d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2010
McLaren Vale, South Australia
At a recent tasting, drinkers gravitated to d'Arenberg The Dead Arm and drained the bottle ahead of the others on the table. Tasters acknowledge the lush, elegant beauty of Lark Hill Shiraz Viognier 2013 and the drink-now appeal of Serafino Sorrento Shiraz 2013. But the intriguing power, richness and burly tannins of the inky deep d'Arenberg wine upstaged them all. At four and a half years, it tastes young and vigorous – suggesting a long cellaring life in a consistently cool, dark cellar.
Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay 2014
South Eastern Australia $5.60-$10
Lindemans Bin 65 began as an export brand in the 1980s and was later introduced to Australia. The brand suffered terribly following the disastrous Rosemount move into Southcorp Wines in 2001. The Lindeman brand fared little better after Foster's acquired Southcorp in 2005, or after Foster's pushed the under-performing wine division out on its own as Treasury Wine Estates in 2011. But the brand team now hopes to resurrect Bin 65 and its cellar-mates with a label redesign. Good luck to them. The wine, however, offers fresh, clean, easy drinking and offers particularly good value when on special.
Oakridge Local Vineyard Series Chardonnay 2013
Guerin vineyard, Yarra Valley, Victoria $36
Winemaker David Bicknell is on the money again in the warm 2013 vintage with this full flavoured but delicate chardonnay. He writes, "A traditional winemaking approach was used to produce this wine – hand pick and whole-bunch pressing direct to 500-litre French oak puncheons for a natural fermentation followed by an 11-month maturation on lees". Ripe varietal flavour – at the citrus and melon end of the spectrum – provides the wine's attractive fruitiness, which works harmoniously with the funky, spicy and textural elements introduced by barrel fermentation and maturation.
Mount Horrocks Riesling 2014
Watervale, South Australia $28–$33
Stephanie Toole's 2014 riesling shows the full flavour of a warm vintage. Lime-like varietal flavour remains at the centre of the wine, with fresh acidity giving structure and length to the finish. For such a young wine, however, the palate texture is particularly rich – a characteristic of good riesling, but not always apparent in youth. "The reds have deep colour and intense flavour, and the whites look great, very generous in flavour with good acidity", says O'Toole of the 2014 wines.
Best's Bin No. 1 Shiraz 2013
Great Western, Grampians, Victoria $23.75-$25
Best's of Great Western, Victoria, produces a range of shirazes, some of great longevity. In 2000 the Thomson family introduced Bin 1 shiraz at a lower price and made it a softer, drink-now style. The latest release, from the warm 2013 vintage, offers a brilliant crimson-rimmed colour, sweet, intense summer-berry aromas and a vibrant palate, brimming with those berry flavours. Pepper-like character is less apparent in the warm vintage, though a general spiciness adorns the fruit and fine, soft tannins give structure and length to the finish.
Next of Kin Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Margaret River, Western Australia $15-$18
Margaret River's Xanadu, owned by the Rathbone family, makes some of Australia's best cabernets, including the impressive $65-a-bottle Stevens Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 reviewed here in August. As so often happens in the wine industry, the skills learned and applied at this level, eventually flow down to lower priced products, like Next of Kin. While the cheaper red doesn't offer the profound depth and longevity of the Stevens Road wine, it rates among the very best drink-now style cabernets in Australia. It offers genuine cabernet aroma, flavour and structure, with a particular emphasis on bright, juicy fruit flavours.