Wine Reviews

Lark Hill Dark Horse Viognier 2012 and Terra Felix Viognier 2009

Viognier, once seen as a successor to the reign of sauvignon blanc (or is it pinot gris, grüner veltliner, vermentino or the latest Greek arrival …), can be a troubling grape with its propensity for high alcohol coupled with unripe flavours.  When managed well though it can produce the goods, and here are two well-priced and good examples of completely different viognier styles.

Lark Hill Dark Horse Viognier 2012, Canberra District
The Dark Horse Vineyard suffered hail damage reducing the crop by a huge 80% and 2012 was wet and cold in the Canberra region.  The latter I suspect more than a few Australians would argue, possibly unfairly, is perfectly normal for Canberra.  Supplemented by a small amount of its fellow Rhône bedfellow, marsanne, the 2012 Dark Horse Viognier is bright in the glass, and a pale lemon in colour.  It has quite intense aromatics of flowers, musk, apricot flowers and yellow grapefruit, rounded out by some old oak.  The palate is dry with medium body, “disguised” acidity (it seemed low at first, but then suddenly was quite pronounced), a streak of spiciness, flavours of yellow grapefruit and is quite restrained, minerally even, with shortish length.  I think this is a good and expressive viognier, clearly reflects its season and is suitable for current drinking.  Good

Abv: 12%
Price: $25
Source: sample
Vendors: Check
Tasted: 2012

Terra Felix Viognier 2009, Central Victoria
From rain and cold in 2012 in the Canberra region, we now move to 2009, the last year of the terrible Victorian drought.  In case I haven’t said this more than 1000 times – vintage and regions matter in Australia – I think only the ill-informed would consider the position otherwise.  Terra Felix’s viognier is from grapes grown in Nagambie, and presents strangely enough much like a Condrieu in style.  A bright gold in colour, it has pronounced intensity aromatics of honey, bright apricots, fragrant flowers, an almost kerosene like character, talc, stones and musk.  The palate is dry between medium and full bodied, with soft acidity, medium length, and a bitter-sweet fruited edge.  This is quite an interesting and complex wine, unexpectedly so for its low price, and is recommended.  Good

Abv: 14%
Price: $17.50
Source: sample
Vendors: Check
Tasted: 2012

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