Wine review – Tyrrell’s and Chrismont

Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley Chardonnay 2014 $18.50–$24
Tyrrell’s new Hunter Valley range – comprising chardonnay, semillon and shiraz – gives us high quality regional specialties at keen prices. They’re already being discounted to $18.50, well below the recommended price of $24 a bottle. The first chardonnay in the range, from the excellent 2014 vintage, offers the Hunter’s generous, round varietal flavours of citrus and melon. Fermentation and maturation in French oak barriques on spent yeast cells gives the wine a pleasing textural richness and subtle spicy, nutty flavours that enhance the fruit. It all adds up to a sophisticated, easy drinking chardonnay.

Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley Shiraz 2013 $18.50–$24
Releasing his new Hunter Valley range, Bruce Tyrrell asked how important region is when Australians make wine-buying decisions. He said, “A study by Wine Intelligence found that 55 per cent of Australian wine drinkers choose region to be the number one influencer” when they decide what to buy. The same study pointed to the Hunter Valley, with three million visitors a year, as the number one region for awareness. Perhaps there’s a Sydney bias in the survey. But who cares as 2013 shiraz really captures the idiosyncratic Hunter style: limpid and medium bodied with sweet cut with savoury, spicy flavours, finishing dry and soft.

Chrismont La Zona King Valley Barbera 2012 $26
Although we associate barbera with Piedmont, it apparently bears little relationship to other long-established varieties in the region. This suggests it may be a relative newcomer to the area, say Jancis Robinson and Jose Vouillamoz in Wine Grapes. Meanwhile, the variety adapted readily to Australian conditions, including in Arnie Pizzini’s Chrismont vineyard in Victoria’s King Valley. Like the Italian originals, Pizzini’s shows the variety’s striking purple-rimmed colour. The flavour, reminiscent of summer berries, comes wrapped in earthy, savoury tannins and cut through with a pleasantly tart acidity – another distinctive barbera trait.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 18 and 19 April 2015 in and the Canberra Times