Saturday, December 31, 2011

Greywacke 2011 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

This is a ripping Marlborough sauvignon blanc with terrific complexity and intensity. If the name Grewacke is unfamiliar, it is the new label of former Cloudy Bay winemaker Kevin Judd, whose wines are always just a little bit more interesting. This recent release has already received high praise from Jancis Robinson, the high priestess of wine writing, who said she "can't remember a Marlboro SB impressing me more." That's well-deserved acclaim for a wine that is a melifluous assemblage of flavours, ranging from gentle fruit salad to assertive minerality and deliciously zesty, crunchy citrus acidity. A small portion of the fruit was fermented in old French oak barriques to add texture and interest to a beautifully poised wine - a vinous ballerina. $26.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Domaine Chandon 2008 Blanc de Blancs

This is a very classy sparkler and a perfect choice for New Year's Eve festivities; a classic méthode traditionnelle wine put together from fruit grown in cool-climate vineyards across the country, including the Yarra Valley, Strathbogie Ranges, Macedon, Adelaide Hills, King Valley and Tasmania. Made from 100 per cent chardonnay, this is a great choice for those who like their bubblies with finesse (it would almost certainly appeal to lovers of Billecart-Salmon). Lemon and citrus notes star in a beautifully vibrant young wine from a very good vintage that is floral and boasts zesty acidity on the finish. A delightful aperitif with terrific balance and structure.$40.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Geoff Merrill 2011 McLaren Vale Grenache Rosé

Geoff Merrill has been making wine for over three decades and sometimes his "out there" personality and knack for marketing serve to obsure the fact that he is also seriously talented in the winery. While Merrill is best known for his voluptuous, age-worthy reds, he shows a deft touch with this rosé, an excellent choice for summer drinking. It's a vibrant pink wine that hits all the right notes with lively cherry and raspberry characters on an attractive fruity palate. It has 14% alcohol but carries it well. Made from bush vine fruit, the wine also has some spicy/savoury notes and finishes long and dry with some cracking acidity. Chill, serve, enjoy. $20.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hesketh 2010 Perfect Stranger Krems Gruner Veltliner

The Austrian grape variety gruner veltliner is becoming increasingly popular in Australia with producers including Lark Hill, Hahndorf Hill and Stoney Rise all making excellent examples. This wine, however, is the real deal; a collaboration between Austrian winemaker Bert Salomon, whose family have been making wines in Kremstal since 1792, and Australian Jonathon Hesketh, a negociant who has an impressive range. I really enjoyed the spicy poached pear notes of this wine - and the delightful bright acidity. This new release is aromatic, dry, food-friendly and a great choice for summer drinking. It's also surprisingly affordable. $26.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Toscar 2009 Monastrell

Wow! I tasted this impressive Spanish import blind and mentally priced it at around $30+. It was a rather pleasant surprise, then, to find it actually sells for $15-16. Made by Salvador Poveda in the Alicante region from the grape we call mourvedre but the Spanish call monastrell, the fruit was dry grown and organically treated. The wine has delightful sweet/sour impact on the palate. It's quite a rich, savoury offering with serious tannin structure, but weighs in at just 13.5% alcohol. I enjoyed the combination of sweet dark cherry and black plum fruit with delicatessen and balsamic notes. Full of interest and with a real sense of place, it is imported by Marcus Kniel of Ce Soir Wines. Phone him on 0447 772 387. $16.