Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Vasse Felix 2015 Chardonnay

Vasse Felix winemaker Virginia Wilcock is in a fine vein of form with her chardonnays over recent vintages. If she were a tennis player she'd be one of the grand slam favourites. This has been released for several months and has settled into a real groove of excellence, even though it is in the lower tier of Vasse Felix chardonnays. It is just gorgeous right now with all its elements singing in perfect harmony. Citrus and spice on the nose lead to a palate with pristine lemon/lime and stone fruit notes along with zingy acid and crisp minerality. French oak adds interest and depth like a great bass guitarist adds to a rock anthem. Classic Margaret River character and length. I'll give this 94/100. Great value for $37. www.vassefelix.com.au.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sandalford 2016 Estate Reserve 2016 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon

How good is this? Founded in 1840Sandalford is one of Western Australia's oldest and largest privately owned wineries. It started life in the Swan Valley and is now one of the powerhouses in Margaret River, where it was one of the pioneers. This is a perfect summer wine; a blend of two grape varieties that are like yin and yang (or Eminem and Dido) in Margaret River. We tried this alongside several other WA blends and it was a clear winner with terrific zesty freshness. Lemon and lime notes and tropical fruit flavours co-exist joyously. It is crisp, dry, uncomplicated and perfect with or without food on a warm afternoon. Simply delicious and good value for $20-25. www.sandalford.com

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Pierre Brevin 2015 Selection Rosé

The rosé revolution is well and truly in full swing this summer; with more wine lovers opting to enjoy well-chilled pale pink and savoury dry rosé wines. On Christmas Eve we had around 50 people around for a drink or two before our local village parade. Rosés, both French and Australian, proved extremely popular but this Loire Valley wine was the almost unanimous favourite and I quickly had people coming back for refills. That was quite remarkable because this was the cheapest of all the rosés on offer - with a recommended retail price of just  $13. It can often be found on special at Dan Murphy's and BWS stores. Made from cabernet franc grapes, this has freshness with bright red fruit notes and a dry finish. Uncomplicated but very gluggable. Two of my neighbours headed off to the local BWS to buy some a couple of days later. Charming, light, crisp and deftly balanced. $13. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Hand Crafted by Geoff Hardy 2016 Arneis

Arneis is an Italian grape variety that thrives in Piedmont but is fast emerging as one of the leaders of the new-wave white pack in Australia, alongside vermentino and fiano but with just a tad more sophistication. This is deliciously floral and dry Adelaide Hills choice for summer enjoyment, unoaked and bursting with white stone fruit and grapefruit notes and vigorous natural acid. It has been lees stirred for a few weeks then rushed into the marketplace while still full of cheeky vivacity. This one just leaps out of the glass and can be enjoyed chilled. From young vines it is probably best enjoyed in its youth; frisky and coltish. Well worth 93/100. 
$25. www.winesbygeoffhardy.com 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Longview 2016 KÜHL Gruner Veltliner

Gruner Veltliner is a vibrant and spicy Austrian grape variety that is proving very popular, and successful, in cooler regions of the Adelaide Hills. This wine from the Saturno family is one of those leading the way - it is low in alcohol at 11.5% but high in flavour and drinking pleasure. KÜHL - the German word for cool - has been chosen to reflect both the climate and the groovy bottle and presentation. From young vines, this is a very impressive offering with crisp green apple acidity and hints of white pepper. It's downright delicious chilled and well worth 92/100. $25. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fetherston 2015 Pinot Noir

A massively impressive debut from a new Yarra Valley label with this excellent pinot noir released alongside a very good chardonnay. Only 1000 bottles were produced of this juicy, tangy little number with red berry fruit from Steels Creek allied to restrained oak, forest floor elements and hints of Asian spices. Whole bunch fermentation and older oak give excellent balance and structure, too. This offers immediate drinking pleasure wth the promise of medium-term cellaring and makes Fetherston a label to look out for in the future. A very tidy 93/100. $28. www.fetherstonwine.com.au

Monday, December 5, 2016

Zonin Ice Prosecco

It is that time of the year when people are looking for cheap and cheerful sparkling wines for Christmas parties or New Year toasts. While wine aficionados adore the complexity of Champagne, or the bright acid of Tasmanian sparkling wines, most casual wine drinkers actually want something chilled and refreshing and with some fruit sweetness (think sweet red apples in this case). This fits the bill - and is designed to be enjoyed on the rocks in a round-stemmed class, perhaps with lime zest or fresh mint, or perhaps with fruit liqueurs, kir style. Launched over the European summer by Italy's leading prosecco producer (Zonin dates back to 1821), this is a fun aperitif with low alcohol levels and broad appeal. And the price, $12.99, is certainly right.