A very special first release from high-level Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyards in McLaren Vale; a great Australian vineyard now under new ownership. This vineyard has produced grapes for wines such as Penfolds Grange and Eileen Hardy and was sold two years ago to Jackson Family Wines of the United States. This is one of four impressive red wines released from the first vintage after the sale and it is an US-Australian combination of winemakers Chris Carpenter and Charlie Seppelt that has produced this stunning cabernet sauvignon - which I put firmly in the top 20 Australian cabernets on this evidence. It's a wine that shows McLaren Vale can match Margaret River and Coonawarra when it comes to cabernets with both flavour and finesse. A blend of 95% cabernet and 5% merlot, this is silky, elegant, flavoursome, polished, refined, and downright delicious. A rare gem. $75. www.hickinbothamwines.com
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Talk about food-friendly! This medium-bodied wine might have been designed to accompany Mediterranean nibbles like a charcuterie plate or marinated olives. Andrew Wood, a winemaker without a vineyard, sources fruit from the McLaren Vale region with preference for making wines that offer something just a little bit different. This is a blend of montepulciano, sangiovese, cabernet and shiraz that offers immediate drinkability; an Australian wine with an Italian accent with bright fruit, savoury tannin structure, spice elements and a soft finish. Lovely stuff and immediately accessible. $25. www.waywoodwines.com.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
This is absolutely delicious. Stonkingly crisp and refreshing - like having a mountain stream in your mouth. Grosset is best known for his premium rieslings and is probably the most consistent producer in Australia. His Gaia red blend is also pretty special, so this blend of Clare Valley semillon and Adelaide Hills sauvignon blanc can sometimes get overlooked. Big mistake. This is just superb, the perfect choice for lovers of fresh, vibrant young whites. But there were only 85 cases made, so it might pay to be quick off the mark buying this one. $38. www.grosset.com.
Saturday, July 5, 2014
John Duval was for many years the chief winemaker at Penfolds, crafting Grange, Bin 707 and other Australian wine icons. These days he has his own label and sources fruit from old vineyards in and around the Barossa Valley. This was the wine with which he kicked off his new enterprise a decade ago, a Rhone-style blend of shiraz, grenache and mourvedre. And boy is this new release a cracker. From one of the best vintages in living memory, it has both power and elegance and is approachable now while being cellar worthy. Fifteen months in French oak have added structure and texture to the blackberry and spice notes and the end result tastes like a wine that should command at least twice the price. $40. www.johnduvalwines.com.