Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bream Creek 2010 Late Picked Schonburger

Fred Peacock from Tasmanian vineyard Bream Creek (situated on the road to Port Arthur and overlooking Marion Bay and Maria Island) believes this may be the only dessert-style schonburger made anywhere in the world. His plantings - he also makes a dry version - were certainly the first in the southern hemisphere. It's a delightfully floral wine, with rose petal and Turkish Delight aromas leading on to a soft, delicate palate with those two characters again prominent. The sugar levels are kept in check by some bright acid, making this a thoroughly delicious wine. $26.

Shaw Vineyard Estate 2009 Premium Shiraz

There are some stunning shirazes emerging from the Canberra region; more elegant expressions that are full of interest without being overwhelming. This is a dark purple colour, with oodles of spicy black fruit/Christmas cake characters on the nose leading to ripe, dark berry and currant notes on the palate, which also boasts some intriguing Asian spice notes. It handles its 14.5% alcohol well and is one of those wines that doesn't demand constant attention. A lovely, soft red for everyday drinking pleasure. $22.

Cooks Lot 2011 Orange Sauvignon Blanc

Cooks Lot, the vinous creation of former Sydney chef Duncan Cook, is one of those Mudgee labels that sometimes flies under the radar, perhaps due to a lack of serious marketing budget. The wines have improved dramatically over the past couple of years and this is an outstandingly crisp and refreshing young sauvignon blanc, made from Orange fruit. It's a really floral and clean unoaked wine with gooseberry aromas and some delightful tang on the palate, which boasts grapefruit, passionfruit and nashi pear flavours. A lovely white for enjoying well chilled, in its youth. $20.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Clonakilla 2010 Shiraz Viognier

Tim Kirk at Murrumbateman, just outside Canberra, has created the benchmark for cool-climate shiraz/viognier blends. There’s fragrant perfume and lift from the viognier on the nose, but the complex palate has blackberry and plum flavours allied to white pepper and mocha. A gentle, complex, medium-bodied wine that evolves impressively in the glass. This is not a wine that jumps out at you, rather one that creeps up on you with its lithe muscularity. It's a beautifully constructed wine. $100.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pikes 2009 Luccio Sangiovese

Sometimes all I want is a savoury red wine that's easy to drink, goes well with food and doesn't cost a fortune. This wine from a reliably good family producer ticks all three of those boxes. Made from 100% sangiovese from the Clare Valley, this is a deliciously slurpable medium-bodied red that would be perfect with a wide range of Mediterranean dishes, from pizzas and pastas to prosciutto. Juicy and approachable but dry and earthy, it is a wine for enjoying with friends rather than one to be dissected and discussed. $18.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cullen 2009 Kevin John Chardonnay

If you are looking for Australia's best answer to grand cru Burgundy then you've come to the right place. Biodynamicist Vanya Cullen is crafting some sensational, and beautifully balanced, chardonnays that are pure, complex and full of interest. The fruit for the 2009 Kevin John, named in honour of her father, was picked at intervals over two weeks and at a range of baum├ęs, resulting in added textural interest. Both the nose and palate offer a melange of citrus and stone fruit but there is also some crisp acidity, beautifully integrated oak and some flinty linearity. A truly great wine - and the fourth straight vintage in which I have regarded it worthy of a review. $105.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Grosset 2011 Off-Dry Watervale Riesling

The second release of riesling maestro Jeffrey Grosset's single vineyard off-dry riesling from the Clare Valley is a step up again from his impressive first vintage. It's a bright and lively wine that's characterised by vivacious lemon blossom and freshly cut lime notes on both the nose and palate, searing minerality and beautifully balanced acidity with the 16g/l of residual sugar adding interest rather than obvious sweetness. One for lovers of German/Austrian wines, or those who simply find young Clare rieslings too confronting, this is perfectly pitched and would be delightful with a Thai banquet. $34.