Reviewed by Jim McMahon

Photo: Berton Vineyard

Coonawarra’s Zema Estate has recently released its Zema Estate 2013 Cluny. Deep purple in colour with a fading pink hue, the nose offers myriad fruit aromas, both red and black fruits, which come to the fore as does a whiff of French oak. The palate is intense with all the fruit flavours, such as blackcurrants, plums, red cherry and raspberry, showing through.

The oak is nicely balanced as are the acids and tannins. This medium-bodied wine displays all the hallmarks of a wine that will go the distance with correct cellaring. A voluptuous, dry, fruit-driven finish. (rrp $25)

The La Bise 2015 Sangiovese comes from the Adelaide Hills. This grape variety originally hails from Tuscany and can be found in many vineyards in and around central Italy. In Australia, it is also gaining traction, with about 250 wineries planting the variety, including winemaker at La Bise Natasha Mooney. Deep purple in colour with a vibrant pink hue around the rim, the nose offers spicy, slightly herbal characters together with sour cherries.

The palate is medium to full bodied and exhibits raspberry, sour cherry with herbal spice and hints of liquorice. The fruit in this wine is intense with firm tannins, acid and oak all playing a part in delivering a wine of exceptional palate weight and length. (rrp $25)

Canowindra’s Windowrie 2015 The Mill Shiraz is an intense purple with a vibrant violet/pink hue around the rim of the glass. The fruit on the palate is ripe and plentiful with blackberry, plum and redcurrant sitting well alongside the acid/tannin and oak components, with the latter offering hints of spice and vanilla.

This easy-drinking shiraz offers soft, vibrant fruits and is full bodied with a long, dry, fruit-driven finish. (rrp $20)

Berton Vineyard is set in the Riverina region of NSW but also sources parcels of quality fruit from South Australia. Their Berton Vineyard 2014 Reserve Mount Lofty Shiraz is deep purple in colour with a violet/pink hue around the rim. The nose reminds me of raspberry, redcurrant and plums, and these same flavours, and more, are also found on the palate.

The high concentration of fruit together with the palate weight and length of this wine is an indication of exceptional quality for the paltry price of $17 (rrp).

Berton Vineyard 2016 High Eden Sauvignon Blanc, is sourced from a sub-region of the Eden Valley in the Barossa. One doesn’t normally associate sauvignon blanc with the Eden Valley. Generally speaking, this grape variety likes a cool to cold climate so I suppose this is a different style from the run-of-the-mill savvies. Bright straw-lemon in colour with a green tinge around the rim, the grassy, herbaceous nose gives way to citrus, passionfruit and other tropical aromas. With the fruit on the palate replicating the nose, the wine displays vibrant crisp acidity with a citrus tang and refreshing, mouth-watering dry finish. (rrp $20)

You all know by now that I’m not a chardonnay fan but when I find one I like, I remind myself to drink more of this style. The Catherine Vale 2016 Grazia Chardonnay is one of these wines, a nice easy-drinking style, pale straw in colour with a green tinge around the rim indicating youth. This gives way to melon, cucumber and mandarin aromas on the nose. The palate is nicely rounded with the same flavours found on the nose coming through. The oak is minimal but supportive with clean, crisp acidity and citrus notes on the finish. (rrp $20)

Coming from the same stable as the chardonnay is the 2015 Heaven’s Wonder Winifred Barbera. Barbera originally comes from Piedmont in Italy, with more than 100 wine producers in Australia also making this style.

A light see-through cherry red colour with a vibrant shade of pink around the rim, the nose offers cherry, plum and blackberry aromas. The fruit flavours are the same on the palate, which is light and fruity. The tannins are low, as is the oak pick-up but the acidity is assertive. The finish is dry with ripe fruits in abundance. (rrp $28)

Gartelmann winery in the Hunter Valley has access to parcels of quality fruit from Mudgee, which are more than evident in the Gartelmann 2013 ‘Jonathan’ Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep purple, almost inky black, in colour with a fading pink hue, the nose offers spicy, ripe blackberry fruits together with wild berries and liquorice overtones. The palate is intense with the ripe fruit stealing the show, but the other cast members — acid, oak and tannin — give a fine supporting performance. The finale brings palate weight and length to this full-bodied wine. (rrp $35)

Another cast member from the Gartelmann portfolio is the Gartelmann 2013 ‘Jesse’ Mudgee Shiraz. Garnet red in colour, the mixture of red/black fruits on the nose is extremely ripe with herbal vanilla highlights from the oak coming through as does the white peppery spice. The palate is full-bodied with French oak nicely intertwined and tannins offer support without overpowering the fruit. The finish is dry, long and flavoursome with balanced acidity. (rrp $30)

A colleague recently gave me a bottle of Collector 2016 City West Riesling she had tasted at a dinner. The grapes used in this wine came from Tumbarumba. Collector is a little town halfway between Goulburn and Canberra. The wine displays a bright lemon colour with imbued green highlights. The fruit on the nose consists of green apple, pineapple and passionfruit aromas.

The palate is showing vegetal lime notes with bracing acidity, dry as a bone on the finish with green, grassy vegetal notes dominating. (rrp $35) An interesting wine but a little on the expensive side for what it is!

Jim McMahon teaches hospitality at Sutherland TAFE