Monday, February 28, 2011

NSW Wine Festival, part 2

Another winery in the Canberra district which has impressed me over the years is Lerida Estate. The 2008 'Josephine' Pinot Noir is their best barrel selection. The wine has strawberry fruit and gamey and earthy flavours. The wine is quite powerful, but not fruit driven (92 points). Their flagship 2008 Shiraz/Viognier is fashioned in a more powerful style than a number of others in the district. The wine has concentrated plum and mulberry flavours with some eucalypt as well. It is well structured with a firm finish (93 points).

Back to Orange, where Logan has made a bit of noise. The 2009 Pinot Noir is a bit disappointing. It starts with some plummy flavours, and then turns quite savoury backed by pleasant dry tannins. The downfall is the flat mouthfeel of the wine (which is what Pinot should be all about)(89 points). Their current success is the 2008 Cabernet/Merlot. This is a medium bodied wine, tasting of plum and blackberry. It is very smooth with a firm (and slightly hot - alc. 14.5%) finish - an appealing wine (91 points).

Now over to Mudgee, where Thistle Hill is creating interest with preservative free wines. However, I tasted the more traditional wines. The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is medium bodied, very middle of the road. Not sure why I would be interested to drink it (88 points). The 2009 Shiraz/Cabernet Erudgere is much more interesting. This is my wine of the day. Its flavours are blackberry and mulberry. The fruit is concentrated, but soft and elegant. I believe it comes from the old Rosemount Mountain Blue vineyard (remember this?), which Fosters let go (93 points).

My next stop was Robert Stein. The reds were disappointing. The 2008 Shiraz showed insufficient tannin structure (87 points), and the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon had insufficient mouthfeel and, again, backbone (87 points).

I finished up with Huntington, one of the few wineries which consistently delivers good value for money with full bodied reds. My pick was the 2006 Block 3 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine tastes of ripe blackberry. It is very soft, with velvety tannins, almost like a traditional Hunter Valley Shiraz. I liked the flavour profile, but the wine finished too soft for me (92 points).

Overall, I was encouraged by my tastings. There is a lot of variety, established NSW wineries are finding form again, and some new ones are worth watching closely.

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