Reviewed by 
Jim McMahon

From the Central Ranges of NSW I offer you the Windowrie Reserve 2012 chardonnay from the O’Dea family, which has been making wine in Cowra for the past 25 years. A vibrant green lemon colour gives way to a nose of apricot, apple and grapefruit with underlying vanilla oak. The palate is crisp and refreshing with the French oak adding to the texture and palate weight without overpowering the varietal fruit flavours. The finish is crisp and intense with nicely balanced fruit and acid oak integration adding to the appeal of a wine that’s punching above its weight in the chardonnay class (rrp $25).

A nice little duo of wines from Orange-based Angullong was tasted recently — the Pretender 2012 savagnin and the 2011 chardonnay. Firstly the savagnin: it is pale straw in colour with a green hue. The nose is very aromatic with white pear and citrus flavours. The palate is generous with ripe varietal fruit flavours combined with crisp acids, part of the foundation of this style. It further showed texture with a rounded mouthfeel and the ripe pear dominating.

The reason that Angullong called it the Pretender is, I think, because this grape variety was confused with the Spanish albarino. Spain’s exports of “albarino” to Australia’s CSIRO over 25 years ago were, in fact, savagnin. This only came to light here in Australia three or four years ago when the mistake was confirmed by DNA testing. Albarino was an alternative grape variety which was then on the rise and when the mistake was discovered it had to be re-labelled savagnin. There are about 40 producers of this style in Australia (rrp $22).

Next comes the Angullong 2011 chardonnay, vibrant, green straw yellow in colour. The citrus and grapefruit flavours on the nose are forward. The palate is refreshingly crisp with green apples, mandarin and citrus flavours. The oak, if any, is minimal while the fruit shines on the palate combined with crisp acidity on a dry, fruit-driven finish (rrp $17).Bendigo in Central Victoria gives us the next wine, the Blackjack Chortle’s Edge 2010 shiraz. A vibrant purple colour gives way to a fragrant plum, cherry and black peppery and spicy bouquet. The palate is soft and offers judicious amounts of red/black berry fruits combined with subtle oak and silky tannins. The finish of this medium bodied wine is dry and fruit (rrp $18).

Tempus Two Copper Series 2012 tempranillo is from a Hunter-based winery going great guns with its wines. This grape variety originally hails from the Rioja region of Spain where it reigns supreme and is pronounced temp-rah-nee-oh. The grapes that go into making this wine come from Victoria and South Australia. The wine offers a vibrant purple colour with an inviting pink rim. The nose shows ripe redcurrant fruits with cedary spice such as cinnamon and black pepper. The palate is soft and silky with ripe mulberry, plum and dark cherry flavours in abundance. The oak is minimal and is nicely interwoven with the soft silky tannins on a dry medium-bodied finish (rrp $23).From Jim Barry Wines, the Cover Drive 2011 cabernet sauvignon is deep inky purple in colour. The nose offers herbal spicy vanilla oak flavours with generous amounts of blackcurrant notes which stand out. The palate is enhanced by rich black berry fruits and wild berries which are nicely interwoven with the oak. The finish is dry with velvety tannins adding to the allure of this wine style. It has a medium to full-bodied finish with fruit aplenty.

Next comes its stable mate by way of the Lodge Hill 2011 Shiraz. Bright crimson in colour with a vibrant pink hue around the rim of the glass. Peppermint and black peppery spice stand out on the nose as does the redcurrant and mulberry flavours which are all very enticing. The palate is soft and fruity with redcurrant fruits dominating the blackcurrant fruit flavours. The vanillin oak is nicely handled and offers structure, body and flavour to this wine. The finish is dry and full bodied with depth and complexity. Both wines from the Jim Barry portfolio come highly recommended (rrp $22.95).

The Dandelion Damsel of the Barossa 2011 merlot has a vibrant deep purple colour with an inviting pink hue around the rim of the glass. The fruit on the nose jumps out of the glass with perfumed cinnamon blackcurrant/redcurrant fruits dominating. The palate is soft and flavoursome with subtle tannins giving way to a wine with power and length. The finish is dry with nicely integrated acid, oak and tannins. It’s a lovely wine from the people at Dandelion and well worth the money at $27 for a quality drop.

Still from Dandelion comes the Wonderland of the Eden Valley 2012 riesling. Green straw in colour, the nose offers minerality and slight restrained citrus flavours. The palate is fruit-driven with white pear, citrus and grapefruit flavours. The clean, acid finish is crisp and dry with a mineral streak running right through the wine. A riesling coming from the region noted for this variety, it will develop a lot further with careful cellaring and bottle age (rrp $27).Mud House Wines are a particular favourite of mine mainly because I’ve visited the winery/cellar door on many occasions over the years and I like what it produces, especially the pinots and off-dry rieslings. Here I offer you the 2012 Mud House Marlborough (NZ) sauvignon blanc. Vibrant green straw in colour, the nose offers grassy, herbaceous, citrus flavours. The palate is lively with racy acidity and offers flavours such as blackcurrant bud, citrus and passionfruit characteristics on a firm dry, acid finish — a typicalMarlborough sauvignon blanc if ever there was one (rrp $22).

Jim McMahon teaches hospitality at Sutherland TAFE.