Medhurst Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2011
Yarra Valley / RRP $30
Australian Chardonnay continues its flight skyward in terms of quality and style. Much of this success comes from wines from the cooler regions of Victoria and Tasmania and is the culmination of experience, experimentation and increased knowledge of place. The Yarra Valley is known to have three sub-regions all falling under the cool climate banner. Medhurst Wines is in the Coldstream/Gruyere area, tucked into the hillside of the Warramate Ranges. Established in 2000, the appointment of winemaker Matt Steel is one of the recent developments in the Medhurst evolution that also includes a modern winery and new restaurant. This wine is a wonderful example of Yarra Valley Chardonnay showing the finesse and elegance the region is known for. An attractive nose of white peach, melon and flint notes; the palate is a balance of energising acid, creamy texture and Chardonnay complexity. Lovely.
Tempranillo Caló Rioja 2010
Rioja, Spain / RRP: $19.00
We might be nudging closer to spring, but for us Melburnians, plenty of cold nights and warm dishes are yet to come. When they do, here is an ideal wine. Tempranillo is a rising star variety right now, enjoyed for its generosity of aromas, weight, spice and colour but with less of the tannin and acid than can make other reds seem more confronting. Tempranillo is the most famous red variety in Spain and the main grape in the famous Rioja wines. These Caló Rioja wines are made by third generation winemaker Javier Murua in the modern style of winemaking sweeping Rioja – a style that uses less oak and aims for more fruit vibrancy and purity. This wine is just that; a generous puff of dark berries, earth, spice with a hint of oak, the palate offers more berries, spice and gentle tannins making for an attractive, supple and seductive wine. For a cool night in with a plate of cured meats and some slow roasted lamb.
Crittenden Estate Pinot Noir Mornington Peninsula 2010
Mornington Peninsula / RRP $34
This wine is a culmination of a lot of things, some natural, some philosophical and some human. For a while now Pinot Noir, alongside Chardonnay, has been recognised as the hero variety of the Mornington Peninsula. Rollo Crittenden and his father Gary are committed to the variety – just last year they grafted the last of their Cabernet Sauvignon to Pinot Noir. Alongside this commitment to the variety has been one to cultivating improved biological soil management processes – minimal herbicides, green mulching and composting – that have improved the quality of the wines and allowed the great regional and varietal pairing to shine. Add to this near perfect conditions for the 2010 vintage and you have this classic Crittenden Estate Pinot Noir. A bright and potent nose of red berries, savoury notes and a pleasant sappy character reminiscent of the use of stems (although none were used). The palate has more berry fruit and savoury notes swirling around in a well-balanced wine. Not too light, not too heavy, classic Pinot Noir.
Chateau De Vaux Moselle “Les Grypheés” 2011
Moselle, France / RRP: $33
The Moselle River runs cold and deep through France and Germany. On one side, The Mosel wine region of Germany is lauded mostly for its Rieslings that are adored and largely unrivalled for their austerity, crispness and acidity. On the other side is the French Moselle wine region, which, thanks in part to its recent inclusion to the AOC two years ago, has even the French excited. As a wine region influenced by similar characteristics that make Germany’s finest wines, it is a chance for France to show off its new terroir through these aromatic varieties. This wine is an unusual blend of Auxerrois, Muller-Thürgau, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer. As attractive to look at as it is to smell, it spills with pretty white floral, blossom and musk aromas. The palate is just as delightful with a fuller body and texture thanks to the inclusion of the Gewürztraminer. Perfumed, pretty, textured and lovely.
These reviews first appeared in the print edition of The Melbourne Review