Sunday, February 27, 2011

Scarborough 2009 White Label Chardonnay

Cool-climate chardonnays from regions like Tasmania, the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula are all the rage but it pays to remember that chardonnay can shine just about anywhere - including the warm Hunter Valley. Winemaker Ian Scarborough has long had a Midas touch with the variety but he'll rarely have made a better wine than this one, which is more restrained in style than many of his offerings but still has plenty of fruit generosity. It's a complex wine with a lot to say; more Cate Blanchett than Cameron Diaz. There's a peachy/spicy bouquet, nectarine/stone-fruit flavours on the palate, compelling structure and impressive acid on the finish, which is surprisingly minerally and tangy given the fruit's provenance. A really lovely wine and excellent value. $30.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Robert Stein 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

This family-owned Mudgee winery has been kicking quite a few goals recently; their 2010 Reserve Riesling is also a ripper. Balance is the key to this dark, rich cabernet, which has the classic blackcurrant and chocolate characters, alongside spice and impressively integrated oak but weighs in at a sensible 13.5% alcohol while still having impressive length and persistence. A terrific wine for pairing with a classic lamb roast. $35.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Morning Sun 2008 Pinot Noir

I tasted this wine six months ago and was distinctly underwhelmed. I sampled it again at the recent Mornington International Pinot Noir Celebrations and loved it. It's pale, certainly, but it doesn't pay to be colourist with pinot and the way it has evolved is an object lesson in wine as a living organism, constantly changing. This was made by previous incumbent Owen Goodman, not current winemaker Michael Kyberd - and Kyberd admits he is pleasantly surprised at how the wine has developed into a pinot with real pinosity; it's quite light-bodied and delightfully perfumed with beautiful structure and length. Dark cherry and rhubarb characters are prominent along with tons of acid. A wine that will continue to develop over the next few years. $38.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Foster e Rocco 2010 Nuovo Unoaked Sangiovese

Former Lake House sommelier Adam Foster is proving a dab hand at the winemaking caper with a series of delightfully drinkable wines to his name (and that of fellow sommelier Lincoln Riley in this case). This deliciously different wine really took my fancy. It's a perfect choice for those who enjoy good reds but like to chill them a little - an unoaked sangiovese made from Heathcote fruit that has the typical bright sangiovese dark cherry fruit characters, plenty of earthiness and just a hint of sweetness on the palate. It's simple, rustic, relatively low in alcohol (12.8%) and food friendly. A lot like drinking grape juice - but a whole lot more fun. $30.