Thursday, December 23, 2010

Coriole 2009 Sangiovese

The Lloyd family from McLaren Vale winery Coriole pioneered this Italian variety in Australia – first planting the Tuscan grape back in 1985, long before just about anyone else had thought of the idea. They now also make very good nebbiolo and barbera. This is the 23rd vintage of Coriole sangiovese amd it's a dependably good choice to pair with Italian dishes, charcuterie plates or roast meats. It’s savoury and silky with sweet cherry aromas and nicely restrained on the palate with plenty of length, good balance and soft tannins. Great value for the price. $22.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ross 2008 Barossa Merlot

I've been having recent issues with Barossa reds - some of them are just too big and alcoholic. I've long had problems with Australian merlots, many of which are monochromatic and boring. This, however, had me re-thinking both points of view. It out-shone several highly credentialed reds in a recent tasting and went well with a steak dish, too. It's a seamless, soft red with dark berry flavours, hints of black olive and spice and has great structure for a wine in its price bracket. I can't remember the last time I drained a bottle of merlot - but this one is definitely empty. $20.

Mitchell Harris 2010 Rosé

Winemaker John Harris is on fire with his recent releases; I've also been impressed with both his fumé-style sauvignon blancs and his cabernet sauvignons. This wine was one of the stars of a recent rosé tasting and left many bigger names trailing in its wake. It's a prototype for the new wave of savoury rosés that are making the style so popular this summer; vibrant and refreshing with sour cherry and grapefruit tanginess, but at the same time bone dry and intriguing. Made from early-picked pinot noir from the Macedon Ranges in Victoria and sangiovese from the Pyrenees, it is clean, impressively textured and delightfully easy to drink. $22.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Oakridge 2009 864 van der Meulen Chardonnay

Just about every wine writer in Australia (and several overseas) has had a crack at proclaiming the greatness of this single-vineyard chardonnay from the Yarra Valley that expresses perfectly what the new wave style of Australian chardonnay represents. So I might as well jump on the bandwagon. Using grapes from the dry-grown van der Meulen Vineyard, winemaker David Bicknell has perfectly captured the purity of the fruit. There are citrus and white peach notes and beautifully balanced oak that aids and abets the fruit rather than intruding. This is a supremely stylish wine, elegant with just 13% alcohol and well worth splashing out some cash on - if you can find any. It has all but sold out. $72.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Penley Estate 2006 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Here's a classic Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon released with four years of age that doesn't so much shout out its quality as whisper it gently. It's a wine that probably still has a way to go to reach its peak, too. The characters are typically Coonawarra; with dusty, moccha and tobacco leaf characters alongside ripe, assertive, concentrated cassis fruit and quality smoky oak. The tannins are still very tight and the wine takes time to open up in the glass, but if you enjoy the style, this would be a terrific Christmas drink. Better still, buy a case, enjoy a couple now and put the rest away. $50.