VINTAGE SPECTATOR: Designer wines

A dozen wines with labels designed by some of Australia's best-known artists have been released to raise money for charity and there's some nice drops amongst them.

The Key Report

About to come on the market is a collection of wines with labels especially designed for them, organised by Rory Kent of V-know. The altruistic idea is to raise $25,000 for Make Poverty History. There are only 20 bottles of each wine available.

The retail price is $100 a bottle except for the Katnook, which is $160. But as organiser Rory Kent points out: "In addition to the front label where the only barrier to design is imagination, each bottle also has a back label featuring an individual number and note from the designer about the artistic concept, giving the series longevity as a collectable as well as cellaring."

The table below contains a full list of the wines and the respective artists who donated their time. Several of the wines we received for review: For those who want to know where I sit in relation to points, 85 is sound average wine.

WineArtist
Brookland Valley Chardonnay 2004Florence Broadhurst
DeBortoli Noble One 2006Six Degrees
Katnook Odyssey Cabernet 2001Matthew Sleeth
Kiltynane Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2006Joost Bakker
McHenry Hohnen Tiger Country 2005George Calombaris
Phi Yarra Valley Sauvignon 2007Paul Bangay
Punt Road MVN Pinot Noir 2006Chris Connell
Shadowfax One Eye Shiraz 2004David Band
Taylors St Andrews 2005 RieslingAkira Isogawa
Willian Downie Pinot Noir 2007Ben Frost
Yalumba Signature 2004Cindy-Lee Davies
Yarra Burn Sparkling Rose 2003Alannah Hill

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Yarra Burn Sparkling Rose 2003: A Pinot Noir Chardonnay blend that’s an extremely attractive deep coral pink colour with medium and persistent bead. Broad on the nose but good yeasty characters coming through. Very well balanced in the mouth with plenty of flavours unfolding on its journey; good length and good long aftertaste. [92]

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Brookland Valley ‘Reserve’ Margaret River Chardonnay 2004: Leaning towards the gold part of the colour spectrum, for me a wine that sits at the richest part of the chardonnay scale I want to go. Having said that, it’s a delicious drink but only if ‘dumbed down’ by being served well chilled. It’s good to very good but for me doesn’t enter the ‘great Chardonnay’ class. [90]

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Taylors ‘St Andrews’ Clare Valley Riesling 2005: It could be the beach at the end of the garden; maybe the shed or even the dunny…this is one of those wines I want to sneak away from every one else, make myself comfortable and drink; a magnum I might consider sharing. Lime edge to the nose, beautify balanced in the mouth; the full enchantment of Riesling swelling around filling all parts of the palate. The whole is finely underscored with clean steel-like acid that carries the flavour all the way to the end. The aftertaste is long and satisfying. [95]

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Katnook ‘Odyssey’ Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2001: A subtle Cabernet nose of blackcurrant with a pleasant earthiness in the background. The fruit intensity hits straight away and for a moment is too much. Fortunately it settles very quickly and the wine’s maturity starts to show. It’s a fine expression of Cabernet Sauvignon with plenty of life left in it. [94]

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Shadowfax One Eye Shiraz 2004: Ripe soft red fruits with an intriguing and attractive dusty edge on the nose. Very soft top notes – the wine is velvet-like as it majestically rolls across the palate. However it’s what’s going on underneath that shows this wine has depth and character, not just beauty skin deep. [94]


The wines are available from the following Vintage Cellars stores:
– 481 Toorak Road, Toorak, Vic,
– 34 Coonan Street, Indooroopilly, QLD
– 95 Nicholson Road, Shenton Park, WA
– 396 New South Head Road, Double Bay, NSW


Tony Keys writes for The Key Report and the KROW (Key Review of Wines) amongst other wine industry publications.