The Thursday Tipple – 2008 Tallagandra Hill ‘9 Barrels’

by C.A. Bonham

Situated in Gundaroo just north of Canberra is Tallagandra Hill. Brad and Annemaree Schafferius planted their vines in 1998, engaging both Greg Gallagher (Gallagher Estate) and Rob Howell (Jeir Creek) as their winemakers. They knock out around 1000 cases a year across nine different wines… but you’re a well-versed Canberran up to date in all things culinary so you would already know this.

What are we drinking?

The 2008 9 Barrels. 75% Shiraz and 25% Cabernet Franc. We tasted this blind and NONE of us picked it as a Canberra Region wine, it’s a bit different. “A good different or bad different?” you may ask. Well…

Lets get something of our chests…

Wines can present you many different characteristics, some of which some people (not Canberrans, of course) then attribute to wine’s quality and how it should be judged. This is not okay. … If it’s a well-made wine, it’s a well-made wine. And that’s what we have here; a well-made wine that’s… well, different.

9 Barrels is hearty, deep, and dark red in colour. Pepper, cloves and overtones of smoked oysters. Wow. This has a gorgeous velvety mouthfeel which, paired up with coarse but gentle tannins, make for complex (but still fun) drinking. The 25% Cab-Franc adds a different element for a Canberra Shiraz and we think this should cellar for a few more years quite nicely. The 9 Barrels is not an overly polished wine, but then doesn’t need to be. Canberra is giving us enough soft, delicate reds so there’s room for an animal such as this.

So, how much for that doggy in the window? The good news keeps on coming. The 9 Barrels is a good buy at a most reasonable $21 a bottle.

Where can I get it?

Like we said, only 1000 cases a year are produced, so it’s not filling up restaurant wine-lists. If you want some of Tallagandra Hill‘s wines you will need to order online, visit the cellar doors (weekends and public holidays only) or, alternatively, the team at Plonk in the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets stock a small range of their wines.

Well done, Tallagandra Hill.

Bon Vivant