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Linden's Weekly Trio
A recent trip to New Zealand was a salient reminder of how rewarding and interesting it is to taste fine expressions of grape varieties from ‘new’ regions outside the variety’s classic roots. With that thought in mind today I went through our list to find examples of syrah, pinot noir, and cabernet ‘by another mother’ than Rhone, Burgundy or Bordeaux.
These examples, I feel, exceed the concept of mimicking the classics, and offer something new, something different, at the same quality level as their varietal forebears.
2014 Kosta Browne ‘Keefer Ranch’ Pinot Noir (WA 96)
A mid depth of colour; gorgeous scented sweet plum with a touch of leaf on the nose; full, round, voluptuous and seductive on the palate, pinned by a bright line of acidity. My favourite wine at our Kosta Browne tasting in October 2016, a wine that impressed me deeply. A re-taste last week reconfirmed the love.
2008 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia ‘Ornellaia’ (WA 97)
1250 kilometres east of its varietal DNA — 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot — the fabric is Bordelais, but the cut is definitely in Bolgheri Tuscan bella figura. The 2008, from ideal conditions, is one of the great classics. Quality to knock on the door of the first growths.
2004 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz (WA 90+)
Syrah (shiraz) is almost as old as European settlement in Australia, and the “modern" ‘St Henri’ label dates to the 1950s (though it was even produced in the 19th century). What I love about St Henri is the counterpoint it provides to the compact, oak-laden intensity of ‘Grange’. The St Henri fruit is matured in old 1460 litre wooden vats that impart no real oak flavour or texture to the wine. It’s a ripe, very pure-fruited style of shiraz, unmistakably South Australian, a world away from its Northern Rhone origins. These magnums are now entering their most interesting drinking window.