A day on the Leura Park

Leura Park is a very popular place on weekends in Geelong, with exceptional outdoor dining (marquee tents and all…) and a range of wines to suit all tastes. They even have a wine “for people who think they don’t like wine” (Ms Flamingo and Associates – not rated here, but worth a try for something different).

25 d’Gris Pinot Gris: OUR PICK FOR BEST WHITE and also the best name for a wine we saw on our walkabout on the Western Victorian coast. The pear smell and beautiful light golden colour are typical Pinot Gris characteristics although the bouquet is not as forceful as some wines can be, it is otherwise faultless, clearly announcing its variety. The palate is more complex than many Pinot Gris wines attempt to be, and in this case it works quite well, with the acid coming through quite nicely and not destroying the taste. The fruit in the palate plays a bit of a background role, which is disappointing because it is very pleasant; the aftertaste is similarly let down despite very good balance, structure and length. $35 per bottle.

2017 Riesling: A curious wine, more a New Zealand style Riesling in many ways. The nose has suggestions of Botrytis (there is none however, unlike many NZ Riesling wines) due to the late picking of the grapes but otherwise everything about the way this wine looks and smells indicates Riesling which is excellent to see. The wine tastes young, but smells a bit older which is curious; the fruit is front and centre without dominating and there is good length to the palate and a pleasant, well balanced aftertaste with the acid levels kept under control. $35 per bottle.

2016 Chardonnay: This is a wine that has all the right signs but somehow just fails to put it all together in a complete package. The colour is a brilliant gold with amazing depth, inviting you into the glass. The bouquet is moderately strong, has clear varietal expression and supports the visual cues. Upon tasting, the nutty or buttery characteristics of Chardonnay come to the fore in brilliant style, but the fruit is unable to come through in support making the flavours a but average in concentration and quality. For similar reasons, the aftertaste is unable to recover and remains somewhat out of balance, despite the good length. $45 per bottle.

2017 Cabernet: Sauvignon OUR PICK FOR BEST RED. This is a well made Cabernet Sauvignon with a medium-dark colour in the glass and a restrained nose that shows the signs of good cool-climate Cabernet Sauvignon with the forest-floor smells coming through, albeit not too strongly. There is reasonably good complexity in the palate, but exceptional fruit flavours really bring this wine into medal contention. The aftertaste is very well balanced, pleasant and shows good length and tannin structure. $42 per bottle.

2016 (2015) Shiraz: Two years of Shiraz were available for tasting, but the 2016 is the current release so that is what will be reviewed here, with notes of difference where applicable. The nose has signs of olive and pepper, with the 2015 showing more floral and herbaceous tones than the 2016. The 2015 also smells younger than the 2016 making it a nightmare for blind tastings! There is very good fruit present in the palate, with some pepper adding an intriguing secondary spice flavour. The 2015 shows more of the red fruits than the 2016, but retains the pepper flavours and smooth tannins through the well balanced (better in the 2016) finish. $45 per bottle.

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