A gloriously gluggable trans-Iberian blend of the Spanish grape tempranillo and Portuguese variety touriga nacional that is full of youthful enthusiasm and offers tremendous drinking pleasure at a wallet-friendly price. McLaren Vale maestro Steve Pannell makes several wines more serious than this - but few that can match it for vinous joie de vivre. It is a juicy, fruit-driven red this, with some attractive savoury/deli notes. The previous vintage of this wine won several trophies and sold out, so it may pay to be quick off the mark this time. I'll give it 94 points and a bonus point for being such fun to drink. $28. www.pannell.com.au
Friday, June 19, 2015
Margaret River produces some outstanding sauvignon blanc/semillon blends and if your penchant is for enjoying them when they are at their freshest and most vibrant then this is a wine that you should make the effort to track down. It is a crisp as the water from a mountain stream, as pungent as newly-baled hay and fruitier than an old-style English comedian. Imagine vibrant lifted aromas that leap out of the glass; lime citrus notes alongside hints of passionfruit and guava; and then throw in some brisk, refreshing acid. This blend of 55% sauvignon blanc and 45% semillon was been entirely fermented in stainless steel and is hopefully a harbinger of good things to come from the 2015 vintage out west. Drink now. It's spectacular value, too, at $20. www.rosabrook.com.au.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
If you haven't heard of Levantine Hill, you've probably been living under a rock for the past couple of years. The brainchild of Elias and Colleen Jreissati, this is an operation set up to make benchmark wines. With former Yarra Yering winemaker Paul Bridgeman at the helm and a plush cellar door soon to open at Coldstream in the Yarra Valley (chef Teage Ezzard is also on board), everything about Levantine Hill screams quality. I caught up for lunch with the Jreissatis during the week, so this wine was not tasted blind, but it could not fail to impress with its quality. A classic blend of Bordeaux grape varieties from a superlative vintage, this is the epitome of wine elegance. Think cassis and dark berries, gentle oak and impressive structure. Medium-bodied and impeccably balanced, this is remarkably good (and extremely French in style) for a wine made from such young vines. It shines with food and I'm happy to score it 95. I can't wait to see subsequent releases. $125. www.levantinehill.com.au.
Sunday, June 7, 2015
Kevin Judd made his reputation at Cloudy Bay, where he was largely responsible for the global success of that brand. Nowadays, he combines his career as a world-class photographer with making far smaller amounts of wine under his own Greywacke label, named after the rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of his vineyard. Judd makes wines with soul and a sense of place and this is elegant with sweet fruit and spice and lots of length. Concentrated, taut as a violin string and potentially very long lived. $45. www.greywacke.com.