The O’Dea family established its vineyards on a vast grazing property in Canowindra, about 30km north of Cowra, in 1988. If you happen to be passing through this region, the wines can be tasted at The Mill, Cowra. The last time I was at The Mill, it was an old tin shed. That was back in 2001. Today it is a modern tasting room and restaurant. Here I offer you two wines from the O'Deas' stable — Windowrie The Mill 2015 Merlot and the Windowrie The Mill 2016 Chardonnay.
The merlot has an appealing deep purple colour with a beautiful bright pink rim. The nose offers blackcurrant with hints of black pepper and black olive. The palate is nicely textured, soft and fruity with plum, mulberry and hints of spice, which are all nicely interwoven with the soft, velvety tannins that envelope the palate. The finish is medium-bodied, long and dry.
The chardonnay displays a bright lemon colour with a cocktail mix of fruits found on the nose together with a delicate yet complex bouquet of vanilla nuances. The palate is displaying that same fruit salad mix together with a rounded mouthfeel and touches of oak, without the oak overpowering the fruit. Perhaps a different style of chardonnay from the norm but appealing all the same. The wine has a firm acid grip and displays a rounded mouth-feel (both wines $20 rrp).
South Australia-based Morambro Creek has delivered a beauty, albeit an expensive beauty in the Morambro Creek 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is deep purple, almost inky black, with a fading pink hue around the rim. The nose is nicely perfumed with ripe dark/red cabernet fruit with hints of beetroot and capsicum, not to mention French oak. The palate is awash with blackberry, plum and stewed rhubarb flavours. The oak, acid tannin structure adds texture, body and flavour to the wine. This full-bodied wine has depth, palate weight and complexity to see it go the distance (with careful cellaring) to the year 2030 (rrp $45).
The Gartelmann 2016 Benjamin Semillon is lemon in colour with a green tinge around the rim. The nose is delicate, as one would expect of a young Hunter semillon, with citrus and gooseberry characters.
The palate is fruit-driven, with white peach, apricots and citrus notes, but the wine is not as acidic as one would expect from a young, fresh semillon. The wine has appeal for drinking now or potential bottle age moving forward. The finish is dry with balanced acidity. An ideal accompaniment to oysters natural or a mezzo plate of cold meats and olives. (rrp $25)
The Berton Vineyards 2016 Head Over Heels Durif has a vibrant purple colour with an equally vibrant pink hue. The nose is lovely and perfumed with violets and dark chocolate, together with dark berry fruits virtually jumping out of the glass. The fruit on the palate is soft and juicy, with those same flavours found on the nose cascading onto the palate. The tannins appear to be minimal, as does the oak. While both show a presence, they do not overpower the fruit. The finish is soft, dry and voluptuous, with all components nicely balanced on a full-bodied dry acid finish. Why don’t you try something different and give this style a go? (rrp $12)
South Australia-based Zema Estate from Coonawarra has recently released its 2013 Zema Shiraz.
Deep purple in colour, with a fading pink/purple hue, the nose gives way to plum, raspberry and red currant notes with a whiff of French vanilla oak coming through. The palate is nicely textured, with red/black fruits dominating. The wine is fruit-driven and soft and shows a nice acid/tannin/oak balance. The wine is in the full-bodied spectrum with a long dry finish. This wine has plenty of room to move as far as longevity is concerned but is drinking well now (rrp $25).
The La Bise 2016 Adelaide Hills Rose Le Petite Frais is made by Natasha Mooney, who has a long and distinguished career in the wine industry. This wine is a mixture of sangiovese and tempranillo, with a splash of pinot gris, with grapes sourced from the Adelaide Hills in South Australia. The colour of the wine is traffic light amber, with hints of pink. The nose offers a myriad of fruits from dark to red fruits and is nicely perfumed, which draws you in. The palate is exceptional, with lots of red/dark berry fruits nicely combined with the crisp acidity. The palate texture and mouthfeel is more than evident, which makes you sit up and take note.
The wine has a lot of complexity for a rosé style and finishes long, firm and dry with fruit aplenty. This wine sits alongside De Bortoli’s La Boheme Rosé as my rosé of choice — just excellent. Highly recommended (rrp $22).
Definitely one for the cellar or for that special someone or occasion is The Bryson 2014 Barrel Select. It's an inky black purple with a crimson hue around the rim. The blackberry fruits on the nose, together with the spicy oak treatment, are profound. The palate is rich and intense with dark chocolate and black fruits in abundance. The wine also displays fair amounts of minty/mulberry spicy flavours which are all in harmony with the acid/oak tannin structure. A wine of immense charm, texture and character (rrp $55).
The Berton Vineyard 2016 Head Over Heels Semillon Sauvignon Blanc — wow, what a way to finish! This semillon-sauvignon blanc blend is showing pale straw lemon in colour with green highlights. The nose is more in the tropical fruit domain, which also carries through onto the palate. A fresh and vibrant wine with firm acidity and loads of fruit and charm. It finishes dry with fruit aplenty (rrp $8).
Jim McMahon teaches hospitality at Sutherland TAFE