Wine review – Kaiora Bay, St John’s Road and Port Phillip Estate

Kaiora Bay Reserve Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013 $14.99
Marlborough, New Zealand’s biggest, most valuable wine region, accounts for a remarkable $NZ 1 billion of the country’s $NZ 1.3 billion wine exports. Sauvignon blanc makes up 86 per cent of Marlborough’s wine production, while pinot noir, the number two variety, claims only six per cent. Several degrees south of Marlborough in Central Otago, pinot noir accounts for 70 per cent of vine plantings, albeit on a smaller scale than Marlborough. The region makes a comparatively robust pinot style, with savoury and dark-fruit varietal flavours and quite strong tannins. Aldi’s own label provides a sound introduction to the style at a fair price.

St John’s Road Motley Bunch Barossa Valley GSM 2013 $18–$22
Barossa winemaker Phil Lehmann and marketer Jonathon Hesketh collaborate on a number of wine labels, including Hesketh and St John’s Road. In Motley Bunch they bring together three time-proven Barossa varieties, grenache, shiraz and mataro (aka mourvedre). The inviting blend delivers the bright, ripe, juicy flavours of the warm 2013 vintage. Grenache provides musk-like high notes and plush fruit; shiraz contributes body, colour and structure; and mataro brings savoury character and firm tannins. The three work together to produce wonderful warm, earthy, fruity drinking pleasure.

Port Phillip Estate Mornington Peninsula Sauvignon 2014 $26
Marlborough New Zealand produces vast quantities of dazzling, fresh sauvignon blanc with consummate ease. Elsewhere the variety tends to make leaner wine styles, requiring careful input from winemakers to put a bit of meat on the bone. On the Mornington Peninsula, Sandro Mosel applies a couple of winemaking tricks to the local grapes and comes up with a most enjoyable drink. Spontaneous fermentation with ambient yeasts, fermentation of a portion in old oak barrels, and several months’ maturation on spent yeast cells all contribute to aroma, flavour and, most of all, texture. The result: a fleshy, smooth textured sauvignon of outstanding quality.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 28 March 2015 in and 29 March in the Canberra Times