26 September 2023

A reasonably priced merlot

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By John Rozentals.

Chateau P´etrus is a dry red wine that’s very nearly mythical and spoken of in hushed tones.

It is made from 100 per cent merlot in France’s Bordeaux of Pomerol and fetches some $2600 per 750ml bottle — yes, that’s right, some $2600 per 750ml bottle — making it one of the world’s most expensive wines.

And before you think that I’ve lucked it in again, a bottle hasn’t just lobbed on my desk. In fact, I’ve never even tasted the stuff.

What has just lobbed on my desk is a bottle of Shaw Wines 2017 Canberra Merlot, priced at quite an affordable $28 per 750ml bottle.

Australian vigneron, Graeme Shaw, based near Murumbateman in southern NSW, wouldn’t claim I don’t think in an eon that his wine is quite in the Petrus class.

Yet I find it quite a charming red in its own right, with heaps of soft red-berry flavours.

“We use a Select Harvester with a de-stemmer and sorting table attached, so just berry and juice is collected. I’d argue that the quality achieved is better than hand-harvesting and has the added bonus that we can do it all at night,” said Graeme.


Chateau Martinolles 2018 Limoux Chardonnay ($19): a bright, old-vine chardonnay from Jean-Claude Mas, the creator of France’s popular, outrageously cheap Arrogant Frog range. The dry white is creamy, full-flavoured and stylish enough to sit on its own, but at its best with creamy-sauced white meats served with plenty of mushrooms. From the Limoux region of southern France.

Chateau Paul Mas 2018 Languedoc ($21): an earthy dry red blended from syrah (85 per cent, 12-22-year-old vines), grenache noir (10 per cent, 28-year-old vines) and mourvedre (5 per cent, 18-year-old vines. The estate is named after Jean-Claude Mas’s father, with whom he started making wine at a young age. Take to a bistro and match with any hearty red-sauced dish.


Shaw Wines 2019 Canberra Riesling ($30): I love this crisp mouthful of citrus, floral flavour but I’ll let Graeme have the final word: “As well as picking later we also let the bottles sit in our cellar for a little longer. Because of all the flavour compounds in this wine it takes a while to settle so we tend to release it the year after production. The acid balance is such that this wine is lovely in its youth, but if you have the will power not to drink it, then it also has great ageing potential and will cellar over the next 15 years.”

NOTE: Potential travellers should check the status of individual events and establishments with regard to the coronavirus outbreak.

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