Friday, August 26, 2011

Reillys 2010 Riesling

My normal preference is for vibrant young Clare Valley rieslings that leap out of the glass with their youthful vigour and zesty enthusiasm. This Watervale offering may be a year old but still has all that cheerleader charm. It's a wine with all the classic Clare attributes, lively citrus aromas with plenty of zingy lemon, lime, Ganny Smith and dry marmalade notes on the palate, along with some slatey notes and delightfully refreshing crisp acid on the finish. Great with pan-fried flathead fillets. $20.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kooyong 2010 Clonale Chardonnay

Kooyong and sister winery Port Phillip Estate were recently named as his wineries of the year by James Halliday - and there's no doubt the veteran guru still has his finger on the pulse; Sandro Mosele, the winemaker for both labels, is hitting the ball out of the park on a regular basis, as with this moderately (relatively) priced chardonnay that ticks all the boxes for quality (including being under screw cap). It's undergone bells and whistles winemaking with whole-bunch pressing, barrel fermentation in French oak (12% new), on lees maturation etc etc. But it doesn't taste like a wine that has been worked. Rather, it has lovely pure citrus fruit characters, minerality and the merest hints of nuttiness. An elegant wine for the price. $28.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Urlar 2009 Pinot Gris

I visited Angus Thomson at his Urlar vineyards at Gladstone, outside Martinborough, a couple of years back and remember being most impressed by the Scotsman's passion for his vines - and biodynamic principles as a means to quality. Urlar uses both organic and biodynamic methods and all future releases will be certified organic. Urlar, by the way, is a Gaelic word that means “The Earth”. The Urlar range; an appealing off-dry riesling, an impressively muscular pinot noir, a sauvignon blanc (of course) and this pinot gris, is now available in Australia through distributors Fine Wine Partners and is creating a bit of stir. I loved this wine; barrel-fermented to add complexity and texture but with pear and nectarine flavours leading the charge on the palate. There's plenty of mouthfeel and lots of length. Winemaker Guy McMaster, formerly of Escarpment, is on song and this is a new name worth checking out. $30.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Illuminati 2008 Ilico

A very quaffable Montepulciano d'Abruzzo for under $15? You'd be well advised to think there has to be a catch, but no, this is a great introduction to Italian wines at a very affordable price. Wth some nice plum/raspberry characters on the nose, this is a medium-bodied, food-friendly wine with plenty of length on the palate and savoury mushroom/delicatessen notes along with hints of black pepper. We paired ours with a dish of pasta, meatballs and parmesan cheese and it proved an excellent combination. Available at Dan Murphy's stores. $12.99.