Tellurian Viognier 2014
Eastern Mount Camel Ranges, Heathcote, Victoria
Tellurian Viognier 2014 topped the “other whites varietals and blends” section in February’s Winewise Championship. The Canberra-based championship rates gold-medallists from other Australian wine shows – a sort of best-of-best taste-off, judged in small groups of no more than seven wines. Tullurian topped the viognier class before advancing to the finals against four other varietals and a blend, each a winner of its own class. Viognier can be big, brash and overbearing. But barrel-fermented Tellurian captures pure apricot- and ginger-like varietal flavour on a silky, richly textured. harmonious palate. It’s a juicy and loveable example of the variety, best drunk within three or four years of vintage. I rated it top in both the heat and the final. It’s available at tellurianwines.com.au.
Josef Chromy Fumé Blanc 2015
Relbia, Northern Tasmania
Another white that impressed while judging at the Winewise Championship, was Joseph Chromy’s oak-fermented sauvignon blanc, labelled as “fume blanc”. The wine retains fresh sauvignon blanc flavours, but against the rich texture and flavours derived from fermentation and maturation in oak barrels. We rated it the best of the sauvignon blancs or sauvignon blanc dominant blends in the competition. Californian vigneron Robert Mondavi coined the name “fume blanc” in the 1960s to differentiate dry sauvignon blanc from sweeter versions. Australian winemakers flirted with it in the 1980s. It still pops up occasionally in Australia and generally indicates, as this one does, an oak-fermented sauvignon blanc.
Stockman’s Ridge Rider Shiraz 2014
Stockman’s Ridge vineyard, Orange, NSW
I’m not as excited by Stockman’s Ridge 2014 as the judges at the 2015 Australian Highlands Wine Show, where it won a gold medal and three trophies. But it’s a pretty shiraz, displaying pure, sweet, berry fruit flavours on a medium-bodied, lively, soft palate. It offers pleasant, fruity current drinking. The wine comes from Jonathon Hambrook’s 20-year-old shiraz vines located at 800 metres above sea level on the north-west slopes of Mount Canobolas.
Redbank Fiano 2014
Myrrhee, King Valley, Victoria
With more romance than reality the back label depicts fiano as a variety “dating back to the days of Roman viticulture”. More prosaically, Jancis Robinson and Jose Vouillamoz in Wine grapes – a complete guide to 1368 varieties, including their origins and flavours, dismiss as futile attempts to link ancient names to modern varieties. They do, however, point to its origins in Campania and mentions of it as early as 1240. At Myrrhee, 700-metres up in Victoria’s King Valley, it produces a full-flavoured, melon-scented dry white with a rich texture and tangy, lemony dryness. At the recent Winewise Championship, Redbank ranked second in my score sheet to the delicious, but sold-out, Briar Ridge Limited Release Fiano 2015.
Saltram “The Journal” Old Vine Shiraz 2010
Schultz vineyard, Mount McKenzie, Eden Valley, South Australia
Buried among Treasury Wine Estate’s vast portfolio are beautiful regional gems, including Saltram The Journal, made from Eden Valley vines planted in Australia’s federation year, 1901. This high (472-metre), cooler section of the Barossa produces perfumed, comparatively elegant shiraz with very long-term cellaring potential. In the solid 2010 vintage, Shavaughn Wells made a powerful, brooding wine from these old vines. Despite its power, The Journal is an harmonious red with deep, bright fruit flavours meshed with strong but soft, persistent tannins. It’s a wine to marvel at and savour as it evolves over the next half century.
Tim Adams Riesling 2015
Clare Valley, South Australia
Tim Adams riesling offers absolutely delicious current drinking and outstanding cellaring potential. A year on from vintage, it shows appealing floral and lime varietal aromas and a shimmering, fresh palate. A combination of intense lime-like varietal flavour, light body (11.5 per cent alcohol), pure, refreshing acidity and bone-dry finish add up to pure drinking pleasure. The light colour, delicacy, freshness and high acidity all point to interesting flavour development in the years ahead. Buy a dozen, throw it somewhere cool and dark, and enjoy a bottle every now and then over the next ten years.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published 9 and 16 March 2016 in goodfood.com.au and the Canberra Times