Regions >New South Wales > Southern NSW zone >Canberra region

: Helm



Butt's Rd, Murrumbateman, 2582

Cellar Door: Thurs - Mon (10 -5)

Ph: (02) 6227 5953

Helm cellar door
The Helm cellar door is located in an old school hall that was used for Temperence Union meetings (photo: genxywines)

The winery was established back in 1973. The cellar door is located in the 1888 former Toaul Public School that ironically was once used for Temperance Union meetings. The bell on the label acknowledges this school house connection.

Ken Helm is one of the region's pioneers and he continues to be strongest advocates for the Canberra district, and also one of the first to establish markets outside of Canberra.

Ken's landmark 1988 Cabernet Sauvignon won a top Gold Medal at the Sydney Wine Show and helped put Murrumbateman on the map as a serious wine district. The winery is located on a hill about 6 km from Murrumbateman.

The range includes wines of consistently good (and sometimes great) quality depending on the vagaries of the region's fickle vintage conditions. In the early days there was a sherry and the German white variety, Muller Thurgau.

The wines, from a mixture of estate and local vines now reflects the Murrumbateman's strengths - Riesling (in a variety of dry and sweet styles), Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Chardonnay.

Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

Helm Premium Riesling 2013

Purchased: Cloudwine, South Melbourne ($30)

Drink: 2015 or 2024+ if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: May 2014, floral and brightly flavoured lime and apple with citrus blossom and acacia notes, focussed, long and chalky with a dry, steely finish and tangy grapefruit acidity (****1/2)

Helm Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: May 2014, spicy blackcurrant essence and redcurrants with menthol, cedar and herbal notes, light-medium bodied with a slightly hollow finish, powdery green-edged tannins (***)

Helm Premium Riesling 2012

Purchased: Not ($48)

Drink: 2014 or 2022+ if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting:  Nov 2012, perfumed rose petal and lavender floral, long, minerally and fairly intense lime rind, apple and passionfruit with zesty pink grapefruit acidity and a touch of lemon barley on the finish,  well balanced and tautly shaped with wet slate finish, vibrant but long living style (*****)

Helm Classic Dry Riesling 2011

Purchased: Not ($29)

Drink:2013 or 2022+ if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2011, the low yield from this challenging wet, humid vintage led to the declassification of the fruit from the Premium to the standard Dry Riesling, green yellow colour, expressive and fairly intense lime zest, apple blossom and pear with racy pink grapefruit acidity and pronouced lavender florals, tautly shaped with excellent length and a wet slate finish, the low 11.2% alcohol is a plus (****1/2)

Helm Classic Dry Riesling 2010

Purchased: Not ($28)

Drink: 2012 or 2020+ if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2010, Gold Medal at Canberra Regional Wine Show 2010, focussed but intense and penetrating lime and green apple with white flower and rose petal notes, razor sharp flinty minerality with zesty lemon rind acidity, very long and taut finish (*****)

Helm Premium Riesling 2009

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2010, Trophy for Best Dry White at Canberra Regional Wine Show 2010, even more intense than the Classic Dry but will be more early developing, spicy and tangy lime rind, passionfruit and green apple with rose petal and musk notes, some barley sugar notes belie the warm vintage, talcy minerality with a steely finish (****)

Helm Premium Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Purchased: Not ($52)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2010, rather dry, earthy and savoury dark plum and cassis with anise, olive and pepper notes, the medium bodied palate arguably lacks the fruit intensity expected of a premium, infused with strong cigar box and cedar French and US oak aspects, dusty tannins starting to mellow (***1/2)

Helm Premium Riesling 2008

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: July 2008, pristine and tightly structured style showing intense lime, tropical fruit and pear flavours with lime passionfruit nuances, talcy bath powder texture leads to a steely mineral base and zesty and lingering lemon citric acids, powerful but well balanced (****1/2)

Helm Premium Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: July 2008, quite intense for the region showing dense blackcurrant and dark plum with anise and cracked black pepper features, medium-full bodied (14.8%) with plenty of cedar and earth notes running through the glycerol smooth palate, fine tannins and a touch of cigar box on the finish (****)

Helm Classic Dry Riesling 2007

Purchased: Cellar Door ($28)

Drink: 2010 or 2017 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: July 2008, Silver Medal at Canberra Wine Show 2007, intense lime and green apple flavours with some dried herb nuances, well balanced by the flinty mineral base and zesty lemon citrus acids, impeccable length (****)

Helm Half Dry Riesling 2008

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: July 2008, softer off dry Mosel style, crisp red apple and lime with some brown spices, soft talcy bath powder texture and some brisk but not bracing malic acids on the finish (***1/2)

Helm Cabernet Merlot 2004

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: July 2008, softer drink soon style with mulberry and plum flavours with the Merlot bringing black pepper and body to the mid-palate, savoury and medium bodied with lots of coffee and cedar from the French and American oak support (***)

Helm Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: : July 2008, the first in many years for Helm, non-estate, generous tropical fruit, lime and passionfruit with some snow pea on the crisp finish, lingering minerally finish (***)

Helm Classic Dry Riesling 2004

Purchased: BWS, Kingston Shops, Canberra ($25)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2007, yellow-gold colour, lime and passionfruit, medium bodied underpinned with chalky lemon acids, dry minerally finish, good length developing toasty honeysuckle aspects (***1/2)