Both of todays wines come from the global monolith that is Pernod Ricard, both of these within their style are top shelf, both come resplendent with capital city wine show gold medals, yet I think that both these wines are slower sellers than they deserve to be.
Orlando St Hilary Padthaway Chardonnay 2006 (Padthaway, SA) Screwcap, $18
Is there a more underrated commercially available Chardonnay out there? Widely available and reliably good quality, yet suffering under its own image problem, discarded in favour of lesser Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Gris and perhaps a victim of its own oak driven, stylistic shortcomings.
A golden straw colour, the nose is vanillan with some leesy floral characters & a little honey oat bran. On the palate it is somewhat broad and generous, with oak derived richness alongside sweet vanilla & a little custard. The finish is innocuous and falls away quite quickly, leaving only wood tannins in its wake. Its arguably oak driven, but its also quite well balanced. Drinkable, but not memorable.
I think, again, the problem with this wine is that its not cool. Its made in an oak derived style that may have garnered friends five yrs ago, but just doesn’t cut the mustard in the more modern, complex & minerally Chardonnay time where the Chardonnays that gain attention are increasingly cooler climate examples. 17
Jacobs Creek ‘Johann’ Shiraz Cabernet 2001 (South Australia) Cork $60
I can’t say i am taken by the packaging on this – I liked it better when it was the old Jacobs Creek Limited Release. I like Jacobs Creek, the brand and the wines, even though the trend is to lay shit on our bigger winemakers at present (and often because they deserve it).
But back to the packaging – The trophies down the bottom of the label just don’t have the same impact as when you see golden stickers all over the place (all that bling would be impressive too). Or maybe its just me – I quite like the old school stylings of the Henschke label for instance (conversely I also love the impressive, contemporary Cumulus labels). The show awards for this wine apparently run to 5 trophies and 35+ gold medals!
This wine is beautifully dark red in colour, with a real dense redness that shows no sign of bricking as yet. On the nose its densely compacted, with tarry, very ripe dark fruit & a little raisined volatility escaping, but otherwise the rest of the aromatics are bound up completely in the wine. In this way it smells like a very traditional Barossan red, yet no fruit source is stated for this wine. Its rather Grange like in fact. The palate follows suit, with an endless flow of sweetly rich black fruit overlaid with some vanillan oak and finishing with not unsubstantial tannins. There is a hint of overripeness to this, the fruit quite sweet and tarry, with just the faintest edge of meaty development, but the balance and drinkability remains high class.
All in all its actually a very traditional South Australian red – its quite heftly proportioned and undoubtedly built for the long haul, but its at no time hard to drink. On its own I think its a little too powerful, but again a quality steak and i think this would be winning over hearts and minds. Drinking very finely at present, but with another decade to live for, this is one top shelf red 18.7/20
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