The 2009 Long Road Riesling and Long Road Sauvignon Blanc come from Canberra. The Riesling is quite light, with lime and floral flavours and a slightly earthy finish. The Sauvignon Blanc is a bit fruity, tasting of citrus and not very pungent. In fact, it tasted quite like a Semillon. Both wines have good structure, but simply not enough expression.
The 2008 Eden Road Chardonnay from Tumbarumba was probably the disappointment of this line-up. It was very lean, a bit floral as well, and green on the finish. There simply is not enough fruit to work with. Cool climate is fine, as long as the fruit gets ripe.
In contrast, the 2008 Eden Road Pinot Noir was excellent. This is a serious wine, from 16 year old vines, with quite expressive, savoury flavours. There is smoked meat on the palate as well (no, it is not bushfire). The wine has a clean, yet complex finish with well blended in tannins.
The 2008 Long Road Barbera/Nebbiolo from Hilltops is a strange wine. It is quite a forward wine, with Barbera sweetness, yet this does not work with the tannins of Nebbiolo. This wine style will need to evolve into something more serious or a lower percentage of Nebbiolo.
The 2008 Long Road Shiraz, the Jimmy Watson winner, has very appealing red and black cherry flavours. It is an opulent wine, with a fair bit of spice, as you would expect, and a good tannin structure. The wine is elegant and will benefit from 3 to 5 years cellaring. This is a good example of Hilltops Shiraz, not dissimilar to the Collector from the Canberra district, which also won a lot of accolades.
Overall, the reds impressed more than the whites. The winemaking is very good, although the winemaker is only 32 years old. The issue is fruit quality. The white wines did not quite measure up in this area, but the reds were very interesting.