Philip Shaw, Orange
Orange may not be Australia’s best known wine region but it is currently one of its most exciting. As a region it is almost unique in being defined not just by geography but also by altitude. To qualify as Orange vineyards must be at an altitude of at least 600m, guaranteeing great, cooler climate growing conditions. Philip’s Koomooloo vineyard has no difficulty in qualifying as it sits at up to 900m, putting in the top 1% of Australia’s highest vineyards.
The location, coupled with a scrupulously hand-maintained vineyard allows Philip Shaw to make exactly the wines that set out to back in 1988 when he planted the vineyard. “I think great wines should have silk, a softness, a texture – in Chardonnay and Pinot particularly but to some degree it should be in all wines. The tannins should be elegant and soft. It’s about finishing a wine off, not refining it, but getting it right. It’s in the making – a marriage between the vineyard and the winemaking.”
The Architect Chardonnay 2013 £12.79
Subtle, elegant and composed. Time on the lees and about 6 months in old barrels have added to the complexity without overshadowing the pure fruit that make this such a compelling wine.
The Dreamer Viognier 2014 £12.79
Fresh and bright, with the opulence of the peach and apricot fruit counterpointed by a minerally freshness and a hint of spice.
The Conductor Merlot 2012 £12.79
There’s plenty of ripe red berry fruit here but there’s much more to this wine than just that. Herbal, eucalyptus notes and sweet vanilla round out a beautifully balanced and interesting wine.
No. 8 Pinot Noir 2012 £24.85
Just wow, this is delicious stuff. This is also sadly the last 6 bottles of the 2012 that were available. I’m sure the 2013 will be great too but having tried the 2012 I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to snaffle some. This is no blockbuster style of Pinot Noir but it simply oozes charm, refinement and delicacy and while it may not be big it lacks absolutely nothing in complexity. I should warn you to grab a bottle before I drink it all.
The Hedonist Vineyards, Walter Clappis
The name gives an accurate idea of the style of wine that Walter Clappis has set out to make in the McLaren Vale. Using their own biodynamically grown fruit Walter, along with his daughter Kimberly and son-in-law James, make wines of generosity, purity and character.
The Hedonist Sangiovese 2012 £15.00
Satisfyingly chunky with a generous helping of cherry fruit backed up with delicate cinnamon spice and supported by lush, ripe tannins.
Franklin Tate Estates
Franklin Tate Estates is a relatively new venture for Franklin Tate. This veteran of the Margaret River wine scene needed something to keep himself busy after he parted ways with Evans & Tate, a winery founded by his father where he oversaw the eventual merger with Cranswick Estates.
With about 100 hectares of vineyards in the heart of Margaret River’s prime wine country Franklin Tate produce wines that are more delicate and structured than some of those produced in warmer regions.
Franklin Tate Estate Semillon/Sauvignon Blend 2013 £11.29
Harvested at night to ensure freshness and crushed and pressed gently under oxygen free conditions this is a wine of real delicacy and precision. Very fresh and appealing yet with a satisfying weight partly from the Semillon in the blend and partly from a little lees aging.
Franklin Tate Estate Shiraz 2012 £11.29
Elegant and fruit forward with plenty of bright berry and plum fruit. This is underpinned by fine ripe tannins and a dusting of freshly cracked peppar. Given the price there is a huge amount of class crammed into this bottle.