Monday, October 8, 2018

Jacob's Creek Estate 2017 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Much as we would all like to spend our lives sipping Grosset rieslings and Henschke Hill of Grace, the reality is that most of us have wine budgets that are far more modest. That is why many wine lovers have favourite "midweek" bottles that retail for between $12-$20 but still provide satisfying vinous experiences. This is a very good wine indeed at a lower price point; with ripe, dark blackberry characters from Limestone Coast fruit - and impressive structure. The recommended retail price is $17.99 but I've seen it on special for several dollars cheaper. Snap up a bottle, taste it blind alongside something that costs $30ish, and be prepared for a pleasant surprise. $16.  

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Coldstream Hills 2017 Deer Farm Pinot Noir

This was one of the standout wines at a recent Treasury Wine Estates new-release media tasting; a single-vineyard Yarra Valley pinot noir of serious style and substance. From the cooler Upper Yarra this is extremely poised and elegant; not a Burgundy Villages imitator but certainly an impressive homage. From a very good vintage, this is impressively aromatic  with a ballerina-like light-footed allied to plushness on the palate. Excellent work from winemaker Andrew Fleming, who has let the quality fruit express itself without any interference. Great value at $50.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Kooyong 2016 Ferrous Pinot Noir

It really is hard to choose a  favourite from among the stellar 2016 single-vineyard pinots from Mornington Peninsula standout Kooyong - but the complex and savoury Ferrous just gets the nod in an all-star cast. The ironstone pebbles in the 20-year-old Tuerong vineyard give the wine terrific architecture with the tannins providing the framework in which quality dark cherry fruit characters and hints of spice lead the way with support from largely aged French oak barriques. The fruit here is beautifully layered with earthiness, structure and length. I'm happy to give this 96/100 and to bet most buyers find it too delicious right now to even think of cellaring it. $76.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Taylors 2016 St Andrews Chardonnay

There are some very good wines being made at Taylors in the Clare Valley right now; winemaker Adam Eggins is producing winners at several different price points. I was particularly taken by this very classy chardonnay, a vinous prom queen that's a little flashy but a wine of serious beauty. The fruit is a deft blend of white stone fruit and citrus sherbet flavours with lots of length and with quality French oak playing an impressive support role. Crisp and flavoursome and a brilliant match for roast pork and crackling. $40.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Angove 2017 Organic Merlot

This is one of the standouts from an impressive -  and affordable - range of certified organic table wines from family-owned Angove, proclaimed as being both vegan friendly and made using minimal preservatives. The fruit used is from the irrigiated Riverland at Renmark, but this is a soft and smoooth wine, with dark berry and plum flavours to the fore and oak playing a minimal support role. It's long and silky, would be great with gourmet hamburgers and offers very good value for $17. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Hickinbotham 2016 Trueman Cabernet Sauvignon

The Hickinbotham wines being carefully crafted by Charlie Seppelt and American Chris Carpenter in McLaren Vale are hugely impressive. Across the board they are wines of class, style and substance. This quite splendid single-vineyard cabernet sauvignon is all about balance. It was hand-picked, whole berry sorted and open fermented, spending 18 days on skins. Basket-pressed and then matured in new and one-year-old French barriques, it is powerful but sleek. Think blackcurrant, herbal and leafy nuances, soft tannins and seductive length. A classsic "claret" style. One for the long haul but deliciously drinkable now. I give it 96/100. $75.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Chapel Hill 2018 Chardonnay

How good is this? Serious chardonnay from a leading regional producer for under $20.This is flavoursome but beautifully balanced, presumably early picked to grab all the freshness and vibrancy. There are several standouts being made by Michael Fragos and his Chapel Hill team and this is one of them, with fruit purity the cornerstone and some barrel fermentation adding textural interest. Just a small percentage of the brisk fruit sees older oak, the rest is matured in stainless steel. Pair this wine and its crisp acid with an old-fashioned roast pork roast. Downright delicious and great value. $18.