Wine review – Wynns Coonawarra Estate, Farr, Pizzini, Keller, Smith and Hooper, and Yalumba

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Shiraz 2013
Coonawarra, South Australia
Wynns’ top-end reds, due for release on 5 August, include this outstanding vintage of Black Label Shiraz. A relative newcomer to Wynns’ line-up, Black Label is the shiraz equivalent, in price and quality, to the legendary Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon, made continuously since 1954. The 2013 vintage displays Coonawarra’s distinctive strength with elegance – where intense fruit and strong tannins meld seamlessly in a wine of great finesse. Our bottle drank well and evolved without degradation for four days after opening, suggesting a long cellaring life.

Viognier by Farr 2013
Farr family vineyards, Geelong, Victoria


Is a wine handcrafted if it’s foot stomped, like the Farr family’s exotic, delicious viognier? The variety all too easily makes flat and flabby wines, oozing with strong apricot-like flavours. But in this instance cool growing conditions and early harvesting mean a more restrained style. The Farr wine retains a hint of varietal apricot character in its silky, rich palate, but the flavour leans more to ginger, seen in the finest examples of the variety. Barrel fermentation and maturation contributed to the wine’s plush texture.

Pizzini Pietra Rossa Sangiovese
Pizzini vineyards, King Valley, Victoria

Pietra Rossa, the new name for Pizzini’s original sangiovese, distinguishes it from four other reds and a rosé they now make from the variety. In the warm, dry 2013 season Pietra Rossa reveals sangiovese’s deep, savoury characters, reminiscent of black olives, soy and tobacco. These savoury elements mingle on the palate with sour-cherry-like fruit flavours and the variety’s firm, drying tannins.

Keller von der Fels Riesling Trocken 2014
Florsheim-Dalsheim, Rheinhessen, Germany

Riesling’s motherland shows its class with this pale, delicate, dry beauty. Germany’s riesling reputation rests largely on sweeter wines produced along the Rhine and Mosel rivers. However, dry (trocken) rieslings like Keller’s can be equally impressive. A pale and highly aromatic wine, it shimmers with vibrant fruit flavours on a palate that combines power and rich texture with supreme delicacy. One bottle won’t be enough. Contact the importer,, for stockists.

Smith and Hooper Pinot Grigio 2014
Wrattonbully, South Australia
Whether called by the French name, pinot gris, or the Italian pinot grigio, this pink-grey version of the noble pinot grape tends to make bland, non-descript wine. However, in the right climate, with attentive vineyard care and winemaking, it can rise above the ordinary, as it does in Smith and Hooper’s version. A spontaneous fermentation on grape solids, followed by six months’ maturation on spent yeast cells, gave the wine a rich texture. This texture, combined with delicate pear-like varietal flavour, gives the wine considerable appeal.

Yalumba Galway Vintage Malbec 2012
Barossa Valley, South Australia
It all began with Yalumba Galway “Claret” back in 1943. And recently the Yalumba marketers extended the brand with the release of this very fruity Barossa malbec. The wine capture’s malbec’s plummy perfume and flavour on a medium bodied, moderately tannic palate. It’s all about purity of fruit flavour, with little sign of winemaker add-ons. Drink now.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 14 and 15 July 2015 in and the Canberra Times