Chris Shanahan reviews: Why two Hurley Vineyard 2013 pinot noirs are top drops

Chris Shanahan
<p>

 

Hurley Vineyard Hommage and Garamond Pinot Noirs 2013
Hommage and Garamond vineyards, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
$70 and $85
★★★★½
Points: 96

This review covers two Hurley Vineyard 2013 pinots – one from the Hommage block ($70), the other from Garamond block ($85). They were tasted masked, then, after unveiling, consumed over the next hour or so. Hommage shows a vibrant, ripe, pure and mouth-filling side of pinot – fragrant, generous and round, but with a good backbone of soft tannin. The more intense Garamond shows pinot's tighter, leaner face, with stemmy and savoury characters woven in with the fruit, and quite firm tannins attenuating a long, satisfying finish.

Chapel Hill The Parson Shiraz 2014
McLaren Vale, South Australia
$15.20-$18
★★★½
Points: 90

Winemakers Michael Fragos​ and Bryn Richards consistently turn out excellent McLaren Vale reds. While the best of these sell for around $75, the winemakers take their entry-level shiraz very seriously indeed. The Parson captures the essence of modern McLaren Vale shiraz. Bright, fresh and clean, it combines plummy varietal flavours, which dominate the wine now, with the Vale's earthy savour and fine but grippy tannins. Bigger retailers discount the wine regularly, currently to $15.20 in six bottle lots. This is a bargain.

Yering Station Chardonnay 2013
Yering Station vineyards, Yarra Valley, Victoria
$40
★★★★
Points: 94

Where riesling largely expresses varietal fruit flavours, unadorned by winemaker inputs, the best chardonnays carry the winemaker's thumbprint. In modern Australian winemaking that means aromas, flavours and textures introduced by fermentation and maturation in oak barrels – plus other factors, including whether grape solids are included in the ferment, the type of yeast (inoculated or indigenous) and whether malolactic fermentation occurs, either partially or fully. Yering Station builds on juicy, vivid grapefruit- and nectarine-like varietal flavour with barrel-derived texture and funky aroma.

Richmond Grove Limited Release Riesling 2015
Watervale, Southern Clare Valley, South Australia
$18.05-$22
★★★½
Points: 90

Way back in 1998, inspired by winemaker John Vickery, Richmond Grove led the modern charge into screw caps – arguably the wine industry's greatest quality breakthrough in a generation. Vickery retired from Richmond Grove in 2009, but his winemaking style continues with this delicious riesling. From the warm 2015 vintage, it's fuller and rounder than usual, but remains packed with Watervale's signature lime-like aromas and flavours and brisk, refreshing finish.

Pouilly-Fume Clos des Criots (Domaine Christian Salmon) 2013
$32.90-$39
★★★★
Points: 92

Before Marlborough seized Australia's sauvignon blanc market, what little of the variety Australians enjoyed came mainly from Pouilly-sur-Loire and Sancerre in France's Loire Valley. This excellent Pouilly-Fume shows a shy, demure side of sauvignon, the antithesis of Marlborough's uber-fruity style. Herbal and savoury varietal flavours come on a fresh, soft, supple, smooth-textured palate. Loire sauvignons can be green and austere, but this one offers ripe flavours and slips down easily. Available at Jim Murphy's Airport Cellars. (Stocks of the 2013 vintage are low but the 2014 is being distributed).

Colvin Wines Sangiovese 2005
De Beyers Vineyard, Pokolbin, Hunter Valley, NSW
$33.35-$35
★★★★
Points: 92

The Colvin family owns De Beyers vineyard, located near Tyrrells at the base of the Brokenback Ranges – a majestic backdrop to the lower Hunter Valley wine region. The family grows Hunter staples, semillon and shiraz, but added Tuscany's sangiovese in 1995 and 1996. Though Tyrrells now make the wine, this early vintage was made by the late Trevor Drayton, a good friend of John Colvin. Ten years after vintage, the medium-bodied wine combines freshness and sweet fruit with the mellow flavours of age, a unique Hunter earthiness and tender tannins. It's available in limited quantities, along with other vintages, at colvinwines.com.au.

chrisshanahan.com