Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hahndorf Hill 2012 Pinot Grigio

Adelaide Hills winery Hahndorf Hill attracts a lot of attention for its standout use of Austrian varieties gruner veltliner and blaufrankisch but it also produces some more mainstream wines of note. This is a fabulous little wine. The back label describes it as "ultra crisp, ultra cool" - and for once the back label doesn't lie. It's a bright, fresh wine (12.8% alcohol) made unashamedly in the northern Italian grigio style. Fruit forward with pear, green apple and tangerine notes, it is crisp and zesty and a perfect choice for long, hot summer days. I liked this a lot, drank the whole bottle, and it would be great with spicy Thai food as well as being a great quaffer.     

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tscharke Barossa Grounds Collection 2010 Marananga Grenache

Damien Tscharke's Barossa Grounds Collection replaces his former Glaymond label and the quality of the 2010 Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon both blew me away. If you are looking for wines with real depth and a sense of place, then this wine, from the Gnadenfrei vineyard in one of the Barossa's best villages, will certainly appeal. It's a single vineyard, single varietal wine made from a grape that is sadly out of fashion. Make no mistake: this is a big wine, inky and dark with 15% alcohol. There's a lifted plum-driven nose with plenty of richness on the palate with oak beautifully integrated. The palate offers a melange of dark berry and currant flavours, spice and tremendous length. A wine with that great intangible: drinkability. $36.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Le Chat Noir 2011 Pinot Noir

Decent, quaffable pinot noir for under $20? It's almost impossible to find but this terrific value import from the south of France manages it. Importer Nicholas Crampton describes it as “the best French Pinot Noir outside of Burgundy” and it is certainly a very tidy offering from the Aude Valley. It's on the riper side of the pinot spectrum, certainly no shrinking violet, but no brash bogan either. The (French) girl next door with smoothness, dark cherry fruit flavours, hints of earthiness and plenty of length. It can be found on special for as low as $15 but the RRP is $19. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Parker Coonawarra Estate 2008 Terra Rossa Cabernet Sauvignon

A classic Coonawarra cabernet with style and substance that has pleasingly been released after some significant maturation. While there is 14.5% alcohol, the wine is beautifully balanced, with nary a hint of heat on the palate. Rather, this is delightfully nuanced wine crafted by Pete Bissell, who also makes outstanding cabernets for Balnaves. There is a softness and approachability right now with the cabernet aided and abetted by small amounts of merlot and petit verdot, but there is also plenty of structure from aging in new and one-year-old quality French barrels. Think vibrant cassis flavours and nicely judged smoky oak. A lovely wine that is probably undervalued at $44.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tilbrook Estate 2010 Estate Chardonnay

Self-taught winemaker James Tilbrook handcrafts some exquisite wines in his mini winery in an old woollen mill at Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills. His chardonnays are generally outstanding, and this new release smashes the ball out of the park. There's plenty of flavour here; stone fruit and citrus to the fore, and  richness on the palate, too, with barrel fermentation having added textural interest. The wine is nonetheless very modern in style; clean and crisp on the finish with some appealing racy acidity. My bottle was empty in no time. I'd pair this with some Portuguese chicken, or maybe some freshly grilled sardines. Alternatively, it will cellar well for five years or so. Lovely stuff. $25.