Monday, June 17, 2019

Les Peyrautins 2017 Syrah-Grenache

Les Peyrautins is a new range of French country wines imported by Angoves. This is a very quaffable blend of 70% shiraz and 30% grenache from the cooler parts of the Pays d'Oc appellation. It is fresh and juicy but with the rusticity that marks the wines of the south of France. If you are looking for an easy-drinking red for under $20, it is well worth a look. Raspberry and dark plum fruits are to the fore with a soft, supple finish. Pair with anything from a steak and kidney pie to a cheese platter. $18.99. www.vhws.com.au/products/les-peyrautins-syrah-grenache

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sandalford Estate 2018 Reserve Verdelho


It is a mystery why verdelho is not more popular in Australia. The Portuguese white grape variety produces delicious crisp, fresh and dry wines that are ideal for Australian conditions; floral, fresh and food-friendly. This is a very good example, made from vines that are nearly 40 years old at Wilyabrup in Margaret River. The fruit was harvested in the early (cool) hours and was immediately processed. It underwent a long, slow ferment in stainless steel tanks and emerged with fresh florals, chalky minerality and brisk citrus intensity on the finish. I'd drink this young and pair it with fish and chips, or perhaps Thai chicken and cashew stir-fry. Versatile and delicious. $25. www.sandalford.com 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Xanadu 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

Here is a classic Margaret River cabernet, impressively varietal but also approachable in its youth. This has those layers of flavours we seek in a well-bred cabernet, plenty of structure and intensity with dark berry and currant flavours and fine-grained tannins, along with plenty of length on the palate and well-integrated French oak. There's a lot going on here with malbec and petit verdot aiding and abetting the cabernet. The end result is a harmonious wine with classic cassis and minerality that offers a lot of drinking pleasure for a very reasonable price. $40. www.xanaduwines.com

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Henschke 2017 Five Shillings


The new vintage Henschke Hill of Grace, Australia's best-known single-vineyard red wine will set you back close to $900 a bottle. It is a common misperception that all the wines in the Henschke range are too expensive for mere mortals. Not so. This rather impressive blend of shiraz and mataro from vineyards in the Barossa and Eden Valley comes in well under $35 - and you get a lot of quality for your cash. The ungrafted, biodynamically grown shiraz sings and the rustic mataro plays a support role with quality oak (95% older French and American vessels). The wine pays tribute to Paul Gotthard, the second-generation Henschke winemaker of the early Barossa Lutheran pioneers of South Australia. Deeply flavoured with dark fruits to the fore, this also has floral and spice elements that come together in a soft, smooth package with some earthy elements. Downright delicious. $33. www.henschke.com.au. 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Longview 2018 Macclesfield Chardonnay


There is a fascinating topographical map label on this chardonnay from the Saturno brothers in the Adelaide Hills - and the wine is equally interesting. Longview is building a reputation for both the length and breadth of its range and this is terrific chardonnay for the price; beautifully balanced, impressively varietal with the poise of a ballerina and the coiled power of an MMA artist. The fruit was all hand-picked from low-yielding high-altitude vines. French oak adds interest. Thoroughly modern, thoroughly delicious. $40. www.longviewvineyard.com.au   

Monday, May 6, 2019

Clonakilla 2017 Syrah


There are wines that sing; and there are wines that rock. Bruce Springsteen would be proud of this one; a superb syrah from Tim Kirk and his team at Clonakilla in Murrumbateman outside Canberra. There is a crescendo of quality here; a symphony of style. While quality is high, volume is low. Just one fermenter each vintage is made from pure shiraz from an estate vineyard. The winemaking is kept simple; indigenous yeasts; a month on skins and 22 months in fine-grained bigger-format French oak. The 2017 had a wet winter and early spring followed by a dry summer. The result: a major hit. Silky, smooth, briary, delicious. $108. www.clonakilla.com.au.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Leeuwin Estate 2016 Art Series Chardonnay

The Art Series range represents Leeuwin’s most elegant and cellar-worthy wines from each vintage, and while I have no doubt this will cellar well, it will call for great willpower to not drink it right now because it is magnificent in its youth. With striking artwork from Kim Maple, entitled Influence, the wine lives up to to its billing as an Australian classic. It is a chardonnay of poise and precision, at once delicate and at the same time assertive it has the core strength of a ballerina. With layers of flavour including flintiness, nuts, Asian spices and bright, tight fruit on the grapefruit/ Packham pear side in of the spectrum this is downright delicious. This one merits 99/100. $104. https://leeuwinestate.com.au