Sunday, July 14, 2019

10X 2018 Chardonnay


10X is the entry level range for 10 Minutes by Tractor, one of the star wine producers on the Mornington Peninsula. This is a classic cool-climate chardonnay without an extravagant price. You'll find all the traditional varietal characters; citrus and white stone fruit, bright acidity and zingy minerality but with a solid backbone structure. Lightly toasted oak, just 20% new, plays a solid but unobtrusive support role in a wine that is impressively chilled. We are fortunate to be able to buy wine of such quality for $30. 
www.tenminutesbytractor.com.au

Monday, July 8, 2019

Zema Estate 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon


How good is this? A delightful new-release cabernet from one of the best producers in Coonawarra that hits the market just as it is hitting its peak. The Zema family are committed to quality across their range, but this offers superb value for a quintessential Coonawarra cabernet with juicy dark berry and fruit characters, an enticing softness on the palate with some French oak making a guest appearance without stealing the show. Complex, beautifully balanced and ridiculously easy to drink. Cellar if you must but it is damn good right now. $30. www.zema.com.au

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Nepenthe Pinnacle 2018 Gruner Veltliner

Gruner Veltliner is an Austrian white wine grape that is rapidly finding favour in Australia and has been adopted as a project by several wineries in the cool Adelaide Hills. From a vineyard in Hahndorf, this is the first "pinnacle" release from Nepenthe. It is a crisp, vibrant yet pleasingly textural single-vineyard wine with floral elements, white spice but mainly crisp, lively fruit flavours with plenty of length. It was fermented in big format oak and matured in oak for four weeks but this is all about the quality fruit. Pair with pan-fried scallops. $32. www.nepenthe.com.au.     

Monday, June 17, 2019

Les Peyrautins 2017 Syrah-Grenache

Les Peyrautins is a new range of French country wines imported by Angoves. This is a very quaffable blend of 70% shiraz and 30% grenache from the cooler parts of the Pays d'Oc appellation. It is fresh and juicy but with the rusticity that marks the wines of the south of France. If you are looking for an easy-drinking red for under $20, it is well worth a look. Raspberry and dark plum fruits are to the fore with a soft, supple finish. Pair with anything from a steak and kidney pie to a cheese platter. $18.99. www.vhws.com.au/products/les-peyrautins-syrah-grenache

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sandalford Estate 2018 Reserve Verdelho


It is a mystery why verdelho is not more popular in Australia. The Portuguese white grape variety produces delicious crisp, fresh and dry wines that are ideal for Australian conditions; floral, fresh and food-friendly. This is a very good example, made from vines that are nearly 40 years old at Wilyabrup in Margaret River. The fruit was harvested in the early (cool) hours and was immediately processed. It underwent a long, slow ferment in stainless steel tanks and emerged with fresh florals, chalky minerality and brisk citrus intensity on the finish. I'd drink this young and pair it with fish and chips, or perhaps Thai chicken and cashew stir-fry. Versatile and delicious. $25. www.sandalford.com 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Xanadu 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon

Here is a classic Margaret River cabernet, impressively varietal but also approachable in its youth. This has those layers of flavours we seek in a well-bred cabernet, plenty of structure and intensity with dark berry and currant flavours and fine-grained tannins, along with plenty of length on the palate and well-integrated French oak. There's a lot going on here with malbec and petit verdot aiding and abetting the cabernet. The end result is a harmonious wine with classic cassis and minerality that offers a lot of drinking pleasure for a very reasonable price. $40. www.xanaduwines.com

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Henschke 2017 Five Shillings


The new vintage Henschke Hill of Grace, Australia's best-known single-vineyard red wine will set you back close to $900 a bottle. It is a common misperception that all the wines in the Henschke range are too expensive for mere mortals. Not so. This rather impressive blend of shiraz and mataro from vineyards in the Barossa and Eden Valley comes in well under $35 - and you get a lot of quality for your cash. The ungrafted, biodynamically grown shiraz sings and the rustic mataro plays a support role with quality oak (95% older French and American vessels). The wine pays tribute to Paul Gotthard, the second-generation Henschke winemaker of the early Barossa Lutheran pioneers of South Australia. Deeply flavoured with dark fruits to the fore, this also has floral and spice elements that come together in a soft, smooth package with some earthy elements. Downright delicious. $33. www.henschke.com.au.