Mount Horrocks Watervale Semillon 2015 $25–$30
Stephanie Toole’s semillon takes us a world away from the more austere, lemony-tart Hunter Valley styles. Picked early, often achieving only 10 or 11 per cent alcohol, and fermented without oak, the Hunter style generally need years to flesh out, then do so delightfully. Mount Horrocks is harvested riper (achieving 13 per cent alcohol), produced from the finest component of the juice and fermented entirely in new and older French oak barrels. The extra ripeness, combined with barrel fermentation and maturation, gives full-flavoured though still lemon-like semillon, with a rich but delicate texture and super tangy, fresh, dry finish.
Yering Station Yarra Valley Village Pinot Noir 2014 $19.20–$24
No matter which of Yering Station’s pinots you buy, from the $14.40 Little Yering to the $100 Reserve, you get the real flavour, texture and drinking satisfaction of the variety. They just vary in their intensity. The mid-price Village wine ($19.20 for members at cellar door) captures much of pinot’s excitement. The aroma combines red-berry varietal character with more savoury–earthy winey notes. The palate reflects the strongly varietal aroma and supports the fruit flavour with its silky texture and strong, fine, drying tannins.
Katnook Estate Founder’s Block Coonawarra Shiraz 2015 $15.90–$20
Cabernet remains the main game in Coonawarra, but shiraz, present in the area since the earliest days, at its best makes fine-boned, long-lived reds. The earlier wines, when little oak was used, showed the way with this variety. Winemakers rediscovered the beauty of those early wines this century, following a period in the 90s when oak and extractive winemaking swamped the inherent fruit quality of many wines. Katnook’s entry-level shiraz represents the riper end of the Coonawarra spectrum with a distinctive jam-like fruitiness to love or hate.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published 26 June 2016 in the Canberra Times