Yering Station Yarra Valley Village Chardonnay 2012 $25
Sauvignon blanc remains Australia’s most consumed white wine. But Australian vignerons make only about a quarter as much sauvignon as they do chardonnay, which remains by far our number one homegrown white variety. Australian wineries take in around 400 thousand tonnes a year of chardonnay grapes, equivalent to about 30 million dozen bottles of wine. Much of this is exported in bulk or bottle. However, we drink most of the good stuff, including gems like the Rathbone family’s Yering Station Village 2012. At three years’ age it portrays the fresh, delicious, deeply layered flavour of elegant, cool-grown oak-fermented and -matured chardonnay.
Campbells of Rutherglen Bobbie Burns Shiraz 2013 $19.95–$22
Australian shiraz covers a broad style spectrum, determined largely by climate – from limpid, supremely elegant, cool-grown versions, structured like pinot noir, to black and burly, gum-crunching monsters, grown in hot conditions. Bobbie Burns comes from one of those regions, Rutherglen. But the Campbell family tames the monster, without losing the distinctive port-like ripeness, full body and abundant tannins. Fine -tuning of the style over the years means a Bobbie Burns of bright fruit aromas and flavours, albeit very ripe, mingled with rustic but not rough tannins. The wine has a proven ability to evolve over many years in the cellar – a rare distinction in reds at this price.
Smith and Hooper Wrattonbully Merlot 2013 $16.15–$21
The Wrattonbully region lies to the north and east of Coonawarra on South Australia’s Limestone Coast. Planting in the region exploded from the early to mid nineties during an export-led red-wine boom. Companies were attracted by Wrattonbully’s lower land prices and climatic similarity to well-established Coonawarra. Twenty years on, the region contributes to many of Australia’s popular multi-region wines and top-shelf reds, while slowly building its own identity. Smith and Hooper (part of the Hill-Smith and Yalumba empire) capture true merlot character in this wine: ripe, plummy and herbal flavours, medium body, elegant structure and grippy but fine tannins.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 11 and 12 July 2015 in goodfood.com.au and the Canberra Times