There are many regions of Australia now producing outstanding chardonnays: Tasmania, Tumbarumba, the Yarra, Mornington Peninsula and Adelaide Hills are all excellent sources - and Orange also has to be taken into consideration on the evidence of this outstanding single-vineyard wine made from fruit grown in the high country Balmoral vineyard. There's plenty of varietal chardonnay flavour here but also some real finesse. It's a bit like a vinous Billy Slater, impressively brisk with stone fruit and citrus notes, flinty mineralityy, judicious oak treatment and cool-climate racy acidity. I liked it a lot; my wife liked it even more. So we argued about who had the last glass! $32. www.swingingbridge.com.au.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Jed Wines are created by three young Australian who venture to the Argentina each year to make a range of wines in the Uco Valley. The fruit is grown in the foothills of the Andes, giving the wines an undoubted exotic appeal but what I like most about this is its balance and downright dangerous drinkability factor. This is a delightful cooler-climate malbec, soft and supple with bright red berry and cherry characters and well integrated oak. This is medium-bodied, a lot of fun and the perfect partner for a steak. If I was scoring I'd give it a 94. The Jed team also imports a range of Argentine wines into Australia with the standouts including the Colomé 2011 Estate Malbec ($50) and Tahuan Siesta En El Tahuantinsuyu 2011 Bonarda ($30). A range well worth checking out. $25. www.jedwines.com.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
There are now four rieslings in the Helm portfolio, three of them using fruit from the Murrumbateman region outside Canberra and a new arrival using Tumbarumba fruit, which I was going to review until I tasted this thrilling number. Ken Helm has been making rieslings for over three decades now and has not only put the Canberra region on the map for the variety but is producing better wines each year. This is crisp, precise and linear with great acid structure and mouth-watering citrus notes on the palate. $30. www.helmwines.com.au.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
A wine of beautiful balance, and impeccable poise, much like a thoroughbred racehorse, this delightful lean to medium-bodied red underlines just how under-rated cabernet franc is as a stand-alone grape variety. This is made in limited quantities by a Loire Valley producer better known for sweeter-style chenin blancs. The grapes are grown in the district of Thouarcé in the Anjou region and the wine has just 13% alcohol but beautiful bright, crunchy red berry fruit and intensity. This would be a super match with charcuterie or maybe enjoyed with roast spatchcock. Great value at $28. Imported by www.francaboutwine.com.