Friday, July 29, 2011

Gundog Estate 2011 Wild Semillon

Gundog Estate is a small winery sourcing fruit from the Hunter Valley and Canberra regions that is owned by the parents of Wandin Valley winemaker Matt Burton, one of Hunter's rising stars. This is a terrific young Hunter semillon, low in alcohol at 12.5% and bursting with fresh, vibrant sweet young fruit. A portion of the blend was fermented using indigenous yeast while the juice remained on skins, in much the same way as red wine is made. The end result is a delightful sweet/sour character (with resultant pineapple/apricot/nutty flavours) allied to vibrant acidity and citrus notes. A semillon with the appeal of a fresh, young chardonnay. $30.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Yalumba 2007 The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon

Named after Sir Robert Menzies, Liberal politician and red wine enthusiast (I'd much rather be drinking The Keating, personally), and produced from fruit grown at Yalumba's Coonawarra outpost, The Menzies has emerged as one of the most consistently reliable cabernets to be found in Australia. Volume from this vintage is small as a result of devastating frosts in late 2006 but the quality is sensational with winemaker Peter Gambetta having crafted an exceptional wine from intensely flavoured but only moderately alcoholic fruit, using new French oak to add complexity and style. And this is, above all else, a supremely stylish wine with classic mint, cassis and chocolate notes along with great structure that will doubtless ensure it develops for a decade or more. $48.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Freycinet Vineyard 2009 Chardonnay

A classic cool-climate chardonnay made using traditional Burgundian techniques by Tasmanian wine's man-of-the-moment Claudio Radenti. An impressively complex wine, but very easy to drink, this has intense fruit flavours thanks to drought conditions and was matured for 10 months in French oak casks, most of them aged. The end result is a stunning chardonnay with bright stone fruit and fig characters along with hints of nuttiness and creaminess as a result of barrel ferment, lees stirring and malolactic fermentation. Taut, textural and very tempting. $32.

Mumm 1999 Cuvee R. Lalou Champagne

The 1999 release of Mumm's prestige cuvee lives up to the hype, although you need to be very heeled to afford the pleasure. You get what you pay for, however, and this is truly great Champagne. The wine pays tribute to Rene Lalou, who worked for Mumm for over half a century, and there is no doubt he would be proud of this wine. As you'd expect, there is wonderful pure fruit freshness, tremendous complexity, hints of brioche and biscuit, savoury notes, honey, white nougat and a lively mousse. A 50-50 blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, its complexity does not detract from its drinkability. This is a very special bubbly for a special occasion. $360.