Wine review – Moppity Vineyards, Coldstream Hills, Tellurian, Chapel Hill, Tyrrell’s

Moppity Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 2015 – Wine of the week
Moppity vineyards, Tumbarumba, NSW
Where chardonnay makes decent but not exciting wines at Moppity’s Hilltops vineyard, in higher, cooler Tumbarumba it’s a happier story. Up here, the grapes ripen fully with intense flavours and high natural acidity. Varietal flavours of grapefruit and nectarine reflect the cool climate, while high acidity gives the wine a brisk, vigorous character and accentuates its flavours. Fermentation and maturation in oak casks adds texture and subtle background flavours to an exciting, full-flavoured, amazingly fresh, zesty chardonnay capable of cellaring.

Moppity Vineyards Lock and Key Reserve Tempranillo 2015
Moppity vineyards, Hilltops, NSW
With little demand for Hilltops semillon and chardonnay, Moppity vineyard owners Jason and Alicia Brown grafted the vines over to three clones of the Spanish red variety tempranillo. A couple of vintages on we can already see the variety suits the elevated Hilltops region. The brilliantly crimson-rimmed 2015 vintage combines vibrant fruit characters, reminiscent of blueberry and blackcurrant, with deeper black-olive-like savoury characters. On the medium-bodied palate, vivid fruit mixes with tempranillo’s assertive tannins to give a pleasing fruity–savoury flavour and firm, dry finish.

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2015
Lower and upper Yarra Valley, Victoria
Well-known author James Halliday founded Coldstream Hills in the 1980s. Though the winery now belongs to Treasury Wine Estates, Halliday lives next door and maintains a keen interest in the wines, made by Andrew Fleming. In a vertical tasting of pinots at the winery last year, older Coldstream wines, especially the reserve bottlings, proved their ageing ability, while the younger wines showed the continuation of a sophisticated style. The 2015 shows the fruit depth of mature vineyards, clear varietal flavour definition and an overall harmony and complexity, partly based on winemaking techniques, including the inclusion of whole bunches in the fermentation.

Tellurian Nero d’Avola 2015
Heathcote, Victoria

Jancis Robinson says Sicily’s most widely planted red variety, nero d’Avola, is most likely a native of the island and was first described there in 1696 by a local botanist. The heat loving variety generally produces dark-coloured, tannic reds, once widely used to bolster paler wines. Several Australian vignerons now grow nero d’Avola. Tellurian’s version shows us a lighter coloured, medium-bodied version of the variety. The palate combines black-cherry and savoury flavours, bound up in the variety’s assertive tannins that give a burly grip and dryness to the finish.

Chapel Hill The Parson Shiraz 2015
McLaren Vale, South Australia

Indicative of the competitive wine market, the price of Chapel Hill’s excellent shiraz still specials for the same $15.20 a bottle it did last year. For that modest price you get a terrific McLaren Vale shiraz – ripe and full-flavoured, with the Vale’s fruity-spicy-savoury character. Clever winemaking tamed the wine’s tannins so that they give texture, grip and finish without any hard edges.

Tyrrell’s Lost Block Semillon 2015
Lower Hunter Valley, NSW
Tyrrell’s offers a range of Hunter semillons from the austere Vat 1 to this approachable Lost Block. Vat 1 and similar Hunter semillon styles, gather richer texture and deeper flavour with bottle age – sometimes for decades. But Lost Block, although low in alcohol (11 per cent), drinks well on release because it’s softer, with juicy, upfront fruit flavours. It’s smooth-textured, and light and fresh on the palate, with the region’s delicious lemongrass- and citrus-like flavours. As one of Australia’s distinctive regional specialties it offers tremendous value for money. The 2016 (not yet tasted) is now also in the market.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published 29 June 2016 in the Canberra Times and CT app