Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Woodvale 2014 Hootenanny GSM


Woodvale is the personal wine project of Kilikanoon winemaker Kevin Mitchell, one of the stars of the Clare Valley, and his wife Kathleen Bourne. They produce a very impressive range of wines, of which this is one of the standouts. It is a feisty blend of grenache, shiraz and mourvedre with bright sweet dark berry fruit and Asian spice flavours to the fore. As you'd expect, it is a wine that is beautifully poised; ready for immediate enjoyment but also cellar worthy for a decade or so. Well worth 93 points. $35. www.woodvalevintners.com.au

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Devil's Corner 2016 Riesling

My wife is a very reliable guide to wine deliciousness. If she tastes a wine she really likes she'll sigh with appreciation and demand a re-pour within a very short time. This is a superb Tasmanian riesling about which she is right on target. It's a fresh, vibrant and dry cool-climate white that's full of refreshment and palate interest that would pair brilliantly with anything from Thai stir-fries to runny cheese (we tried it with both). A blend of fruit from the East Coast and the Tamar Valley, this is aromatically appealing with fresh citrus sorbet notes, a zingy acid backbone and general joie de vivre. Best of all it has a recommended retail price of just under a lobster. You won't find many better wines for the price. $20. www.devilscorner.com.au.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Amato Vino 2015 Montepulciano

Brad Wehr gained notoriety for his funkily-labelled and easy-to-drink wines under the Wine by Brad label, but he's now spread his wings and sources fruit from regions outside West Australia, including some alternative varieties from the Riverland. This is a standout under his Amato Vino label made from the southern and central Italian grape montepulciano. This is medium-bodied, juicy, spicy and dangerously drinkable. Hand-harvested, 20% whole bunch, wild fermented, matured in French oak for 10 months, it is certified organic. Only 160 cases were made of this wine, but Amato Vino is certainly a label worth looking out for. $25. www.amatovino.com.au. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Pikes 2016 Traditionale Riesling


Year after year, the Pike family produce a great-value riesling that is one of the benchmarks for the Clare Valley, the region that is riesling heartland in Australia. This is the 32nd release of this wine and over that time it has barely skipped a beat. This is from an excellent vintage and is drinking impressively in its youth with fresh citrus aromas and flavours, crisp acid and length that suggests it could cellar for a decade or more. I’d enjoy it now - and did. 
$22. www.pikeswines.com.au.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Brachetto d'Soumah 2016


Here's something deliciously different to enjoy during the dying days of summer: an Australian take on a classic sparkling wine style from Piedmont in northern Italy. Low in alcohol at 9.5%, this is a fresh and vibrant alternative to moscato, made by Soumah Wines in the Yarra Valley. My wife described it as a "cheerful wine that was like a dip in the surf on a hot day". Brachetto is a variety that has strawberry and musky characters.This is made in a "frizzante" style with soft bubbles and vibrant red fruit notes, along with astutely judged sweetness. Try a glass after work. $25. www.soumah.com.au.  

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Wickhams Road 2016 Yarra Valley Pinot Noir

Here we go again. I invariably have at least one or two wines under the 1er Yarra Valley, Hoddles Creek or Wickhams Road labels awaiting a review slot. All three labels belong to the d'Anna family in the Yarra Valley are bywords for both quality and value. This is, I believe, the best sub-$20 cool-climate pinot noir in the country; fruit-driven and startlingly sessionable. Think dark fruit, 20% whole bunches in the ferment, 20 days on skins and a wine that has been bottled without filtration or fining. This is juicy and spicy with soft tannins and is ridiculously good for the price. $17-$20 depending on where you buy. www.hoddlescreekestate.com.au.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Logan 2015 Apple Tree Flat Chardonnay

There are precious few chardonnays of this quality that can be found for under $15 a bottle, but Peter Logan and his team have hit the quality/price bullseye with this very fresh, very clean offering. This is a blend of fruit from cool-climate Orange and warmer Mudgee from a very good vintage and has a melange of citrus and subtle stone fruit flavours along with cashew nut hints and some briskish acid on the finish. Wild years ferment and eight months on lees added complexity but the style is still very much fruit forward. Nicely balanced at 13% alcohol; a good match for fish, pork and chicken dishes. Excellent midweek drinking. $13. www.loganwines.com.au