Whilst the title of the entry may sound a little risqué and a little nod towards Canberra’s liberal laws of “marital aids,” it rather is referencing the wines tasted, that is, Capital Wines 2011’s Shiraz and Merlot
Capital may do a capital job of Rieslings, and like those wines, make an outstanding entry level and a premium version. In this instance, the premiums come from their estate block vineyard, Kyeema. One of the few in the Canberra region to be classified as ‘old growth,’ the Mooney’s have come to view themselves not as owners, but as custodians of wonderful piece of Australia’s viticultural history.
The Backbencher 2011 Merlot
Red fruits, meaty and herbal (almost green) nose with a little bit of pencil shavings, empty cigarette packet and plum skin. Rounded, medium palate. Judicious use of oak that gives frame. Very soft plummy fruits provide an ease of drinking without complexity yet there’s enough spice to make it interesting. Finishes a little short, but this is more a product of vintage rather than a consistent theme of the maker. Quaffable.
Alc: 13.2% RRP: $25
The Frontbencher 2011 Shiraz
Amen, a modern Australian Shiraz under 13% ABV, but again, a product of the vintage. Soft, restrained nose. White pepper and plums and raspberries and more white pepper. Medium/Light bodied and light in colour without being too washed out, almost pinot-esque in structure. Good spice, more white pepper and a little leather. Light, tight red fruits in a feminine manner. Definitively a product of 2011 and for drinking now.
Alc: 12.5% RRP: $25
Kyeema Vineyard 2011 Merlot
Immediately the difference is noticeable on the nose. Deeper richer fruits yet still undeniably Merlot. There’s freshly sharpened pencil, spice, good herbaceous notes and some fresh earth. Palate has a little dry leather, lovely herb/spice reminiscent of fresh tobacco. Mulberry to black fruits, with a distinct, almost cold drip coffee finish. Structure is supplied from some fine grained tannin. Good for drinking now but will be an interesting beast in a little while.
Alc: 13.0% RRP: $52
Kyeema Vineyard 2011 Shiraz
Plum jam without being jammy. White pepper with almost a clove-esque spice. Like the Kyeema Merlot, the jump of quality is immediately noticeable. Palate is assaulted with more white pepper. Small dark berry/currant flavours (you know, the ones that look a little like rabbit poo), filled out with fresher plum and almost cool blue fruit puffed up some youthful oak sweetness. There’s juicy acidity to give length and whilst I’ve mentioned it: very deft oak treatment. Considering the alcohol is low for a modern Australian Shiraz, the flavour extraction from the fruit of the vintage has been done very well in the winery. I opened the bottle 2 days ago, gave it a swirl and put it away before this tasting and it’s not showing any signs of easing up. By far the best release out of the 4.
Alc: 12.4% RRP: $52
All wines samples courtesy of Capital Wines