Thursday, July 19, 2018

Howard Park 2016 Leston Cabernet Sauvignon

The Howard Park label is a byword for world-class cabernet sauvignon from both Margaret River and the Great Southern at various price points. In 2016, the Leston vineyard in Margaret River just edged out the Scottsdale vineyard in the Great Southern, but it was a desperately close run race. The key to this wine's immense appeal is balance; there are ripe plum and berry flavours but cedary oak, mint and spice notes all play key roles in what is a complete package. There is plenty of length here, potential longevity, too, but most of all you get a whole lot of quality for your cash. $50.  

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Patina 2015 Chardonnay

American-born Gerald Naef makes a range of intriguing wines from his home (literally in his garage) winery in cool-climate Orange in Central Western New South Wales. I had his stellar 2016 Riesling ($25) ready to review before I came across this complex and beguiling 2015 chardonnay, which I preferred just a tad to its bigger reserve brother. Thanks to Orange's high elevation and volcanic soils you'll find all the classic chardonnay characters here; citrus, stone fruit, peaches and cream and hints of nutty oak. Naef says: “I don’t think there is another region in the world that necessarily produces better chardonnay than Orange, there are just stylistic differences." This is a perfect match for roast pork or chicken dishes and is swashbucklingly stylish. $35.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Battle of Bosworth 2017 Heretic

Joch Bosworth and Louise Hemsley-Smith produce a range of wines with real personality under their Battle of Bosworth label, which highlights organic fruit and old-style wine-making techniques. The Heretic utilises Touriga Nacional and graciano, two Iberian grape varieties that would previously have been used in fortified wine production, blended with a little shiraz, McLaren Vale's local hero. This is a medium-bodied wine of immediate appeal; stylish with spice and oak hints but based on quality fruit picked early enough to retain all its vim and vigour. It pulls off the trick of being both a wine of substance, and elegance. I like this a lot - and it is extremely food friendly. $28.       

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Massale by Kooyong 2017 Pinot Noir

Even when tasted blind, Glen Hayley's wines under the Kooyong label have the ability to seriously stand out from the crowd. I have loved the 2015 Meres and Haven individual vineyard pinots recently - both of which retail for $76 - but you don't have to spend anywhere near that amount to get a sense of the quality and attention to detail given to all wines in the range from this quality Mornington Peninsula producer. This is an entry level offering, young and enticing, that offers excellent value. It's bright red and vibrant, medium-bodied and red-fruit-driven with mainly older oak very much in the background adding smoky nuances. Appealing acid on the finish, too. Perfect for drinking now. preferably paired with some smoked duck breast. 93/100. $34.  

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Yarra Edge 2017 Edward

Viticulturist Lucas Hoorn has worked for Hoddles Creek and Levantine Hill, while Dylan McMahon is the talented winemaker at Seville Estate and together they are producing some impressive wines under the Yarra Edge label, using fruit from a small vineyard at Chirnside Park, on the edge of the Yarra. The vines are 35 years old and the grapes were formerly used by Yering Station. This is a very impressive single-vineyard blend of cabernet sauvignon (70%), cabernet franc (20%) and merlot (10%) that has several elements reminiscent of quality Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux. Herbs and spices, blackcurrant notes, spicy oak, leafy characters and subtle tannins combine well in a wine that is soft and on the palate. Subtle and delicious. $39.   

Monday, June 11, 2018

Curly Flat 2016 Chardonnay

There has been a recent changing of the guard at Macedon Ranges icon Curly Flat with Matt Harrop now installed as chief winemaker. Not only is this an outstanding example of cool-climate chardonnay, it also offers quite spectacular value when compared alongside village Burgundy, for instance. Power and elegance co-exist happily here with a brisk citrus zing and more restrained peachy notes. This is a wine with delightful architecture and plenty of length, allied to tension and poise. It's main strength, however, is that it is downright delicious. $46.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Brokenwood 2016 Beechworth Pinot Noir

How good is this? Terrific pinot noir from Beechworth in the foothills of the Victorian Alps that costs a whole lot less than many much-vaunted pinots at extreme price points. This is a wine of lovely balance, it is soft and appealing but hints of spice and florals and quality cool-climate fruit play key roles. Oak is very much in the background. I'd be drinking this is its youth with some barbecued duck or port, and maybe some noodles.