Sunday, October 22, 2017

Oliver's Taranga 2017 Chica Mencia Rosé

Mencia is one of the intriguing red wine grapes of Spain; planted mainly in the north-west of the country. It has characteristics in common with cabernet franc, often producing appealing lighter reds. There has been a revival of interest in the grape in recent years and it has also found a happy home in sunny McLaren Vale, where Oliver's Taranga were the first Australian winery to plant mencia. Here it is used in a fresh and dry small batch rosé that's full of spunky savoury notes and would pair brilliantly with a cheese and charcuterie platter. Winemaker Corinna Wright also makes a "joven" style red made from mencia that's designed for early drinking. $25.   

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Alkoomi White Label 2017 Semillon Suvignon Blanc

A batch of new releases from Frankland River winery Alkoomi arrived together, so I tasted them in a block. The 2017 riesling was very good, the chardonnay impressive, the sauvignon blanc excellent and this traditional West Australian blend topped the lot. All four wines are ridiculously good value given the RRP of $15 a bottle. You don't get a lot for that nowadays. A 68-32% blend, this is a terrific summer quaffer with bright fruit and plenty of palate length. Sessionable, too with lemon zest and nectarine flavours to the fore and lime sherbet notes on the finish. Well worth 90/100 and investing in a case for the warmer months ahead. $15.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Katnook Founder's Block 2015 Shiraz

Coonawarra, and Katnook Estate in particular, is better known for cabernet sauvignon than shiraz, but this shone brightly in a blind tasting alongside some more expensive, and more fashionable, cooler-climate shirazes. The truth is shiraz can often out-rate cabernet on the Limestone Coast and this is a prime example with fresh dark berry fruits to the fore with liquorice and subtle pepper playing solid support roles along with classy French oak. This is a wine that is affordable enough for everyday drinking but boasts terrific palate structure. Warm and generous, but in perfect balance, this easy to drink, even easier to enjoy. A solid 92/100. $20.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Tim Adams 2017 Clare Valley Riesling

I have been accused of reviewing too many rieslings, to which I can only plead guilty and throw myself on the mercy of the court, your honour. Young, fresh, vibrant rieslings are among my favourite wine styles; and they don't come much more impressive than the 2017 Clare Valley releases which are uniformly stylish and offer superb value. Clare rieslings are best enjoyed while young, or after being given several years of bottle age. This one is a good each way bet if you can restrain yourself right now. From one of the region's leading producers, it has vibrant citrus fruit characters and strict acidity. Only free-run juice was used to ensure fruit intensity. Enjoy a glass or two after work, well chilled, or pair it with just about any seafood dish. Delish. $22.  

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Battle of Bosworth 2017 Puritan Shiraz

An absolute ripper from Joch Bosworth and Louise Hemlsey-Smith in McLaren Vale - a "new wave" red that is all about pure fruit flavours. Made in the "Joven" or "young wine" style of Rioja, this is one of the first 2017 reds to cross my path. Made organically with no oak treatment and no added preservatives, it is designed for early enjoyment and that certainly works. Bright and fresh with dark berry and red fruit characters jostling for supremacy, this is a red that demands very little but delivers a whole lot. Soft and subversively slurpable. $22.   

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Clonakilla 2017 Canberra Region Riesling

Clonakilla is renowned for the consistent quality of its benchmark shiraz viognier, but the Murrumbateman winery is also building a solid reputation for the reliability of its outstanding riesling. For several vintages now Clonakilla has offered a serious challenge to the supremacy of the Clare Valley for top-notch rieslings. This is particularly fresh and zingy with lovely florals and bright citrus flavours ranging from lemon/lime to grapefruit. Throw in some bright natural acidity and tremendous length and you have a dry riesling of real appeal. This will also develop deliciously if you have patience. $38.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Penley Estate 2017 Coonawarra Spring Release Cabernet Franc

There is a definite movement away from heavy, oaky reds to lighter, easier-drinking styles and talented new Penley Estate winemaker Kate Goodman has captured the zeitgeist here with a delicious drink-now cabernet franc (a grape variety we should be seeing a whole lot more of). This was early picked, wild fermented and stayed on skins for almost a fortnight. It is made with zero oak influnce, instead shining a light on the quality fruit. It is low in alcohol at 13% and was made with minimal sulfites. Not what you'd expect from Coonawarra but a bloody beautiful drink with an eye-catching label. Pity about the wax capsule and cork - but you can't have everything. $35.