Wine review – Mr Riggs, Mount Majura, Tower Estate

Mr Riggs “The Truant” McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014 $17–$19
For a winery producing just 20 thousand dozen bottle a year, Mr Riggs offers a surprisingly large number of labels, albeit of a very high quality. Riggs’ starting point for McLaren Vale shiraz, “The Truant”, sells for a modest $17 or so. His website also offers six other McLaren Vale shirazes, ranging in price from $16.67 to $50 a bottle. “The Truant”, named for a school-wagging Riggs forefather, combines bright, fresh, shiraz flavours with McLaren Vale’s underlying earthy, savoury characters. Smooth, soft tannins complete a sturdy, satisfying, drink-now dry red.

Mount Majura Canberra District Sweet Molli 2015 500ml $22
Winemaker Frank van de Loo recommends Sweet Molli with fruit or fruit-based desserts. Though distinctly sweet, Molli’s not the uber sticky kind as in late-picked and botrytis-affected dessert wines. Indeed she’s a comparatively delicate sweetie, with fresh acidity, the vibrant pear-like flavour of good pinot gris, and a light bite of spirit. Van de Loo sets the pinot gris grapes fermenting, then arrests the fermentation by adding neutral grape spirit. The wine retains its natural acidity, which offsets the sweetness of the unfermented grape sugar. It’s a delicious, refreshing and distinctive wine. And unlike most fortified wines contains a table-wine-like 13.5 per cent alcohol.

Tower Estate Hilltops Shiraz 2013 $30
Hunter-based Tower Estate makes regional specialties from across Australia, including Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon, Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc, Tasmania Pinot Noir and this slurpy shiraz from the Hilltops region. Just how all this ties in with a Hunter identity is anybody’s guess, and I suspect must confuse visitors to the awesome cellar door in Pokolbin, heart of the lower Hunter Valley. Still, Tower can do what it likes and, in this instance, they’ve made something we can all like: a bright and excellent Hilltops shiraz. Vivid fruit, juicy mid-palate, medium body and a touch of spice give great drinking pleasure now.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published 9 and 10 April2016 in  and the Canberra Times