In an interview with Leanne de Bortoli recently, her description of Australian wine shows being about “improving the breed” (as opposed to simply best of breed) cast them in a new light. She posited that, going forward, wine shows will reveal which new varieties are most likely to succeed in Australia.
De Bortoli wasn’t just referring to The Alternative Wine Show, which was established expressly for that purpose. Take the CARTeSIAN McLaren Vale Wine Show last October in which a third of the trophies went to non-traditional varieties and blends, including SC Pannell Tempranillo Touriga 2010 and SC Pannell Grenache 2010. Out of the way Shiraz and Cabernet!
Crowned The Bushing King, which recognises the region’s most awarded producer, Steve Pannell commented “with our Mediterranean climes we can produce an amazing array of wines and styles….We should be looking for lighter, more characterful wines – less dominated by oak and singular, sweet palates – which still speak of place and interest.”
I haven’t tasted the trophy-bagging 2010 vintages (an excellent year), but I was impressed by the 2009s which are included in a tasty discounted case deal promoted by Oz Wines (together with 3 bottles of SC Pannell Shiraz Grenache 2007 and 3 bottles of Willunga 100 Cabernet Shiraz 2010, also very good). Here are my notes on the Tempranillo Touriga and Grenache from July 2011:
SC Pannell McLaren Vale Grenache 2009 (McLaren Vale)
With an RRP of £43.99, this is an ambitious Grenache but then it’s quite beautiful, skilfully harnessing the best of the grape (its heady, floral perfume, fleshy red fruit and seductive tannins), while retaining clarity and line. Ripe but present tannins and a waxy petal quality make for a subtly ruffled texture. Long, layered and utterly enchanting. (Individual bottle price £39.99 at Oz wines; 6-bottle price at The Fine Wine Company £36.25)
SC Pannell Fleurieu Touriga Nacional Tempranillo 2009 (Fleurieu)
Heaps of white pepper, rock rose (very Touriga) and Turkish Delight on nose and juicy palate, which shows blood plum, dark cherry and bright red fruits; lovely freshness – a sleek and slippery mid-weight summery wine.