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The wines of Charles Melton, Barossa Valley, South Australia

Krondorf Road, Tanunda, Barossa, South Australia (post: PO Box 319, Tanunda, Barossa, South Australia 5352
Phone: +61 8 8563 3606 Fax: +61 8 8563 3422
E-mail: cmw@charlesmeltonwines.com.au
Website: http://www.charlesmeltonwines.com.au 
UK agent: Liberty Wines (e-mail info@libertywine.co.uk)  


[see a more recent review of this producer]

This boutique winery in South Australia’s Barossa Valley has a special place in my affections: it was the first ever winery I visited, back in March 1996. I’ll try not to let my fond memories of that trip cloud my judgement here, though. Total production is fairly small, at 17 000 cases, and the best known wines here are the Nine Popes (a witty play on Châteuneuf du Pape), and the Shiraz. Charlie Melton himself is one of the pioneers behind the revival of interest in the Barossa. He started out on his own in 1984 when old Shiraz vines were mistakenly being ripped out by an industry that thought its future lay in ‘cool climate’ wine regions and Cabernet Sauvignon. Low yields and traditional wine making techniques are employed here. From the slightly weak 1999 vintage in the Barossa these aren’t quite as good as I remembered them from previous years, but they’re still fairly impressive wines

Rose of Virginia 2001
Vivid pink/red colour. Pronounced fruity nose with strawberry fruit and a touch of spice. High-acid palate tastes a bit confected. Good/very good

Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Lovely forward nose of sweet berry fruit with a complex herby/tarry edge. Rich concentrated fruit and sweet spicy oak on the palate: a rich and satisfying style. Very good/excellent (£21 Noel Young, Berry Bros, Villeneuve)

Nine Popes 1999
Red/black colour. Slightly reticent nose with some spice and sweet berry fruit. The palate is rich, herby and spicy with great concentration and some tannic structure. Needs time to develop complexity. Very good+ (£23 Ballantynes, Villeneuve, Berry Bros)

Shiraz 1999
Deep coloured, concentrated wine with a liquoricey edge to the nose. Ripe, sweetly fruited palate shows a good density of ripe berry fruit, a spicy edge and firm but fine-grained tannins. Potential here. Very good/excellent  (£21 Noel Young, Ballantynes, Berry Bros)  

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wines tasted January 2002