The SOMM Journal

April / May 2015

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Page 33 of 112

{ }  33 and tannins fine and firm. The younger wines were more to my taste, although Leeuwin Estate Art Series 2005 took my second highest mark above their 2011, and they will come into their own over the next decade. Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends have a fine present and even greater future in Margaret River. Overall, I found a refreshing atmosphere of "work in progress", nothing being taken for granted. The Chardonnays are becom- ing leaner, refreshing and even a little tight when young, while Mike Peterkin of Pierro stands firmly behind his acclaimed broader style; Semillon is encroaching on Sauvignon Blanc, especially at Cullen and McHenry Hohnen and these two estates are strong on Malbec and Petit Verdot. Pinot Noir is disappearing, Pierro once again standing firmly in favour, Merlot is gaining trac- tion—a 100% un-sulphured 2014 from Cullen was all pure blackcurrants—while Cabernet Franc is in the experimental stage. According to Nick Power, the region could well double in vineyard size, a pos- sibility I usually view with concern, but not so for Margaret River. Adelaide Hills Due to its cool (for Australia) climate, most of the vineyards being located in the Mount Lofty Ranges to the east of the city where clouds from the west collect over the green hills, Adelaide Hills was the first region to establish a reputation for citrus- fresh Sauvignon Blanc. To the north, the neighbouring region is McLaren Vale but the styles are quite different. Sauvignon Blanc still dominates, with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir produce fine wines, both still and sparkling, while Riesling and Pinot Gris are showing elegant fruit and Shiraz, even Cabernet Sauvignon, good ripeness and structure. I first visited Adelaide Hills with Michael Hill Smith and Brian Croser, the former still working with his cousin Robert at the historic Yalumba Estate before creating Shaw + Smith with another cousin Martin Shaw in 1989, and the latter making his name at Petaluma, which was subsequently taken over by the Australian brewers Lion Nathan and is now owned by Kirin brew- ers from Japan. This time, my wife and I were staying with the Hill Smiths and the following morning drove to the discreetly modern winery for a tasting. Shaw + Smith began over a long lunch when the two cousins decided to realise a long dream to make wine together. Michael Hill Smith was first Australian Master of Wine and the winner of the inaugural Madame Bollinger Tasting Trophy. Martin Shaw graduated from Roseworthy College in 1981 and worked with Brian Croser at Petaluma for eight years prior to setting up the "Flying Winemakers" net- work in France, Spain, Chile, Australia and New Zealand. Their vision was to make exciting, refined wines exclusively the Adelaide Hills that would rank amongst the finest in the country. It is safe to say that they have succeeded in this and recently have pushed their sights further with the purchase of the exceptional 20-hectare (49-acre) Tolpuddle Vineyard near Hobart in Tasmania. Michael showed me his recent releases: Sauvignon Blanc 2014—silver pale, both tropical grapefruit nose, lovely florality, clarity, slightly exotic on the palate, bone dry with mouth-watering acidity, voted once again Australia's best Sauvignon by James Halliday; M3 Chardonnay 2013— fine lemon yellow, citrusy nose, beautifully expressed palate with the fruit still emerg- ing, a great wine for Burgundy lovers, the 2010 tasted later was superb; Pinot Noir 2013—bright colour, lovely Pinot nose floral but also briary, nice suppleness on the palate and grip on the finish, very European in style; Shiraz 2013—deep col- our, lovely crunchy black fruits nose with depth and grip on the palate like a top Crozes-Hermitage, a classic Syrah/Shiraz. We then tasted the cousins' first two bottlings from Tolpuddle Vineyard, 2012 being a cool year, 2013 being much warmer. Chardonnay 2012—fullish lemon/yellow, lemony green apple Chablis style nose with good breadth and Chassagne-Montrachet flavours on the palate, a really fine expres- sion of Chardonnay; Chardonnay 2013— more florality and more lifted fruit on the nose, perhaps more clarity and precision on the palate, very fine but very young still; Pinot Noir 2012—fullish red, earthy/briary nose, really good middle sweetness on the palate in a broad yet fresh style; Pinot Noir 2013—brighter colour, more floral, more Vosne-Romanée to 2012's Beaune profile, vibrant, savoury palate, still very fresh, a great vineyard Pinot Noir. There is no need to choose between these cool but contrasting regions, for their wines complement each other quite perfectly. Shaw + Smith's Balhannah Vineyard below the Mt. Lofty Range in the Adelaide Hills. Chardonnay vineyards at Pierro in Margaret River.

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