2009 Voyager Estate Chardonnay
Margaret River / RRP $45
Clones have the same effect in wine as DNA does to people – you might still be a human but the variations possible and expressions from one to another are startling. Voyager Estate has worked extensively with various clones, particularly in Chardonnay, to add complexity and subtleties to their already impressive wines. Voyager Estate’s two new releases, the 2009 Voyager Estate Chardonnay and the 2009 Voyager Estate Project 95 were made to highlight their work with Chardonnay and the various expressions possible from different combinations of clones and sites. The first is a blend of the Gin Gin clone, which offers lots of citrus fruit characters, blended with clone 95, which adds textural elements to the wines. The second wine, Project 95 is made entirely from Clone 95. The two wines are both exquisite offerings of Chardonnay – refined, elegant, balanced with layers of complexity. The difference? Not much in it really, just a clone the difference.
2011 TarraWarra Pinot Noir Rosé
Yarra Valley / RRP $22
At some stage this spring or summer, you’ll be invited to an event that goes a little something like this … it will be warm and a gentle northeasterly will tumble off the land and ruffle the rim of your new summer hat. You’ll look sharp, too, by the way. The event – an outdoor barbecue or a picnic – is a casual but special turn with good food with plates of fresh nibbles, cold meats, seafood, salads and a range of grilled meats. At some stage in the afternoon, you will find a patch of grass where you’ll lie back, wiggle your toes, and feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. Someone will ask what you’d like to drink. To match the moment perfectly, you will say “An ice cold bottle of 2011 TarraWarra Rosé.” This is the perfect wine for these beautifully casual moments – an elegant rosé with gentle wafts of strawberry and savouriness and a sensual texture that goes beautifully with the outdoors and a sunny afternoon.
2011 Mandoleto Nero D’Avola
Sicily / RRP $13
Stark landscapes, rugged coastlines, an active volcano and an infamous culture layered with depth and spice and strong men in good suits with eyes like wet black olives. If you had to guess what the ‘Black Grape of Avola’ in Sicily tastes like you would pretty much land on the pleasures of Nero D’Avola, Sicily’s most important red grape; Nero D’Avola is a medium-bodied blend of spice, savouriness, dried herbs, depth and dark berries. Given the variety’s ability to work well in hot and arid areas, expect to see more of this variety from Australia. For now, enjoy this wine from Mandoleto that’s brimming with a savoury and textural mouthful of olives, liquorice, spice and dark berries. Buy a case and keep it on hand for casual BBQs or a night in with a pizza in your pinstripe.
2010 Shaw + Smith Shiraz
Adelaide Hills / RRP $45
Hills are sacred in winemaking, providing some of the most important landscapes off which to grow the world’s special vineyards, like the silent walls that hang the great portraits of the world. There’s the Hermitage Hill in France’s Rhone Valley, the hills surrounding Piedmont (‘foot of the mountain’) which make the beautiful Barolo and Barbaresco wines, the steep slopes of the Mosel that express the austere German Rieslings and South Australia’s Adelaide Hills, where this delightful wine comes from. Hills and slopes bring many benefits to vines – extra sunlight, better air circulation and cooler temperatures. Shaw + Smith (as in Martin Shaw and Michael Hill-Smith. See? There’s another important wine Hill), make a range of wines from these cool climate hills including this Shiraz which offers dark and red berries, gentle spice, a velvety palate, complexity and length. More proof of just how good hills are to winemaking.
These reviews first appeared in the print edition of the The Melbourne Review.