Reviewed by Jim McMahon

Berton Vineyards’ 2013 moscato frizzante has a vibrant green tinge. The musky bouquet of white pear and apricots is exceptionally aromatic. The palate is lively and fresh with stone fruit and white pear flavours; the acidity is soft while the fruit is ripe. An off-dry style, bordering on sweet, with a slight zip in the mouth, that is ‘frizzante’. With an alcohol level of just 9 per cent, it’s an anytime drink. Next up in the Berton portfolio is the 2012 Black Shiraz which is a deep purple/black with a pink hue around the rim. The nose displays plum, blackberry and red currant with toasty/spicy undertones. The palate is ripe with luscious, dark/red berry fruits. The wine is smooth with soft tannins adding to the palate length. Two very good quaffers to start the Christmas season at $12 (rrp).

Tyrrell’s has been established in the Hunter Valley since 1858 and its VAT 1 semillon is still a trail blazer on the Australian wine show circuit as is the VAT 47 chardonnay. The Belford 2010 chardonnay has a light golden colour that gives way to perfumed apricots, grapefruits and citrus flavours with vanilla spice sitting in the background. The palate is rich and flavoursome with those same fruits coming through. The French oak adds spice and vanilla together with palate weight and texture. The finish is dry and long with balanced acidity. An enjoyable chardonnay with balance and finesse. (rrp $35).

Tyrrell’s Lost Block range has been given a facelift in labels and in sourcing grapes from other regions and that pays off with the McLaren Vale 2012 cabernet sauvignon. This medium bodied wine is deep purple with a young pink hue around the rim. The perfumed nose offers spicy plum and blackcurrant flavours. The palate is soft with ripe blackberry flavours, hints of eucalypt and liquorice. The oak component and tannins are minimal. The wine has varietal fruit expression and finishes soft and dry. (rrp $18).

Coonawarra based Zema Estate has recently released a 2009 shiraz and a 2009 cluny. The shiraz is deep purple with black peppery spice, mulberry and liquorice overtones on the nose. The palate is firm and intense with red currant and plum flavours. The French oak adds to the texture and palate weight while not overpowering the wine. The tannins are integrated and the nutty vanillin oak adds to its appeal. The finish is dry, firm and full bodied with fruit aplenty. The cluny is a rich and complex mixture of four grape varieties from the cabernet family – cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and malbec. The wine is deep purple and displays a fragrant bouquet of red and black berries. The palate is rich and ripe, a bit like a Cherry Ripe and Fruit and Nut rolled into one. The tannins are assertive but not overly so. The toasty oak adds flavour in combination with a medium-bodied, dry acid finish. Both wines are $25 (rrp).

Staying in the Coonawarra with another name that’s been around for years, the Rymill Coonawarra 2010 shiraz is a big bold affair, deep purple/crimson with a lovely pink rim. The bouquet is complex and fragrant with dark berry fruits evident. The full palate is powerful and dense with mulberry and raspberry. The wine displays good palate weight with a rounded mouth-feel and the fruit is silky and juicy with a firm, dry acid finish. This wine has power and length with firm tannins. (rrp $30)

O’Leary Walker 2013 Watervale riesling is one of my favourite wine styles from one of my favoured riesling makers, David O’ Leary and Nick Walker, who have 60 years of wine-
making experience between them. Pale lemon/green in colour, the nose is delicate with orange blossom and green apple. The palate is crisp with mouth-watering acidity from minerally white pear, citrus and lime flavours. The finish is dry and crisp with purity of fruit evident long after the wine goes down. Perhaps one for cellaring (rrp $18).

Lerida Estate is on the outskirts of Canberra on a ridge along Lake George. Its 2011 Lake George pinot noir is see-through red/purple. The rich bouquet highlights a mix of red and dark cherries with a whiff of tobacco and French oak. The palate is awash with black cherry, raspberry and strawberry with the French oak nicely interwoven. With subtle tannins and a slight herbal forest floor flavour, this light to medium bodied wine is a delight from a boutique winemaker with a name and pedigree (rrp $26.50).

David Lowe, as the President of the NSW Wine Industry Association, does a magnificent job ensuring that NSW Governments of all stripes support the wine industry and help promote it to the wider population. The 2013 Lowe Tinja chardonnay verdelho with no added preservative is a pale green, straw colour. The stone appeals to the nose while the palate is crisp and fresh with lots of tropical fruit flavours combined with a soft acid finish (rrp $22).

The O’Dea Family has been making wines in the Canowindra region since 1988 under the name Windowrie Estate. The winery comes under the Cowra Geographical Indications, however, the grapes that go into making the Windowrie The Mill Orange 2013 sauvignon blanc come from Orange. This would have to be one of the best sauvignon blancs I have tasted and, believe me, it is not the first. Bright lemon with a green tinge, the nose gives way to tropical fruit and the same flavours cascade onto the palate. The acidity is lively without over powering and the finish is clean, crisp and fruit-driven. A ‘savvie’ you could drink two or more glasses of and that, in my book, is a good definition of a style on which the Orange region has based its reputation (rrp $22).

Jim McMahon teaches hospitality at Sutherland TAFE.

Wine competition

For your chance to win a Berton Vineyards mixed dozen tell us what your favourite tipple was this year. Your entry must include your name, Federation membership number, workplace name and phone number, mailing address and home phone number. Anyone who sends multiple entries will not have any of their entries considered for the competition. Send your entry to with “Wine competition” in the subject line, or mail to Wine competition, Education, NSW Teachers Federation, Locked Bag 3010 Darlinghurst 1300. Entries close December 16.