Wine review – Turkey Flat, Stefano Lubiana, Mitchell, Vin Vale by Shingleback and Penfolds

Turkey Flat Mataro 2014 $32
Turkey Flat vineyard, Barossa Valley, South Australia

In Spain, where it originated, this late ripening variety is known as monastrell. The French call it mourvedre. In the Barossa most winemakers know it as mataro, though mourvedre gets a nod at times. And at Turkey Flat, writes owner Christie Schulz, “We originally referred to [it] as mataro and for unknown reasons we changed to mourvedre. After several years of customers struggling with the pronunciation we have decided to revert to mataro”. The name rolls off the tongue as easily as the 2014 slips down the throat. It’s a big, jolly wine, bulging with juicy, ripe fruit flavours, with undertones of spice and earth. Fine but firm tannins complete a seductive, unique and complete red.

Stefano Lubiana Estate Chardonnay $48
Lubiana vineyard, Granton, Derwent Valley, Tasmania

In their sheer luscious drinkability, Lubiana wines reflect the loving care lavished on them by Steve and Monique Lubiana. Their latest chardonnay, from the small 2012 vintage, seamlessly combines the intense grapefruit- and nectarine-like varietal flavours of cool-grown chardonnay with the textural richness derived from spontaneous fermentation and maturation in oak barrels. Once you start drinking this wine, you simply can’t stop. The unique vineyard site, surrounded on three sides by water, lies at around 43-degrees south, just a short drive from Hobart. The Lubianas converted to organic management some years back and now follow biodynamic principles in the vineyard and winemaking. But I think it’s the loving care that really makes the difference.

Mitchell Sevenhill Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 $24.70–$27
Mitchell vineyard, Sevenhill, Clare Valley, South Australia

In a sea of soft, drink-now shiraz, high quality cabernet sauvignon stands out for its mouth-gripping tannins. It’s not a wine to drink on its own, but with high-protein food, preferably roasted or grilled beef or lamb. Protein tames the tannins, which purr across the palate, marrying with the juicy meat and wine flavours. Even after eight years, Mitchell’s elegant wine retains cabernet’s signature tannins, sufficiently tamed to enjoy with succulent red meat. It’s a lean, taut, though flavoursome style far removed from the fleshier cabernets we see from, say, Langhorne Creek.

Vin Vale by Shingleback Shiraz 2013 $13–$15
Davey Estate vineyard, Friends and Neighbours vineyard, McLaren Vale, South Australia

Vin Vale is a label exclusive to Coles. They offer it in their Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice outlets and, at the time of writing, Vintage Cellars at $12.99 (case price) was undercutting 1st Choice’s $13.30. Down the road, archrival Woolworths offered its equivalent Red Knot Shiraz 2013, from the same producer, at an even cheaper $12.40 as part of a six-bottle buy. From a drinker’s viewpoint, it’s a hoot to see the big guys competing away at least part of the bigger profits exclusive labels are meant to deliver. Vin Vale and Red Knot offer the rich, fruity-savoury delights of McLaren Vale shiraz at a fair price.

Mitchell Riesling 2014 $19–$22
Mitchell vineyard, Watervale, Clare Valley, South Australia

Jane and Andrew Mitchell offer a unique take on riesling, well removed from the majority of styles found on retail shelves. Andrew says, “This is our ‘natural’ wine”, fermented spontaneously to complete dryness with ambient yeasts and with no acid adjustment – a rare achievement in the warm Clare Valley. The spontaneous ferment, and several months’ maturation on spent yeast cells, mutes some of riesling’s aromatic high notes while leaving the intense, citrusy varietal flavour intact. The process also adds a deliciously rich texture to the wine. The result: a rounded mouth-caressing riesling with concentrated flavours and crisp, bone-dry finish.

Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2013 $35.20–$40
Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale Clare Valley and Langhorne Creek, South Australia

Bin 28, first made in 1959 from shiraz grown in Penfolds’ Kalimna vineyard in the north-western Barossa, is today a multi-region South Australian blend. While it’s less burly and chunky as a young wine than its forebears, it remains a rich, ripe and satisfying expression of warm-grown shiraz. The 2013 vintage offers particularly lovely, supple fruit flavours, reminiscent of ripe, black, cherries. It’s loaded with ripe, soft tannins which add savoury notes and a satisfying chewy texture. Our bottle remained drinkable for a week after opening, suggesting very good cellaring prospect.

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