Current Issue #488

Wine Reviews:
Adelina, Tahbilk, Campo Viejo

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the festive season, the joys of a new decade are beckoning, and that New Year’s resolution to drink better is still fresh in your mind. These drops are a great start.


2019 Watervale Riesling
RRP $25

We’re in peak riesling season and your post-Festivus training has been tapering nicely. You’ve never been in better shape. It’s time to make good on that New Year’s resolution and get stuck into more riesling. You know that’s a good idea.

Now, 2019 wasn’t an easy year in the Clare Valley with below-average crops reported due to poor set at flowering and drought conditions throughout the region. The riesling from Clare in 2019 seemed to hunker down and there are many wonderful wines that display all the requisite characters that we have grown to love from the region.

Exhibit A: the 2019 Adelina Watervale Riesling from Clare Valley dynamic duo Col McBryde and Jennie Gardner.

Often in years when the yields are lower, you’ll find the concentration in the wines ramps up a little. Minerality too… which is kind of counter-intuitive but, you know, wine’s weird like that sometimes. I often get an intense mouthwatering character from riesling from Watervale too…. Sub-regional nuance and all that cork-dork stuff… subsoil limestone and cool breezes off the gulf.

Juicy fresh lime juice characters, Christmas lily florals, some soft spice and a glimpse of bath talc on the nose. In the mouth the wine walks the ridgeline of dry and off-dry, balanced just so. There’s tension. Tight, vivid acidity on the finish with slurpy, floral-flecked, lime fruits. Sapid and pure, there’s a lot packed into this wine and it’s just delicious. And value, too. I’ve mentioned riesling is great value before right? Get amongst it.



2013 1927 Vines Marsanne
RRP $45

I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days at the iconic Tahbilk winery in the Central Victorian wine region of Nagambie recently. It’s one ofAustralia’s most famous family-owned wineries set in stunning surrounds with 11 kilometres of Goulburn River frontage and a further 8 kilometres of frontage nestled up to the Goulburn’s various anabranches, wetlands and backwaters.

Five generations of the Purbrick family have been involved in Tahbilk over the years and 2020 sees the winery celebrating its 160th anniversary. If you find yourself around Nagambie you must visit to genuflect before the 1860 planted shiraz vines and marvel at the heritage-listed building and deep historical resonance of the place. It’s pretty cool. They produce a wonderful range of wines but here we’ll concentrate on their marsanne which is rightly seen as a benchmark for the variety in Australia. The ‘standard’ Tahbilk marsanne is a beautiful thing with honeysuckle and white floral notes that morph into toasty characters with careful cellaring. And it has a formidable track record of ageing magnificently.

The ‘1927 Vines’ marsanne is another riff on the variety, treated more like a Hunter semillon, picked early, certainly tighter and linear in its structure. Where the standard Tahbilk marsanne becomes more expansive with age, the ‘1927 Vines’ reveals its charms more slowly, retaining that tightly bound framework which reins in the expansiveness of those toasty characters as it ages. It provides endlessly complex and captivating drinking. Wonderful stuff.


Campo Viejo

2014 Riojola Reserva
RRP $20

We don’t often discuss imported wines in these here pages. Reason? We are pretty spoiled for choice with wonderful wine producers in South Australia and in the regions of our brothers and sisters across the country. But sometimes it’s good to reflect on and chat about tradition. After all, many of the varieties planted in our beloved wine regions are there because we sought to emulate the great wine regions of the world. We’ve staked our own claim at greatness now but it’s always nice to go back and visit wines from the great European regions.

The first thing that struck me about this wine is it presents fantastic value. Tick.The second is that due to its savoury cadence, it kind of effortlessly slips into the food/wine conversation. Great food wines are often said to be like an extra implement at the dining table. Not imposing their will on the diner, matching the dishes with aplomb and generally not making a nuisance of themselves. Tick.

Thirdly, there is something undeniably comforting about drinking wines with a strong bloodline of tradition. It’s like slipping into a well-worn armchair. In particular, the aromas from traditional tempranillo Rioja wines tweak my old hippocampus and conjure up memories of all manner of things for me ranging from childhood memories of my dad’s wood workshop to great meals with friends. And I love that.

Aged for four years, this blend of tempranillo, graciano and mazuelo shows aromas and flavours of plum, cherries, dried cranberries, sandalwood, baking spice, clove and vanilla. Gentle old oak nuance throughout . Savoury, old-school and lovely.

Campo Viejo

Dave Brookes

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