Monday, July 17, 2017

Jim Barry 2017 Watervale Riesling

The news is all good from the 2017 vintage for lovers of fine, dry Australian rieslings. I've seen some excellent unfinished examples from the Barossa and Eden valleys as well a pair of high-acid, high-excitement Clare Valley wines from Jim Barry - which are among the first to hit the stores. I thoroughly enjoyed the more complex 2017 Jim Barry Lodge Hill ($25) but this is my pick for drinking young; a dashing, lively wine with lemon, lime and grapefruit notes to the fore with plenty of length and linear acid. Distressingly drinkable, I'd have a second bottle of this on hand just in case and pair it with flathead and chips or some green Thai chicken curry. $20.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cullen 2015 Diana Madeline

This is the new release of one of Australia's most complete wines; a Margaret River classic that offers quite spectacular value given the prices now being asked for other Australian icon reds. This is seriously worthy of 98/100 in a world of frequently overblown scores. There are a lot of big-name Bordeaux blends not in the same class as this; a single-vineyard blend of 87% cabernet sauvignon, 11% merlot, 1% malbec and 1% cabernet franc from another standout West Australian vintage. Think classic blackcurrant and violet notes, along with stoney minerality, leafy elements and dark chocolate nuances. Impeccably balanced with fine-grained tannins, this is beautiful now but will almost certainly develop over a decade or more. A work of vinous art that's worth taking out an overdraft for. $125.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Hurley Vineyard 2015 Hommage Pinot Noir

Well over a decade or so ago, I received an email from Kevin Bell and Tricia Byrnes asking for some advice on finding a Sydney retail outlet for their range of "garagiste" pinot noirs from Balnarring on the Mornington Peninsula. I was fortunately able to help and have watched with interest as the Hurley Vineyard range has evolved into one of the most impressive pinot portfolios in the country. In 2015, there are four wines in all, an estate offering and individual vineyard wines under the Lodestone, Garamond and Hommage labels. My favourite this time around was the Hommage, juicy and pure, unfined, unfiltered, minerally, savoury and lip-smackingly delicious. My wife preferred the perhaps more elegant Garamond - and may well be right as I understand that has sold out within a few weeks. Both wines are well worth seeking out; paragons of Australian winemaking excellence. $75.