Sydneysiders have recently become more fortunate with their pinot noir supplies.
There are clutches of nearby makers from New England, Orange and Tumbarumba. But recently it was the set of Orange-based pinot noirs which caught my eye.
And such producers are giving the more heralded Yarra and Mornington brands some good style opposition.
The encouraging aspect about Orange is that vines are now passing the 10-15 years-age barrier that lifts the pinosity outcomes up a notch.
At the recent Taste Orange show there were a host of these.
I found a charry Brangayne of Orange 2009; 14.5% (USD 35); ++++; pulpy, streamlined and stunning; an unwooded Logan Weemala 2009; 13% (USD 18); +++, just great, brilliantly fruity and zesty; and a beautiful sappy style at Mayfield 2008; 14.5% (USD 39); +++1/2; lovely line and a touch of minerality with its age.
Then there was the older pinot Philip Shaw No8 2007; 13.2%; (USD 43); shown to me by a talkative Damian Shaw which was appreciated; this has a wonderful mature nose, enticing, foresty, aromatic, touch of sap, oak complexity and a lovely soft footprint, mineral, mouth coating and rewarding to drink.
Shiraz, cool climate style that is, meaning seamlessly soft, no great chunkiness expected of a warm region wine (such as Barossa), so the finish is pure silk and the remaining tannins softly coiled.
A relatively simple but effusive, unwooded shiraz from Philip Shaw, The Idiot 2009, caused quite a stir earlier in the year by taking a major Sydney Wine Show trophy. That was a good result because it underlines just how aromatic and enticing shiraz can become in these growing conditions (without a lot of tannin). I tasted the next vintage 2010-another mouthful of fruit.
Philip Shaw No 89 Shiraz 2008; 13.5%; (USD 52.50); +++++; stood out like a beacon, still intensely purple, primed with spiced fruit and violets, aromatic red fruits with pristine notes, no sign of the oak yet it is there, then that lovely soft, juicy palate. Seamless.
The next shiraz was just as intriguing.
Cumulus Shiraz 2008; 14%; (USD 31); ++++; just pure fruit intensity with concentration written all over it; little flowers, cinnamon-clove aromatics and sweet, ripe berries; no smell of oak, the palate then gives you pure beauty, slippery fruit, caressing tannins and a finish of mildness. Easy drink.
I also discovered some new drinking flavours at Angullong Wines; Fossil Hill Barbera 2009; 14.5%; (USD 23); +++; great colour and accessible nose, blackberry pips which are a telltale of this variety; super-soft palate, renowned for low tannin, high acid as this is; an easy drink.
Also try this company’s Fossil Hill Sangiovese 2010 and Bulls Roar Tempranillo 2010.
Peter Scudamore-Smith is a Brisbane-based Master of Wine, winemaker and educator www.uncorkedandcultivated.com.au
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