I had a chance to very briefly sample a few of the mid-year new release Giaconda wines earlier this evening. Giaconda from Beechworth in Victoria, is famous for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which are released along with the Cabernet and Shiraz towards the end of the year, but they sell two interesting white wines in the middle of year as well as a new release of the second tier “McClay Road” label from fruit that didn’t make the cut for the Giaconda label.

The Nantua ‘Les Deux’ Chardonnay 2005 is comprised of 93% Chardonnay and 7% Roussanne. The nose has elements of stonefruits, peach, apple and roasted nuts to it. The palate has an interesting texture to it, but I also found some bitterness that caused disruption to the line and the focus. I’ve never really had much affection for previous vintages of this wine and my mind wasn’t changed by this. At $45 a bottle, it isn’t for me. 87/100

Next up was the Aeolia Roussanne 2005. The nose is waxy as well as showing ripe pear and lemon rind characters. There is an oily texture and luscious, viscous mouth-feel to the palate while still having focused acidity and avoiding being over the top. It finishes with a bit of a punch and with good lasting length. It’s not really my style and at $75 I’m not tempted, but it is certainly interesting and I could see some people with different tastes getting excited about it. 90/100

McClay Road Shiraz 2005 is the second release of this second-tier Giaconda label, the first being the declassified, smoke-tainted 2003 vintage wines. I’m reminded a bit of the Castagna Sauvage 2003 Shiraz by this, although the McClay isn’t quite as feral. The complex nose does display lovely savoury smoked meat characters and black pepper. The palate is balanced and while the depth and length are slightly lacking, the wine as a whole is going to be good to drink over the next couple of years. At around $35, it is just about at the right price for what it is. 90/100

Finally, I was able to try the “Warner Vineyard” Shiraz 2004 which has just been delivered in the past couple of months to customers who ordered it late last year. Deep set aromas of graphite, blackberry, spices and earth. It has powerful, deep fruit that is tightly coiled and hits the palate with precision, great length and superb balance. Completely seductive and the antithesis to the ripe, high alcohol, fruit and oak monster Australian Shiraz that seem to get all the attention overseas. An exceptional wine and I’m glad to have a couple of bottles put away to drink over the next 6-8 years. 94/100

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  1. […] With this in mind, some friends and I set out to try four vintages of each of the four top wines produced by Giaconda to see if the wines live up to the hype (leaving out the two “lesser” wines Nantua Les Deux and Aeolia Roussanne and second label McClay Road wines, some of which I talked about here). From the cellar door, new releases of the Chardonnay are $98 AUD, Shiraz $80, Pinot Noir $67 and Cabernet Sauvignon $55. […]

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