McWilliams Mount Pleasant Cellar Aged Hunter Semillon 2007 $17–$20
One of the best wines I encountered over the festive season cost a mere $17, despite coming up for its ninth birthday, and having been perfectly cellared before release. Mt Pleasant Elizabeth held its own against many considerably more expensive whites. And every mouthful thrilled, almost distracting us from school prawns fresh from Lake Coila. Good cellaring and a screw cap meant the wine showed the lovely, rich, honeyed character of age, while retaining great freshness and lemongrass-like varietal flavour. It's available through McWilliams online cellar door and at many retailers.
Long Rail Gully Canberra District Riesling 2015 $22
Long Rail Gully Riesling 2015 looked good on its release last September. By January, when we tasted it at Narooma's Quarterdeck restaurant, it had really blossomed, as Canberra rieslings do after several months in bottle. The wine showed a delicious, lime-like flavour and delicacy to match grilled mirror dory. Its tingly acidity cut through the tang and savour, too, of fried whitebait and spicy sardines. The wine, made by Richard Parker, comes from the Parker family's 22-hectare Long Rail Gully vineyard, established at Murrumbateman in 1998.
Capital Wine Kyeema Vineyard Canberra District Reserve Shiraz 2013 $52
The Kyeema vineyard at Murrumbateman dates from the early 1980s and is now part of Capital Wines, owned jointly by the Mooney and McEwin families. Winemaker Andrew McEwin makes the wines in a comparatively sturdy style for Canberra – in particular, the reserve reds from the Kyeema vineyard. In a recent tasting, McEwin's 2013 shiraz opened deep-coloured with savoury flavours and firm, fine, grippy tannins. With a little time and exposure to air, the wine's berry, spice and pepper flavours pushed through on a silky, though still solid, palate. It's a wine to savour slowly on a special occasion and has good cellaring potential.