Monday, March 31, 2014

TarraWarraEstate 2012 Yarra Valley Chardonnay

There is a smart new look for the estate wines from TarraWarra Estate, and while the prices of many leading Australian chardonnays are nudging upwards, this represents excellent value for money. Beautifully balanced, it shows the attention paid in the vineyard, where the grapes are hand-picked, and in the winery, where Clare Halloran is in excellent form. From a very good vintage this is a fruit-driven wine with qulaity oak hiding away behind the curtains. Think citrus and stone fruits notes, cleanliness and great drive. $25.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Syrahmi 2010 Siren Shiraz

What a sexy beast of a wine this is; all class and sheen and poise. Former chef and sommelier Adam Foster has developed into a wonderfully intuitive minimal interventionist winemaker, unashamedly influenced by the great wines of the Rhone but, in this case, expressing the terroir of Heathcote. Seductive and voluptuous, but beautifully proportioned, this siren has plenty of plushness and flavour with a distinct plummy earthiness, but is also a model of restraint at 13% alcohol. Very enjoyable. $46.     

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Xanadu 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

While many wine regions of Australia struggled to produce quality fruit in a problematic 2011 vintage, Margaret River was once again blessed by near-perfect conditions. With Xanadu winemaker Glenn Goodall very much at the top of his game it is no surprise that this is a standout for both quality and value. It was matured for 14 months in French oak (including 40% new barriques) before the blend was assembled, and returned to older French barriques for a further two months of maturation prior to bottling. Cassis and blackberry fruit flavours are to the fore here, along with great structure and integrated oak. A serious wine, but a lot of fun to drink. $38.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ben Haines 2012 Flute d'Amour Rosé

Talented young winemaker Ben Haines, formerly of Mitchelton but now out on his own, started making wines in the south of France in 2010, using fruit from biodynamically farmed La Verriere vineyard in the mountainous Ventoux region of Provence. This is a bone dry rosé made from grenache and syrah grapes, although there are hints of fruit sweetness. It is pale pink in colour, wonderfully savoury - with some flinty, pebbly notes - and deliciously drinkable. More French wines are to follow from Haines, including a Rhone red. $36.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Penfolds 2011 Yattarna Chardonnay

You'll have to wait until May 1 to buy some of this; but if you are a Yattarna buyer I'd put in an order now to make sure you don't miss out. It's a classic cool-climate chardonnay made in a style Penfolds' white winemaker Kim Schroeter describes as "a tight, linear and restrained".   Penfolds' white wine flagship is once again made almost entirely of Tasmanian fruit (96 per cent with 4 per cent from the Adelaide Hills) and is a seamless, stylish, structured wine that reflects the quality of the cool-climate fruit used. It is pure, tight and textural (aided by lees stirring) and the fruit from a great chardonnay vintage in Tasmania has soaked up the 64 % new oak. The end result is flinty, chalky wine of great finesse. This has power and length and must be among the best Penfolds chardonnays of all time. $150.