Wine review – Mount Majura, Murrumbateman, Ross Hill, Taylors, Ad Hoc

Mount Majura Graciano 2015, Touriga 2015 – wines of the week
Mount Majura vineyard, Canberra District, ACT
Winemaker Frank van de Loo’s latest releases show the impact of Canberra’s changing climate. “We’re picking earlier every year”, writes van de Loo, “but it allows us to explore varieties that might previously have been too late-ripening for our climate”. These two Iberian Peninsula red varieties, planted in 2002 and 2005 respectively, were picked on 16 April, two weeks after shiraz. Each offers medium bodied drinking with a distinctive flavour. Graciano’s exotic berry, spice and brisk acid–tannin combo tastes like no other red. Touriga combines fresh berry and savoury characters with a silky texture and fine, firm, drying tannins.

Mount Majura Mondeuse 2015
Mount Majura vineyard, Canberra District, ACT

Like Mount Majura’s graciano and touriga reviewed today, Savoie variety mondeuse noire would once have been considered too late a ripener for Canberra’s climate. DNA analysis by Jose Vouillamoz in 2008 discovered mondeuse noire to be either a half-sibling or grandparent of shiraz – explaining why it is sometimes known as grosse syrah (shiraz). Mount Majura’s first release of the variety shows typically dark colour, though the palate is fresh and medium bodied, combining fresh fruit flavours with savouriness and soft but plentiful tannins.

Murrumbateman Winery Riesling 2015
Four Winds vineyard, Murrumbateman, Canberra District, NSW
In a quiet reboot of one of Canberra’s oldest wineries, Bobbie Makin and Jennifer Lawrence refreshed the label, increased production, and began buying additional grapes from neighbouring vineyards – including Four Winds (source of this riesling). A winner of silver and three bronze medals, the wine offers floral- and citrus-like varietal aromas. Bracing, fresh acidity cuts through a comparatively full-flavoured and dry palate. Watch this winery.

Ross Hill Isabelle Cabernet Franc Merlot 2014
Ross Hill Griffin Road vineyard, Orange, NSW

In a blend based on the red wines of Bordeaux’s St Emillion sub-region, winemaker Phil Kerney combines the heady, floral aromas and flavours of cabernet franc and the earthier, fleshy, more tannic character of merlot. It’s an harmonious combination and immediately appealing because of all that perfume and seductive, fleshy fruitiness. Fine, drying tannins give gentle grip and a dry finish to a drink-now wine of considerable character.

Taylors Promised Land Shiraz 2015
Limestone Coast, South Australia

Clare Valley based Taylors delivers outstanding value for money with their latest shiraz. At the time of writing it’s on special at retailers for $9 a bottle in case lots. For that price you get a deeply coloured, vibrantly youthful shiraz of mouth-filling, ripe, fleshy flavours and soft, easy tannins. The wine comes from Padthaway and other locations on South Australia’s Limestone Coast, which stretches from the Murray mouth down to Mount Gambier and east to the Victorian border.

Ad Hoc Straw Man Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2015
Margaret River, Western Australia

Exuberant and fruity, Straw Man bounces across the palate with the unique passionfruit-like and herbaceous flavours of this Western Australia specialty. A little bit of oak fermentation and maturation fleshed out the palate, adding to its juicy, drink-now appeal. Winemaker Larry Cherubino writes, it “reminds me of dried straw and fresh cut grass”.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published  8 June 2016 in the Canberra Times and CT app