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The wines of Rosemount Estate, Part II: premium wines

Continuing my assessment of Aussie pace-setter Rosemount Estate (see Part I, the cheaper wines), here are my notes for 14 of their top wines. Rosemount's premium range can be conveniently split into four parts. First is the Show Reserve Range, and then three regional groupings. Rosemount is a the leader in two smaller but high-quality regions in New South Wales, Mudgee and Orange. On the other side of the Dividing Range from the Hunter, they are at altitude, which results in slightly cooler temperatures, an extended growing season, and intense, flavourful wines. Finally, the warm McLaren Vale in South Australia produces a richer, softer style of wine, and is home to Rosemount's flagship red, the Balmoral Syrah. Overall, the standard of these wines is extremely high. However, prices are quite high; I think the best value in this range comes from the Mudgee wines (although steer clear of wines from the rained-out 2000 vintage). (Approximate retail price given in brackets.)

Show Reserve Hunter Valley Chardonnay 2000
From two vineyards in the Hunter (Roxburgh and Giant's Creek), fermented and matured in French oak. Quite a refined, rich nose with toasty oak and buttery fruit. Savoury, classy palate with complex nutty notes. Very good+ (c. £10)

Show Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Matured in 75% French and 25% American oak. Lovely, minty, pure blackcurrant and berry fruit on the nose with some spicy oak notes. Quite classy. Rich and full palate with a lovely density of ripe fruit and some tannins. A forward wine. Very good/excellent (c. £15)

Show Reserve Shiraz 1999, McLaren Vale/Langhorne Creek
Given the full American oak treatment, this is a deep red colour with a rich, exotic nose. Soft, ripe, rich palate with a spicy finish. Great concentration and depth of fruit (blackcurrant, blackberry and damson). Very good/excellent (c. £15)

Hill of Gold Chardonnay 2000, Mudgee
2000 was a disastrous vintage in Mudgee, but this wine, matured for six months in American oak, is light but characterful. Lovely spicy, floral, toasty nose leads to a palate showing light lemony fruit and savoury oaking. Dry finish. Very good (c £9)

Hill of Gold Shiraz 1999, Mudgee
15 months maturation in French and American oak. Deep red/purple colour, with an exotic nose of spice, menthol and new oak. Concentrated, ripe berry fruit on the palate with a big whack of spicy new oak. Quite a big wine, and currently quite oaky; the hope is that this will integrate better with time. Very good+ (c. £10)

Hill of Gold Cabernet Sauvignon 1999, Mudgee
A deep purple colour, this is a very concentrated wine that's spent some 18 months in new oak. Blackcurrant and spice on the nose, with a creamy, chocolatey palate. Rich and ripe, it has a spicy finish and some tannin. Delicious now, but with the potential to develop. Very good/excellent (c. £10)

Mountain Blue 1998, Mudgee
85% Shiraz, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, this is one of Rosemount's three flagship wines. It reflects the pronounced Mudgee regional character, but with a lush Rosemount twist. A deep red/purple colour, the exotic ripe nose shows a mix of spices, red fruits and tarry, spicy new oak. The palate is concentrated, rich and has high acidity, with lots of spicy new oak on the finish. It's a bold, stunning wine. Very good/excellent (c. £25)

GSM 1999, McLaren Vale
A Rhône-style blend (although nothing from the Rhône ever tasted like this) of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre, from old-vine fruit and aged for 18 months in American oak. It's a delicious, bold wine. The exotic, spicy nose is full-on but has some complexity (cloves, cinnamon, olives, herbs). The palate is rich and full, with a rich, dense texture. Excellent (c. £18)

Traditional 1999, McLaren Vale
A Bordeaux-style blend (again, nothing from Bordeaux ever tasted like this) of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot, given the full American oak treatment. The lovely rich nose of creamy, elegant blackcurrant fruit is lovely and open, with some herby, leafy notes and a touch of spice. The palate shows concentrated, rich fruit with a touch of spicy oak. Quite lush, with great concentration and class. Very good/excellent (c. £25)

Balmoral Syrah 1998, McLaren Vale
Rosemount's top red, this is a single-vineyard old vine Shiraz aged for two years in American oak. Classy, ripe spicy nose with smooth, luscious ripe fruit, joined by coffee, spice and olive notes. Hugely concentrated but well balanced palate with complex fruit and spice flavours and enough tannic structure for ageworthiness. Excellent (c. £35)

Orange Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1997
The fruit-forward nose displays ripe berry fruits, a touch of herbiness and some menthol new oak. The palate shows cool-climate fruit and juicy acidity. Good concentration; a distinctive, fresher style. Very good+ (c. £16)

Orange Vineyard Merlot 1998
Shy nose with tight knit berry fruit on the palate. High acid-style and some new oak. Needs time to develop some complexity; hard to evaluate now. Very good (c. £16)

Orange Vineyard Shiraz 1997
A deep purple/black colour, this has a lovely fruity nose with ripe berry fruit and cool climate minty notes, and a touch of caramel. The broad palate shows great concentration and is rich and pure, with a lovely, tarry, spicy character. Very good/excellent (c. £16)

Orange Vineyard Chardonnay 1998
The lively, fresh nose has an underlying richness from the new oak. Full, nutty, savoury, oaky palate with a lemony edge and some vanilla notes. Quite a different style to Rosemount's other Chardonnays. Very good (c. 14)

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