Monday, May 21, 2018

Atze's Corner 2016 The Giant Durif

So you like your red wine with plenty of power and personality? Let me introduce you to a monster from the Barossa, a Giant by both name and nature. This is a heavyweight bruiser going for a knockout finish. Just 375 cases of this were made by sixth-generation winemaker Andy Kalleske and the wine is full-bodied and full-blooded, dark, ripe and almost overwhelming in its power, although it has a silky, smooth finish. Durif, also known as petite syrah, shines in warm climes and the fruit used here has thrived in deep red clay soils. Kalleske says this will cellar up until 20130. Presuming you may wish to open it a little earlier, then a bold beef casserole would be a very good companion. $30.      

Friday, May 18, 2018

Cullen 2016 Diana Madeline

If the apocalypse were approaching and I only had time to savour one drink, then this would be a leading contender. This Margaret River benchmark is, to be blunt, downright spectacular with high-quality fruit, purity, elegance and texture and what Vanya Cullen describes as the "classic Cullen Vineyard Wilyabrup flavours: cassis, violets, chocolate and ironstone". This is a lifted, vibrant red that has soaked up mainly new French oak from barriques. A blend of 93% cabernet sauvignon, 5% merlot and 1% each of malbec and petit verdot, this is absolutely superb right now, but will cellar for decades. Impeccable balance, just 12.5% alcohol, from a certified biodynamic and carbon neutral estate. 97 points from me. $130.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Mitchell 2017 Watervale Riesling

The Mitchell family has been crafting excellent wines for decades now; and re-visiting this old favourite after a couple of years was a revelation. The Mitchells only release their wines when they believe they are ready. Hence the rieslings are launched later than many of their regional rivals, and current-release reds can be up to seven or eight years old; reserve reds a decade or more. The Mitchells also farm organically, which gives their wines real personality. This is a classic Watervale riesling with sparky citrus aromas and intense, tangy  grapefruit flavours. Beautifully fresh, balanced and with an edge of bright acid minerality, this is a truly lovely dry white wine that offers stupendous value.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Vasse Felix 2015 Premier Cabernet Sauvignon

The quality of the wines being made by Virginia Willcock at Vasse Felix in Margaret River just keeps soaring. This is characterful, fleshy, elegant, concentrated and appealing in the regional style. It was the first red wine produced in Margaret River and has been made every year since 1972. In this vintage, a savoury nose (think a fragrant compost heap or pot pourri) leads on to a body with dark fruit cake flavours, cassis and biscuity/chocolate notes, beautifully integrated with spicy oak. I'm happy to give this 96 points and would advise buying at least half a dozen so that several bottles can be cellared. $45 - and a very good buy at that price.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Innocent Bystander 2017 Pinot Noir

Quality pinot noir is becoming increasingly expensive as it grows in popularity with Australian drinkers. Some producers are able to ask - and get - $50 for their entry-level offerings. This Yarra Valley wine is a nice surprise, then, well-made, flavoursome cool-climate pinot at a sensible price. Think black cherry flavours with hints of Asian spice, some savoury deli hints and a very soft and supple finish that makes it accessible in its youth. Seriously good buying here; and with the money you save you can probably afford some roast duck to go with it. $25.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Brown Brothers 2014 Patricia Noble Riesling

Named after late family matriarch Patricia Brown, the Brown Brothers' Patricia range highlights the finest wines produced by the benchmark Victorian winery. The range varies each year with only wines judged as being outstanding making the cut. I was a big fan of the 2013 Patricia stickie and the 2014, using riesling from the King Valley, is another standout. A multiple god medal winner, this continues a long line of botrytis-affected wines dating back to the early 1960s. It has a beguiling blend of natural sweetness and acid and is delightfully balanced, as well being vegan friendly. Complex and concentrated with classic Scottish marmalade flavours and a silky finish. $37.  

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Michael Hall 2016 Blanc de Pigeon

British-born Michael Hall is one of the fascinating stories of the Australian wine industry; a former jewelry valuer who changed career streams mid-life and now crafts some intriguing wines from various sites in South Australia, including the Barossa and the Adelaide Hills. This is a beguiling white blend from the Hills, an unusual combination of chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. All the fruit has been barrel fermented and spent nine months on lees in quality French oak. The end result is cerebral, textural, delightfully balanced and decidedly gluggable. $28.