Wine review – Wolf Blass, John Duval and Aldi Neve

Wolf Blass Original Collection McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013 $20
We bought this satisfying McLaren Vale red at BWS, Broome, packed it into the back of our Hilux and headed off for the Gibb River Road. It survived endless corrugations and finally, at the 3,200-square-kilometre Mornington Wilderness Sanctuary, emerged red-dusty and delicious onto the camp table. After a hot day, relieved by swims in the Fitzroy and Adcock Rivers, Wolfie’s shiraz warmed our cool Kimberley night. It delivered the generous, ripe flavours of McLaren Vale shiraz in an excellent season – complete with the region’s distinctive savouriness and silky, seductive tannins big winemaking companies manage so adeptly.

John Duval Plexus Barossa Valley White 2014 $25–$30
John Duval’s Plexus combines the Rhone Valley white varieties, marsanne, roussanne and viognier. The exuberant viognier, with its at times in-your-face apricot-like flavours, comprises just 13 per cent of the blend. The more demure marsanne and roussanne therefore lend the wine some restraint – albeit in a particularly fruity style in the 2014 vintage. The vibrant, upfront fruit gives the wine immediate appeal. But oak fermentation and maturation of part of the blend contributes a smooth texture and savouriness – giving it even greater appeal and setting it apart from our usual white menu of riesling, semillon, chardonnay or sauvignon blanc.

Neve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 (Aldi) $7.99
German chain Aldi continues to apply the blow torch to its competitors’ nether regions with amazingly well targeted, low priced, high quality wines like this. You can hear Coles and Woolies squealing as, at last, the German upstart applies real margin-pinching competition to Australia’s east coast. The chain’s Neve Marlborough 2013 brings us the previously unthinkable – drinkable pinot at $8 a bottle. The pinot grape requires modest yields and a cool climate to produce its distinctive, lighter bodied reds – with Marlborough the frontrunner for this increasingly popular style. Neve offers simple, light, fresh, true varietal flavours.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 23 June and 5 July in and the Canberra Times