Righto, today we have an old fashioned duo – two wines that share alot of similarities:
– Both 2006
– Both from South Australia
– Both gold medal winners at the 2007 National Wine Show
– Both similar in RRP ($20ish)
– Both freely available (and hence quite large production)
What both these wines also represent is the beating heart of good value Australian wines – carefully made, well balanced wines that are bright and fresh, yet with the stuffing for cellaring. What these wines both lack is complexity and individuality- and that is their main downfall. I am sure an English critic would love nothing more than to savage these wines on that basis alone. I think we should be trumpeting the value here instead.
Penfolds Thomas Hyland Chardonnay 2006 (South Australia, mainly Adelaide Hills according to the website)
Screwcap, $20 (though I found it online at just $13)
The Hyland part always seems to get misspelt. Too often its Highland, like a Highland fling, especially on pub wine lists where this would be commonly seen. According to the back label. ‘In 1861 Thomas Hyland married Georgina Penfold, only daughter of Christopher Rawson Penfold. His stewardship guided Penfolds to become Australia’s most famous wine.’…’Penfolds Australia’s famous wine’. Do they mean that Penfolds make Australia’s most famous wine (which Grange is almost definitely)? Or is Penfolds Australia’s most famous winery? (Also possible).
Anyway, this has a nice bright straw yellow colour. The nose is all fresh cream, with a little citrus stirred in for good measure. Its an open, leesy nose that is quite attractive in a simple chardy way. The palate is dry and very smooth, with a good balance between leesy richness, background oak and lemony fruit, the acid giving a crisp kick to finish. All in all, this is a very well made (kudos to Oliver Crawford I believe) Chardonnay, lacking only the minerality and intensity of the finer examples for really high points. 17.5
Taylors Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Clare Valley, SA) Screwcap, $20 (though on special they go down to $14)
A medium red colour, the colour intensity is a little on the light side, which is quite surprising. The nose is raspberry, cherry, spice & a flick of herbs (including dill – which many seem to dislike in their wine) topped with some volatility.
The palate is dominated by spicy oak, but is well supported by dark rich fruit, tailing off with a little heat to finish. Its a full and very dry red palate that will benefit from a few yrs in the bottle (it still needs some time to sort its shit out), as the oak and the tannins are still on the point side. With a decent decant things may sort themselves out even more so.
Whats not questioned is the intensity, which is admirable for the price point. Not bad at all. 16.9+