you’re visiting Beechworth, Victoria, Mike and Heather Allen’s Press Room tapas bar offers savour food and a well-selected range of local and Spanish wines. We enjoyed several by-the-glass wines, including this very good vermentino, made by Daniel Balzer. Originally from Sardinia, the Liguria coast and Corsica, the variety seems well suited to Australia’s warm, dry conditions – in this case from the north-eastern Victorian Alpine Valleys region. Willem Kurt is a savoury, tangy, pleasantly tart, lighter bodied dry white, well suited to savoury food. (Available at

Ten Minutes by Tractor 10X Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay 2013 $13
An Australia day lunch at Ten Minutes by Tractor winery confirmed the great beauty of the company’s wines – and their ageing ability. The superb, maturing Wallis Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 and Judd Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 thrilled with every mouthful; and both should continue to evolve for many years yet. And in the cellar door area, 10X Chardonnay 2013, from the Osborn, Judd and McCutcheon vineyards, displays the flavours of a warm vintage in a cool climate. Generous melon and white-peach-like flavours, with a brisk, grapefruit-like acidity lie at the centre of this richly textured barrel-fermented dry white.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 8 February 2015 in the Canberra Times and on Fairfax digital sites.