Saturday, April 23, 2016

Cullen 2014 Diana Madeline

I was absolutely blown away by the quality of this new release from Vanya Cullen (actually it was a sneak peek and the wine will be released next month). It is probably the best young Australian red wine I have ever tasted - an instant classic. It is still youthful but everything is beautifully balanced. With fruit intensity (think dark currants and berries), quality French oak (69% new barriques), hints of tobacco leaf and superb structure, this is on the same level as first and second growth Bordeaux from the best years. A tribute to Cullen's mother, Margaret River wine industry pioneer Diana Cullen, this is a blend of 89% cabernet sauvignon with small batches of petit verdot, merlot, malbec and cabernet franc. The bees knees and I'm happy to give it 99/100 (not something I do very often). You won't be disappointed. $110.     

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Pike & Joyce 2015 Rapide Pinot Noir

Is this the best-value young pinot noir in Australia? You'd be hard-pressed to find many that are better. From the Adelaide Hills, where cool-climate varieties like pinot flourish, this is a bright and vibrant young wine. It's a bit of a show off with some "look at me" tendencies but quality fruit that's been given a short stint in French oak has resulted in a wine where the youthful vigour is also charming. It's fresh and easy-to-drink with bright berry flavours and softish tannins. Don't bother cellaring this one. Drink now. Enjoy. $21.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Terre a Terre 2015 Blanc

From industry veteran Brian Croser's daughter Lucy and her talented French partner Xavier Bizot, this is an impressive wine made from close-planted Wrattonbully sauvignon blanc that owes a lot more in style to Bordeaux than Marlborough. Cold soaked, then slowly fermented in a huge 3,000-litre new French foudre, this then spent a further five months in old oak, which resulted in a wine that is enigmatic and intriguing with just a hint of residual sugar on the palate. Chalky, off dry and delightful. $32.    

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Brangayne of Orange 2013 Tristan

In Wagner's opera, Tristan and Isolde, Brangayne, the handmaiden, creates a love potion for her mistress, Princess Isolde, as an act of devotion. This blend of cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and merlot, may not be a love potion but it is a classic Australian cool-climate red blend made by consultant Simon Gilbert, who has been in the winemaking game for four decades and knows a thing or two about coaxing the best from cool-climate fruit from the Orange region. I liked this a lot. Elegant with the use of French oak astutely judged, it is long and soft with impressive structure, and extremely enjoyable. $35.