Saturday, October 31, 2009

Man O’War 2008 Ironclad

Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf off Auckland is producing some outstanding Bordeaux-style blends, but none better than this exciting melange of merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, petit vedot and cabernet sauvignon. It's a very elegant wine, despite the 14.5% alcohol, with a delightful dark fruits/floral nose, complexity and integration on a well-rounded palate and plenty of length and depth. This beautifully balanced wine could well be the one that puts Man O'War on the map bigtime. $45.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dandelion Vineyards Wonderland of the Eden Valley 2009 Riesling

Dandelion Vineyards is a new name to me. It's a joint venture between growers Carl Lindner and Brad Rey, winemaker Elena Brooks and marketing guru Zar Brooks and the label is off to an impressive start as exemplified by this bone-dry, high-acid riesling that proved a star turn with a range of Thai dishes. Made from high-altitude vines approaching 100 years old, this is ultra-zingy with fresh, lively apple and herb characters and zesty lemon and steely minerality on the finish. Downright delicious. $25.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Printhie 2009 Sauvignon Blanc

The cool-climate Orange region is proving very successful at producing appealing - and affordable - sauvignon blancs made in an easy-to-drink style. There's no doubt this is savvy blanc; witness the tropical fruit cocktail on the nose and the fresh fruity flavours, with a touch of herbaceousness on the palate - which finishes crisp, clean and dry. A lovely summer drink best enjoyed young and chilled. An excellent buy at $17.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Penfolds Thomas Hyland 2008 Cool-Climate Chardonnay

Two strikes against this wine. 1. It is made by one of the big companies. 2. It is unfashionable chardonnay. But put prejudice aside and you’ll find a thoroughly modern dry white wine that is fresh, zingy and lively with subtle oak in the background. Made from Adelaide Hills fruit, with a little Tumbarumba blended in for good measure, this has both complexity and drinkability – you won’t find too many better for $20. Shop around and you may find it even cheaper.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Brokenwood 2009 Semillon

It's an absolute mystery why Hunter Valley semillons are not more popular; they are zingy and zesty while young and then develop beautifully over time, emerging with honey/toasty characters. This is a spanking new vintage from one of the Hunter's most reliable wineries. It has delightful lemon/spice aromas and lovely citrus on the palate with some racy acid. At just 11% alcohol, this is far too easy to drink and would be fantastic with fish dishes or a seafood platter. $22.