Barwick Estate ‘White Label’ Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Margaret River, WA)
The previous vintage of this wine was one heavily lauded wine – Ray Jordan gave it a particularly good wrap, naming it one of his bargain favourites – Its easy to see why it was so popular.
The 2008 vintage for this wine is undoubtedly a riper style – On the nose its capsicum meets passionfruit & pineapple & a little spray of herbs. The palate is light, crisp and fresh, with very soft acidity and a short finish (the added acidity not doing much for the length). Altogether its very fresh, simple and easy going if a little fatter than last yr. Top value, no extra thought required. 16
Stoneleigh ‘Rapaura’ Pinot Noir 2006 (Marlborough, NZ)
Stoneleigh seems to have fallen behind in the race for palates – it was once the number one Kiwi Savvy name in the under $20 market, but I think its light has dimmed somewhat recently.
On the nose this has clear pinosity, with that meaty stewed plum & cherry character that I really like, however in this format it is more than a little muddied by what is a soapy volatility that is quite unattractive. Still, at least it smells like Pinot. On the palate it starts really well – nicely balanced, silky smooth meaty red fruit (good star)t. But by mid palate the alcohol starts to cut in, elbowing aside the plush fruit, leaving nothing but a empty shell of heat and forgotten pleasantries. Such a pity. 15.3
Blue Pyrenees Shiraz 2005 (Pyrnees, Vic)
Stelvin Luxe $18
I’ve slowly made my way through the Blue Pyrenees range over the last couple of weeks and I’ve decided that the wines epitomise old school winemaking and viticulture. The tannins are gruff (even in the Merlot), the fruit on the leafy side, the oak also big, with real palate acidity to match. The wines are all bone dry (no RS softness here) and if you don’t like the smell of eucalypt you’ll hate the reds.
But beyond that, if you like your wines to have guts, then Blue Pyrenees should be your winery. This Shiraz typifies the wines: On the nose it has eucalypt, spearmint and lifted, spicy, stalky berries. The palate has a medicinal edge (I think that will dissipate with some age) but its unquestionably well fruited and whilst rather blocky, is clearly regional and varietal. The tannins are quite fierce and the alcohol obvious. In fact, it would be quite easy to knock these wines as outdated throwbacks, but I see more than that – there is a real sense of local terroir in here, right down to the omnipresent eucalypt.
I think if you where to stick some of this away for a year or five you would be pleasantly surprised – there will be no golden egg, but there may be some good authentic cool climate Shiraz drinking. 17