Wine review – Swinging Bridge, Angullong, Redman, Hahndorf Hill, Seppelt and Santa Margherita

Swinging Bridge Mrs Payten Chardonnay 2013
Balmoral vineyard, Orange, NSW

With an altitude range of something like 500 metres, the Orange region, not surprisingly produces a spectrum of wine styles. Chardonnay performs well in the cooler sites, in this instance the Balmoral vineyard at 870 metres. The wine topped its class at the 2014 Orange wine show and went on to win trophies as best chardonnay, best white and best wine of the show. Winemaker Tom Ward captured the delicious grapefruit- and nectarine-like varietal flavour of cool-grown chardonnay, with the added textures and subtle flavours derived from maturation in high-quality oak. (Available at

Angullong Shiraz 2013
Angullong vineyard, Orange, NSW

In contrast to the high-altitude Swinging Bridge Orange chardonnay reviewed today, Angullong’s shiraz comes from the lower, warmer edge of the Orange district. The 220-hectare vineyard varies between 580 and 620 metres. Since the regional boundary includes only vineyards at 600 metres or above, Angullong literally rolls in and out of the Orange region – a bizarre situation, but one that at least acknowledges the primacy of growing temperatures in determining wine styles. The shiraz shows the generosity of a warm and benign season in a still-cool climate. The brilliant, crimson-rimmed colour and vibrant summer-berry flavours make compelling, medium bodied drinking right now.

Redman Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Redman vineyards, northern Coonawarra, South Australia

Bill Redman arrived in Coonawarra in 1901, just 10 years after the first vines had been planted in the area. In 1908, after a period working for John Riddoch, Redman struck out on his own. I still hold haunting memories of an ethereal and lovely, 1919 vintage Coonawarra red, thought to have been made by Redman. His son, Owen joined the business in 1937 and in 1952 the family founded Rouge Homme wines. They sold this to Lindemans in 1965 but established Redmans, releasing the first wine under the label in1966. Owen Redman’s sons and their children continue to run the vineyards and winery today. Their 2012 cabernet sauvignon, a pure expression of the Coonawarra style, displays pure, ripe-berry varietal character with firm, fine cabernet tannins.

Hahndorf Hill Winery Cru Gruner Veltliner 2014
Hahndorf Hill vineyard, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

Hahndorf Hill owners Larry Jacobs and Marc Dobson identified a fit between Austria’s late-ripening gruner veltliner and their elevated, continental-climate vineyard site in the Adelaide Hills. In Austria, they write, “vignerons all place huge emphasis on one crucial quality-defining factor – significant diurnal variation… the combination of good ripening days and cold nights that allows for an extended growing season… coaxing out its famously pure flavours and aromatics”. Jacobs and Dobson now have a run of successful gruner’s behind them. The latest citrus-like aromas and a full, dazzling-fresh, dry palate – a bit like a full-bodied riesling, but with a different flavour and a pleasant bite in the finish.

Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz 2010
Grampians, Heathcote and Bendigo, Victoria

Seppelt developed and popularised Australia’s love-it or hate-it sparkling shiraz style from its Great Western Cellars, western Victoria. Some, like me, tend to see it as a waste of good shiraz. Others love the idea – and flavour – of a real red with bubbles and a lick of balancing sugar. They also like the idea of a red wine you can chill and drink in hot weather. The wine begins as a regular shiraz, mellowed in oak casks and steel tanks for a short time, before being undergoing secondary fermentation to produce the bubbles. The 2010 looked good at a recent tasting, and I understand the 2011 and 2012 vintages are also in the market.

Santa Margherita Valdobiaddene Prosecco Superiore 52 2013

Woolworths’ Italian import (sold through its Dan Murphy and BWS outlets) looked good in a pre-Christmas sparkling tasting. Its light body (11.5 per cent alcohol) and clean, fresh, fruitiness provided refreshing, undemanding drinking. A creamy, mouth pleasing texture, bone-dry finish and typical Italian tartness added to the appeal. It makes no pretence to be anything other than a light and easy drinking sparkler to enjoy now. Made from the prosecco grape, it comes from Valdobiaddene in the northern Veneto region.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published:

  • 13 January 2015 in the
  • 14 January 2015 in the Canberra Times