Friday, April 29, 2011

Penfolds 2006 Grange

The new release of Australia’s most famous wine is spectacularly good – 2006 is set to be regarded as one of the classic Granges. Made almost entirely from Barossa shiraz (with just a dash of Coonawarra cabernet) it is a beautifully integrated wine; tight-knit but compelling, restrained but promising so much. It has fine-grained tannins with plum, brambly fruits, tar and spice notes all starring, along with immense length and suppleness. Plush and poised; it is already brilliant but tantalises and teases as a cellaring prospect. A rich, beautifully layered wine that lives up to hype. $600.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lenton Brae 2008 Wilyabrup Cabernet Sauvignon

I've seen several very good wines from Margaret River winery Lenton Brae over the past few years but this is a defining wine from winemaker Ed Tomlinson; quintessentialy varietal and regional. While 2007 was a great vintage, cooler 08 has been less highly regarded but this ticks all the quality boxes. Small portions of merlot and cabernet franc have been added to the blend, which has lashings of powerful fruit (think blackcurrant, chocolate and eucalpyt characters) and is drinking extremely well in its youth. The wine has spent 18 months in French oak but the wood is well integrated and it is impressively complex and structured. $55.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

De Bortoli Gulf Station 2010 Pinot Noir

If you are looking for a pinot noir with infinite complexity and the potential to cellar for decades or more, this is not the wine for you. If, however, you are seeking a fresh, lively young Yarra Valley red that offers immediate drinking pleasure at a sensible price, then you've come to the right place. This has dark cherry flavours to the fore, some earthy, mushroomy notes and quite assertive tannins. It is unmistakeably pinot - which is not something that can be said about many of its similarly-priced rivals. A wine for enjoying with friends and family, without fuss, and very good value for $20.

Thomas Wines 2009 Motel Block Shiraz

There are many who rate Andrew Thomas as the best winemaker in the Hunter Valley - and I wouldn't disagree. His semillons and shirazes are always top-notch. This is the first release of a new individual vineyard wine from a plot of old-vine grapes that Thomas had been eyeing off for over a decade. While not quite as elegant as the 09 Thomas "Kiss" Shiraz, this may well appeal to a broader constituency. Although bigger than many Hunter shirazes it has impressive structure and some in-your-face aromatic energy. It is a rich, powerful wine - a bit like a Hunter shiraz on steroids; muscular and intense but still unmistakeably varietal and regional. Only 350 dozen were made, so I suspect this may well be sold out before it is released to retail in May. Get on the mailing list. $50.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oakridge 2010 Over The Shoulder Chardonnay

Oakridge winemaker David Bicknell has been hitting home run after home run with his 2009 and 2010 whites. His 2009 chardonnays were of exceptional quality and this continues in the same vein; it has intense citrus flavours in the Chablis style, having been aged in stainless steel and older oak barrels. It is the purity and linearity that shines through with just a hint of creaminess on the end. The 2010 Estate Chardonnay, to be released in June, is also a stunner - tightly-knit and vibrant - but this is certain to sell out quickly because it is a ridiculously good wine for $20.