Wine review – Clonakilla, Summerhill Road, McWilliams Tumbarumba, Long Rail Gully

Clonakilla Shiraz ViognierClonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2015
Clonakilla vineyard, Murrumbateman, Canberra District

Even among all the sensational 2015 vintage Canberra shirazes, Clonakilla’s flagship shiraz viognier retains its number one position. Three times in the past four months it topped tastings I attended. Away from the austerity of the tasting bench, it seduced and thrilled recently at Aubergine Restaurant, Griffith, Canberra. Chef Ben Willis’s succulent lamb rump, broad beans, black garlic and celtuce heightened the wine’s fragrance and supple, juicy, depth. And the wine lifted the food in one of the most delicious wine–food combos imaginable.

Summerhill Roadl rieslingSummerhill Road Riesling 2016
Summerhill Road vineyard, Lake George Escarpment, Canberra District
Twenty-three of 34 2016 dry rieslings won medals at the recent Canberra regional wine show. One of the silver medallists, Summerhill Road, comes from a vineyard on the Lake George Escarpment, about 11km north-west of Bungendore as the crow flies. The appealing young riesling combines floral and lemony varietal aroma. The soft but lively, fresh palate reflects the aroma. It finishes dry and pleasantly tart.

McWilliam's Appellation Tumbarumba ChardonnayMcWilliams Appellation Series Chardonnay 2015
Tumbarumba, NSW
In the 2016 Canberra regional wine show, the Tumbarumba region earned 14 of the 17 medals awarded in a class of 35 2015-vintage chardonnays. Little wonder Canberra winemakers line up to buy fruit from the region. McWilliams won seven of those medals, including a gold for this outstanding example of modern, barrel-fermented chardonnay. It’s bright, fresh with deliciously citrus- and nectarine-like varietal flavour, smooth texture and dry, zesty finish.

Long Rail Gully Pinot GrisLong Rail Gully Pinot Gris 2016
Long Rail Gully vineyard, Murrumbateman, Canberra District
Winemaker Richard Parker makes the Canberra specialties, shiraz and riesling, but also makes convincing pinot noir and pinot gris – varieties generally associated with cooler growing areas than Canberra. His new vintage pinot gris provides fuller-bodied, grippier drinking than, say, riesling, with a round, rich palate, smooth texture and a fresh, pear-like aftertaste. The extra weight and texture comes from barrel-fermentation and ageing of a portion of the blend.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published 8 November 2016 in the Canberra Times