Sunday, August 31, 2014

Majella 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

Great vintage? Tick. Reliably good vineyards in a renowned cabernet region? Tick. Respected family business with an excellent winemaker in Bruce Gregory? Tick. Yes, the Majella 2012 ticks all the boxes and it is no surprise it was one of the stars at the recent Coonawarra Roadshow. This is a classic Coonawarra cab; inky and intense with juicy blackberry and Christmas cake characters. Large format French oak has added structure and interest without intruding on the softness and immediate appeal of the quality fruit. This would be a brilliant each way bet in that it is already drinking beautifully but has the pedigree to suggest it will cellar for 15 years or more. $35.   

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Patina 2008 Reserve Chardonnay

Gerard Naef is a transplanted Californian who is making some idiosyncratic and sometimes thrilling wines just outside Orange in Central Western New South Wales. This is a surprisingly youthful estate chardonnay for one at six years of age - and it still has some way to go. Give it some air to let the slightly stinky nose blow off and you have a real treat here with fleshy pear, peach and nectarine notes, beautifully integrated nutty oak and some citrusy lemon meringue hints on the finish. There is plenty of weight here despite the alcohol being only 11.9%. And there is still some nice acid on the finish, too. Who said Australian chardonnays do not cellar? I'd happily give this 96 points. $35.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

Peter Lehmann 2012 VSV 1885 Shiraz

There have been turbulent times at Peter Lehmann Wines in recent years with the deaths of both Peter and Doug Lehmann and the announcement that chief winemaker Andrew Wigan is to retire at the end of the year. Wigan will go out on a high, however, with this wine from the VSV (Very Special Vineyard) series a case in point. It is a wonderfully elegant example of Barossa Valley shiraz, sourced from the Schrapel family vineyard in Ebenezer that was planted in 1885. These gnarly old vines have produced an outstanding wine in this fabulous vintage; spicy, fruit-driven and beguiling. Brilliant in its youth but potentially long lived. $60.    

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Helm 2004 Half Dry Riesling

Ken Helm has been at the forefront of Australian riesling production for four decades now and has gradually expanded his horizons beyond his home territory of Murrumbateman outside Canberra. His 2014 range includes his classic dry and half dry wines, alongside some excellent dry offerings from Tumbarumba and Orange. Made in the low-alcohol German halbtrocken style, this wine is designed for those who like a little sweetness to their rieslings - the residual sugar adding roundness with being intrusive. This has just 11.3% alcohol and would be perfect paired with some five-spice chicken and pork wontons in a savoury broth. Aromatic, citrusy and downright delicious. $26.    

Saturday, August 2, 2014

St Hallett 2013 Old Vine Grenache

It's a mystery why grenache remains out of vogue when it can produce such deliciously drinkable wines as this little beauty from the Barossa Valley. This is made by talented Toby Barlow in the style of pinot noir; it's designed to be instantly slurpable, fresh and juicy and has proved a runaway success at the St Hallett cellar door, where it matches perfectly with the duck platters served up by chef Stuart Oldfield. Soft and pulpy with cranberry/raspberry notes, this just leaps out of the glass and is beautifully balanced with just 13.5% alcohol. A little ripper. $25.