Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wines of the Week - January 19th

One of the things that is clear to me when discussing Australian wine with wine lovers in New York is the lack of understanding about the breadth of Australia's production. Too much focus is put on red wine, Shiraz in particular, where there are some fantastic whites being made in a range of styles. here are three different whites that have impressed me lately.

Turkey Flat Butcher's Block Marsanne Roussanne Viognier 2009

Turkey Flat have long been one of my favourite Shiraz producers, but this white is another reminder that the Barossa can turn out some handy (Northern) Rhone-based white blends as well. Like Torbreck's excellent Steading Blanc, this wine is predominantly Marsanne, with Roussanne and Viognier rounding out the blend. Although there's plenty of richness, there's an underlying restraint provided by the Roussanne that keeps it lively and refreshing.

Savaterre Chardonnay 2004

Savaterre was established by Keppell Smith after a country-wide search led him to the elevated site outside of Beechworth in Victoria. Focusing on the Burgundian grapes of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Savaterre quickly established itself as a winery to watch after its initial releases from the 2000 vintage. I was able to try the 2004 Pinot and Chardonnay recently, and both impressed greatly. The vintage was excellent, and the wine has matured nicely into an elegant example of cool-climate winemaking, showing well integrated oak, stone fruit and a crisp finish.

Mcwilliam's Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon 1986

It's not often I buy a case of something, but when you come across a wine like this it's a reminder that it is worth doing occasionally. I've been knocking off a bottle of this every year or two for long enough that the last bottle finally got opened. (Fear not, I've just started on the '95s). I'm pleased to say that bottle variation has been fairly minor along the way, and although they are probably past their best, they have been holding on just fine. Fruit character is fairly minimal, with some lime straying into the honey, nutty, petrol characters, along with a slightly oily texture. A reminder that Hunter Valley Semillon makes great value, long-lived whites that are worth the wait.

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