Saturday, May 24, 2014

Chateau Rollan de By 2008

The price of some the more prestigious Bordeauxs has put them beyond the reach of mortals with budgets; but there is still some great "claret" available to those without a black American Express card. This is a case in point, a very impressive Cru Bourgeois from the ever-growing stable of Jean Guyon, who also owns the renowned Chateau Greysac. This Medoc blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot is soft and understated without any hints of greenness. There are moccha and ripe fruit aromas while the medium-bodied palate is blessed with an appealing structure with dark blackcurrant and restrained oak to the fore. Perfumed and elegant, it was an excellent match for a beef casserole. I liked this a lot. $59. Imported by DiscoverVin

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Kooyong Clonale 2013 Chardonnay

I am flabbergasted by the consistently quality of the wines Sandro Mosele makes for Kooyong. In blind tastings his wines regularly shine - standing out with their purity, pithiness and precision - so much so that it is often hard to find space to review all of the ones that impress. The Clonale is nominally an entry-level wine but this soars way above many other Australian chardonnays - and certainly most in a similar price bracket. Whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented in French oak (12% new), this has stone fruit and citrus vibrancy but with underlying concentration, nuttiness, flinty minerality, gentle creamy texture and brisk acidity. Very rarely nowadays do I manage to finish a whole bottle of wine. This was a worthy exception to that rule. $33. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mount Horrocks 2012 Nero d'Avola

There are a lot of good judges who believe that Nero d'Avola, the major red grape from Sicily, is one of the new-wave varietals most likely to succeed in Australia. The grapes are late-ripening, thrive in warmer climes and produce flavoursome medium-bodied wines. This is the first Nero d'Avola released by Stephanie Toole at Mount Horrocks in the Clare Valley - and it is extremely impressive. From a single vineyard in Watervale, this certified-organic offering is made in a fruit-driven style, perfect for early drinking enjoyment. It's produced in tiny quantities (around 100 cases) and its bright and lively freshness would make it a perfect partner for a rustic dish of meatballs, spaghetti and Italian cheese. $35.

Friday, May 2, 2014

West Cape Howe 2011 Two Steps Shiraz

I'm a little late arriving at this party. This shone in a recent tasting of mid-priced shirazes (well 2011 was a very good vintage in Western Australia) and my wife pronounced it as being spectacularly good. It is certainly outstanding value for money. But unfortunately a certain Mr James Halliday reviewed it, gave it 97/100 and it is sold out at the winery, although there may still be some left in retail stores. If you find some, snap it up. Made from fruit grown in Mount Barker and Frankland River, it ticks all the boxes at the bigger end of the medium-bodied spectrum. Rich: tick. Spicy: tick. Savoury: tick. Delectably complex and decadently drinkable. $28.