Sunday, June 28, 2020

Henschke 2018 Henry's Seven

If you fancy trying a Henschke wine but don't have the $850+ to splash out on a bottle of Hill of Grace, then the Henry's Seven red blend is a very good option. Made in the same meticulous fashion as the rest of the organic and biodynamic Henschke range this is affordable luxury. A blend of shiraz, grenache and mataro, with a touch of viognier, it is a very composed red ideal for enjoying over winter. Plummy, soft and smooth. Instant gratification. $37. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Coriole 2019 Sangiovese

The Lloyd family in McLaren Vale were the first vignerons in Australia to recognise the potential of the Tuscan grape sangiovese, which many Australians had enjoyed in imported Chiantis. Coriole first planted sangiovese in 1985 and the winery is seen as the style guide for the variety. This is, quite simply, a lovely savoury red wine, medium-bodied and extremely food friendly. It pairs not only with Italian-accented dishes but also with modern Australian cuisine. You won't find many better sub-$30 reds. $28.   

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Xanadu 2017 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Super stylish Margaret River cabernet, with just a touch of malbec to add muscularity. The Xanadu reserve cabernet is only made in exceptional years - the last was 2014. Think Frank Sinatra at his finest; this is charismatic, almost effortless, with changes of mood and tempo. The nose offers wild berry aromas, oaky hints and After Eight mint notes, while the palate has power, precision and elegance in equal measure. Inky, silky and intriguing, this is a world-class cabernet with complexity and youthful vibrancy. It will cellar comfortably to 2030 and beyond. 97/100. $

Friday, June 5, 2020

Hurley Vineyard 2018 Garamond Pinot Noir

A superb wine from a brilliant Mornington Peninsula vintage made by one of Australia's few genuine garagiste producers. Kevin Bell and partner Tricia Byrnes are busy legal eagles who devote much of their spare time to producing a range of four pinots that aim to reflect their micro-terroirs. I've been looking at their wines for a couple of decades and they have never been better, from the excellent $50 estate wine to this flagship from a three-acre vineyard planted in 1998 and hitting its peak. Cherry and berry notes and subtle savoury hints are to the fore in a wild yeast-fermented, basket-pressed wine of immense appeal and purity. Think length, laser-like precision and velvet mouthfeel. Better than many village Burgundies. Garamond, by the way, was a Renaissance French typographer whose font appears on Hurley Vineyard labels and stationary. Claude would be very proud. 98/100. $85.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

De Bortoli 2018 Section A5 Chardonnay

There is a certain magic to the chardonnays produced by Steve Webber at De Bortoli Yarra Valley. While the wines are cool-climate Australian, each carries just a little whisper of Burgundy. This single-vineyard wine is made from vines planted 45 years ago that produce chardonnays with exceptional purity of fruit; think a high-quality Pouilly-Fuissé, perhaps. It is a very elegant wine, from a warm season with very appealing elegance and bright natural acid. I like it right now, but it could also cellar for a year or two should you wish. A wine to sip and ponder, maybe with some James Taylor on the stereo. Very composed; very tempting.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Petaluma 2018 White Label Cabernet Sauvignon

The Petaluma white label range has been given a visual tweak but continues to offer very decent value for money. The Adelaide Hills winery sources its cabernet sauvignon from Coonawarra and this is a very tasty little introduction to quality cooler-climate cabernet; it has dark cherry and intense blackcurrant notes to the fore alongside quality French oak. It is medium-bodied with soft tannins and immediately approachable with plenty of length. I'd pair this with an old school shepherds' pie for maximum enjoyment. $29.   

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Frankland Estate 2018 Chardonnay

This is a very high quality chardonnay for its price point; made from certified organic fruit grown on the Isolation Ridge vineyard in the remote Frankland River region of West Australia. The ironstone soils help craft a wine that has zippy grapefruit and tangerine flavours to the fore, with some subdued nutty and smoky characters.There is freshness here, complexity, length and a dry, crisp finish. A wine with serious poise that would pair well with pan-fried fish dishes, or some James Taylor on the turntable. $30.