Friday, August 20, 2010

Foxeys Hangout 2009 Late Harvest Pinot Gris

The Lee brothers not only have one of the Mornington Peninsula’s best cellar doors - a "must visit" on any weekend trip to the region - they also offer a range of wines that are beautifully crafted and realistically priced. This has gorgeous silkiness and richness on the palate. It’s very sweet but has had complexity added from barrel fermentation and finishes with lovely cleansing acidity. Great with pates, or blue cheeses. $25.

Grosset 2010 Polish Hill Riesling

This is the 30th release of Jeff Grosset's iconic Clare Valley riesling - and also indisputably one of his best. Australia's riesling master has created an absolute gem; slatey, minerally, citrusy and most of all delicious. While the Polish Hill always ages gracefully this is just downright tempting in its first flush of youth with pristine fruit flavours, wet stone elements, epic dryness and wonderfully enticing acidity. In case you hadn't guessed, this wine rocked my world. $45.

Tapanappa 2009 Foggy Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir

Brian Croser chose one of the coolest, dampest spots on the Fleurieu Peninsula to plant pinot noir vines after identifying Foggy Hill as a "distinquished site." The veteran winemaker's faith has been rewarded with delightful 2009; ethereal aromas are followed up by a medium-bodied, dry and subtle wine on the palate with hints of both stalks and earthiness. A savoury, beautifully structured wine that opened up over the 48 hours after the cork had been pulled. What a pity it is under cork, though. $50.

Scarpantoni 2008 Block 3 Shiraz

This a real Alpha Male wine. Chest puffed out, unashamedly macho. Lovers of big, gutsy reds need look no further; this is a powerful beast from the McLaren Vale winery that won the Jimmy Watson Trophy in 2007 and is made from fruit grown on non-irrigated vines. Dark currant and mint aromas are followed up by sweet, dark berry and plum fruit characters, richness and suppleness on the palate aided and abetted by a good lashing of American oak. There's not much subtlety here - it's 15% alcohol - but there is plenty of flavour that will doubtless mellow out over the next 10-15 years. $30.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bellwether 2009 Tamar Valley Chardonnay

This is a beautifully balanced wine from former Stonehaven winemaker Sue Bell that underlines the immense potential of Tasmanian chardonnay. Matured in 500-litre French oak puncheons, it calls to mind some of the best of Chablis, with characteristic mineral and flint characters alongside fullness and complexity in a wine with just 12.5 per cent alcohol. The fruit is ripe but there are citrus notes, nuttiness and terrific taut acidity. If this was a piece of music, it would be a glorious, soaring violin concerto. A wine of persistence and precision. $50.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Patina 2003 Jezza Cabernet Merlot

You've got to love a 2003 wine that's a current release; particularly one this good. Orange is fast emerging as one of Australia's best cool-climate wine regions and Californian-born Gerald "Jezza" Naef is making some of the most impressive wines from the Central West of NSW; wines that are at once complex and elegant. This is one of the first wines Naef made; a blend of caebernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc that has plenty of structure, soft tannins and length. Very impressive and potentially long lived. $35.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers 2009 Uberblanc Riesling

Nick Glaetzer may be a member of one of the Barossa Valley's best-known winemaking families but these days he is part of the talented team at Frogmore Creek in Tasmania's Coal River Valley. He is also crafting some exceptional wines under his own family label, including a pair of very fine pinots. This beautiful riesling is very much based on the German model with floral and citrus aromas, delicious lime and mineral flavours on the tightly-structured palate and plenty of refreshing acidity. A wine that’s good enough to convert even the most obtuse unbeliever to the riesling team. $25.