Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Clare Valley Riesling 2015 $20.89–$22
Clare Valley rieslings are in general notably rounder and softer than those from the Canberra region. But Clare’s style spectrum includes leaner, more acidic styles from cooler parts of the valley. This can be seen especially in wines where the winemaker chooses to ferment the wine dry, leaving little or no residual sugar to offset the acidity. The Lodge Hill is one of those. It comes from a Clare high point (480 metres) and contains an undetectable 2.7 grams per litre of sugar. The wine’s fine but tart, lemony acidity accentuates the citrus varietal flavour and gives an incredibly refreshing, dry finish.
Tyrrell’s Moon Mountain Hunter Valley Chardonnay 2014 $15.20–$25
At the discounted price close to $15 a bottle, Moon Mountain sits among the very best value-for-money Australian chardonnays. A true regional-varietal specialty, it delivers the full, ripe flavour and softness of Hunter chardonnay, but with a vivacity, finesse and complexity achieved by few winemakers. Fruit remains the driving force and appeal of the wine. But practised use of new and older 225-litre and 500-litre French oak barrels, including some maturation on yeast lees, adds the extra dimension that makes the difference between good and exceptional wine. This is just lovely.
Yalumba Patchwork Barossa Shiraz 2013 $18.05–$22
Yalumba’s Patchwork shiraz comprises fruit parcels from many sites sprinkled around the Barossa Valley and Eden Valley foothills. The winemakers say this gives a wide representation of Barossa shiraz – based on growing-season heat, soil and vine-row orientation. The maker also uses a variety of fermentation vessels, both indigenous and cultured yeast. Maturation takes place in a broad combination of different oak types and ages. The result is a very ripe and lively shiraz, with slightly firmer than normal tannin and noticeable alcoholic heat in the finish.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published 6 and 7 February 2016 in goodfood.com.au and the Canberra Times