St Hallett Western Front Barossa Shiraz 2015 $14.30–$18
Japanese-owned Lion owns the Barossa’s St Hallett Winery and produces several outstanding regional shirazes. Western Front, made for Woolworths (Dan Murphy, BWS, Woolworths Liquor), sits in price between St Hallett Faith Shiraz ($17) and Gamekeepers Shiraz ($12) – two widely distributed St Hallett wines often discounted by retailers. Unlike its namesake, Western Front is designed never to be fought over. The name itself provides camouflage against direct price comparison for the simple reason that no one else stocks it. That’s a prime motive behind exclusive labels. The wine, however, provides absolutely delicious, ripe, juicy flavours with typically soft, easy Barossa tannins.
Chapel Hill The Vicar McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013 $61.75–$75
Only a very small proportion of all wines are suited for long-term keeping – whether for a memento of a special occasion, personal drinking pleasure or as a gift to a wine lover. Chapel Hill The Vicar offers that potential at a fair price considering its exceptional quality. The deep, crimson-rimmed colour suggests a wine of substance – an impression confirmed by the aroma and multi-layered palate. Powerful, fruity and savoury flavours mix with strong but smooth tannins in a harmonious wine that keeps luring the drinker back for another mouthful, despite its youth and power.
Jacob’s Creek Classic Chardonnay 2015 $7.50–$12
It’s late, you’ve been driving all day and there’s nowhere to eat in the small town but the local club. Choose a simple dish like steak and salad and you’ll be well nourished, if not excited. But what wine do you drink from a choice of unfamiliar club labels or Jacob’s Creek? The made-up labels seldom please. But Jacob’s Creek wines generally do the job nicely at a fair price. A recent encounter with Classic Chardonnay at a south coast club provided clear and melon- and peach-like varietal fruit flavour on a smooth, dry, medium-bodied palate.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published 29 May 2016 in the Canberra Times