Lark Hill (Cellar Door) – Canberra District April 2014

As a Canberra local it’s only natural for me to completely take for granted the local wineries, and not visit them until having a visitor to take around. This seems to be a common theme among locals of most wine regions, they rarely if ever visit them and typically when they do visit it’s because they’ve moved away from the locale and have come back visiting friends, and now that the wineries are no longer just a few minutes down the road they must fulfill the need to visit (me after I moved from Adelaide to Canberra re: McLaren Vale), or ([and] as in the case for me after 8 years in Canberra) they have a friend or family member staying who’d like to check out the local wines.

In my case my mum visited, and we got a chance to check out the local wineries and my thoughts on other CD’s and wines will be posted in the coming weeks (probably months), but for now my visit to Lark Hill:

Lark Hill is a biodynamic winery, personally I don’t mind if wine is grown bio-dynamically, organically, or with the assistance of modern pesticides and fertilizers, however anecdotally, those who are prepared to put the effort into maintaining a certification for BD or Organic tend to work pretty hard to get the vines to express a sense of place (or as the Frogs would say Terrior) and pretty tasty wines.

On this trip, I was driving, so the bulk of my thoughts and comments are based on the nose (of which I find a good portion of enjoyment in a wine can be gained); Some I did of course taste and spit, and they will be noted. I have not recorded recommendations to buy/skip wines in this case because my tastes and yours will likely not be the same, and quite frankly, it’s worth checking out the winery and making your own mind up, especially if you’re a local to the region . Due to some time constraints some of my notes now make little sense to me, so take them with a grain of salt, as they represent moment in time what’s going through my head.

[ Key ]:
B = Purchased
S = Smelled
T = Tasted
W = Wishlist for another day (most of the wines are want’s at some point but given limited budgets, the ones I really want to come back and grab a couple of).

We were greeted in the cellar door by the softly spoken, and quite knowledgeable Sue who ran us through the range available for tasting.

2012 Riesling: [S+T] This was a Lemon/Lime combo hit to the nose, quite alluring; On the palate the nose came through as expected based on the smelling – Lemon/Lime w/ Zestyness. Yummo!

2013 Viognier: [S] This wine is to the spicy/musky end of the spectrum, relegating the oft found apricot characteristic to playing a minor role.

2012 Chardonnay:[S] Smells like VF (What ever that means?- EDIT: VF = Vasse Felix – a lovely ’09 Chard from them that we’d had recently), well integrated and nutty.

2013 – Mr V (Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier): [S+T] Nose is intriguing, the palate is spicy, with a very good mouthfeel.

2013 ‘Eliza’ Risling: [S+T+B] Named for the cute little 3 year old daughter of (i think) Chris at the winery this is an off dry Rizza that has a lime sherbert nose. The palate the lime sherbert came through on the palate, the acid is brilliantly balanced with this style, it’s a vibrant wine, and one that mum grabbed a few of.

2013 Sangiovese: [S+T+B] Nose is dusty, alluring cherries come through, almost a hint of mulberries with a hint of star anise. Palate – soft tannins; food friendly I’d match to pizza (or nearly anything Italian).

2013 Pinot Noir: [S+W] Sour cherry end of the pinot spectrum, slight edge of gameiness.

2013 Shiraz Viognier: [S] Excellent schnoz – initial whack of white pepper, sour/juicy fruit then set the stomach grumbling follows.

2009 Exultation (Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Sangiovese): [S+T+W] Nose – tar, truffles, anise/licorice. Palate – firm tannins, sour acid, really a nicely integrated wine. A definite check out again.

2012 Auslese Riesling: [S] Tiny edge of kero on the nose and marzipan. A rich descendant smelling wine, but one that does not give an indication that it would be cloying and sickly. I recall sticking my finger in an tasting just a little of this, it was tasty. Mum bought a few bottles.

Overall I enjoyed the stop at Lark Hill and would love to revisit (I also must try and buy their bubbles) and would definitely revist. The restaurant on site has also been added to the must sample list.

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