Tim Adams Clare Valley Semillon 2012 $18.05–$22
Wines labelled “semillon”, unaccompanied by the magic words “sauvignon blanc”, appeal to a narrow audience. But there’s no reason why this should be so as the variety offers terrific drinking with distinctive flavour. The light bodied, low-alcohol versions from the Hunter Valley drink beautifully for decades. Tim Adams, on the other hand, provides an altogether different take on the variety. He harvest grapes riper than Hunter styles ferments and matures eighty per cent of the blend in French oak barrels. The wine retains semillon’s distinctive, vibrant, lemon- and lemongrass-like flavour on a lively, full, smooth palate with a pleasant vanilla-lie input from the oak.
Schild Estate Barossa Valley Shiraz 2013 $17.09–$22
Winemaker inputs at times overwhelm or mute climate-driven regional or sub-regional characteristics in a wine. Indeed, even the best palates would struggle to affix sub-regions to a masked range of Barossa shirazes from a number of makers. However, tasted on its own and in full view of the label, Schild 2013 shows the bright, red-fruits varietal character of shiraz grown in the cooler southern end of the valley. Family vineyards around Lyndoch and Rowland flat give the wine its appealing fresh fruit flavours. And though it weighs in at a solid 14.7 per cent alcohol, the wine sits light and soft on the palate.
West Cape Howe Frankland River Malbec 2014 $22
While malbec adds perfume, intense colour and strong tannins to red blends, it can also make excellent stand-alone wines. It’s the signature red of Argentina, for example. And in Australia, notably at Langhorne Creek, it makes sturdy, satisfying reds that differ in taste and structure from old favourites like shiraz or cabernet. Over in the west, West Cape Howe makes an outstanding version from the remote Frankland River region. The deep, crimson-rimmed colour, cherry-like aroma and plush, juicy palate appeal tremendously. After the first hit of fruit, the variety’s firm tannins take hold, though in harmony with the sweet fruit.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2016
First published 2 and 3 April 2016 in goodfood.com.au and the Canberra Times