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Australian Wines

by Tom Cannavan, 09/04

rosé

Turkey Flat Vineyards (Australia) Rosé, 2003
Well, summer is right around the corner, and this wine is the very essence of sunshine and relaxation in a glass. From Barossa Valley fruit, this is an unusal blend of Grenache, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Dolcetto, each adding its own personality to rosé wine offering a flood of fruit and some real punch. Bottled in a strikingly elegant bottle and closed with a screwcap, the deep strawberry pink colour leads onto to an equally deep and fruity nose, that is all about summer-pudding fruit and earthy warmth, without any floral or bubblegummy aspect. On the palate there's a a beautifully sweet, and limpid edge to cherry and raspberry fruit, with a warming core of spicy, slightly tanninc depth, and a zippy thrust of acidity. A almost impercetibile spritz on the tongue from naturally retained C02 adds to the freshness. It has lovely purity and length, and is a concentrated rosé with real personality that is just a treat to drink. Only 12% alcohol too, though you would swear it was higer. £9.99

red

Plantagenet (Australia) Omrah Pinot Noir 2002
Plantagenet is one of Western Australia's top names, and I am a huge fan of their wines, having awarded "wine of the week" to the Omrah Shiraz recently. This Pinot Noir weighs in wiith a hefty 14.5% alcohol, so is no wishy-washy wine. It spends 10 months in French oak barrels too, giving it a very spicy, quite Burgundian character. On the nose it has masses of cloves, cinammon and hints of tobacco, with a lovely, soft layering of strawberies and cream fruit. On the palate it is silky and medium-bodied, with an initial burst of sweet-edged cherry, strawberry and vanilla, before an earthier, truffle and hedgerow quality sweeps through. With polished background tannins and some fine cherry acidity, this is a really well balanced and elegant wine with a long, lingering, sweet finish, despite that powerful alcohol. A terrific wine for roast duck or a wild mushroom casserole, or a good Tuna steak. £7.99

Seville Estate (Australia) Pinot Noir 2001
Seville is a well-established Yarra Valley estate, which despite the ultimate five star quality-rating from James Halliday, I have never come across before. This Pinot gets the full Burgundian treatment, with cold soaking of the grapes before fermentation, manual "pigeage" (punching down of cap of skins during fermentation) and sixteen months in all-French oak, mainly Tronçais, about half being new. The ripe, round, smoky-edged nose has plenty of briar, cigar-box and woodland aromatics, with soft berry fruits and an underpinning of espresso coffee and toast. On the palate it is silky-textured and very luxurious, with plenty of sweet fruit and again that smoky, mellow depth of sweet wood and earth. The cherryish acidity adds a grippy edge, though the svelte, polished tannins are in the background. It has really good length, and finishes with lots of style and some substance, given another weighty 14.5% alcohol.
£13.45

Turkey Flat Vineyards (Australia) "The Turk" 2002
This Barossa Valley red is a blend of 43% Shiraz, 40% Grenache, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre, giving it a very Châteauneuf-du-Papes-like character. It spends 15 months in a combination of small barrels and large oak casks. It has a dark, dense colour, and a hugely aromatic nose, with Porty notes of mulberry, eucalyptus, cranberries and spice. There is a distinct pepperiness and some exotic gamy hints. The palate is flooded with ripe red fruits; more cranberry, and a rich, savoury, damson and plum skin. This is a very harmonious wine, with well-judged acidity and peppery tannins integrated nicely with the super-sweet fruit, so from mid-palate to finish it is smooth and rounded, leaving a lingering fruity aftertaste and just a background warmth of toasty oak and alcohol. Another that is no shrinking violet, with 14.5% alcohol to beef it up. Lovely stuff. £9.75

Seville Estate (Australia) Shiraz 2000
Seville is a well-established Yarra Valley estate, which despite the ultimate five star quality-rating from James Halliday, I have never come across before. He gives this particular wine 94-points. It is a blend of the oldest vineyard fruit (30-years old) with younger vines, and is made in a plush, rich, full-on style. The nose is flooded with cherry, blackberry and a minty, peppery edge, with a cedary underpinning. On the palate it is really dense and sweet; a real mouthfilling breadth of chery and rasberry fruit, with a chocolaty depth and silky, textured tannins. It has good acidity - a little touch of plumskin grip - and very good length. This will make a lovely partner to a good fillet steak or some roast lamb, and is a wine to be consumed now (why not?) or over the next five years or so. This unflitered wine threw lots of sediment, so stand upright for a day or decant before drinking. £13.45

Speargully (Australia) Shiraz, 2000
Made by Dr Tony Jordan of Domaine Chandon and his wife Michelle as a "weekend project", this wine picked up a silver in the International Wine Challenge, and is a blend of grapes from three top vineyards in the Limestone Coast, McLaren Vale and Yarra Valley. Given the full and expensive treatment of 18 months in mostly French barriques, it has a beautifully perfumed nose that is bloody, gamy and peppery at first in a very convincing Northern Rhône style. The fruit on the nose is mellow and deep bramble, mulberry and blackcurrant, with a spicy, leathery edge. On the palate there is just a blast of sweet red fruit that floods across the tongue with ripe, juicy flavours and a smooth, rich texture. This is the definition of "hedonistic", with a seamless integration of tannins and acidity and rich, warming core of tobacco, leather and earthiness. Very smooth and long, the support of sweet oak round out the finish and the fruit stays fresh and sweet. A cracking wine. £13.99