Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Oakridge Local Vineyard Series 2012 Willowlake Vineyard Pinot Noir

This feminine, ethereal pinot noir was one of my favourites of the holiday season - how lucky we are in Australia to be able to buy such gloriously seductive wines without breaking the bank. Silky, supple, sensuous and serious; this is the vinous equivalent of sexy university professor. Great work from winemaker David Bicknell and his Oakridge team. It is one of a series of single vineyard pinots designed to illustrate different Yarra terroirs, but it stands alone as a beautiful drink. From the Gladysdale sub-region with red soils, it is pale red in colour and has substance to add to the satin with some earthy mushroom and truffle notes and delicate but emphatic structure. Just delightful. $38. www.oakridgewines.com.au

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Innocent Bystander 2014 Pinot Gris

Steve Flamsteed, chief winemaker at Giant Steps and Innocent Bystander in the Yarra Valley, is in a groove right now; producing wines across the spectrum from light and lively moscato to high-end individual vineyard chardonnays and pinots noir. This is certainly one of the best takes on pinot gris/grigio that I've seen this year; and it also offers cracking value for money. A blend of fruit from the Yarra and King valleys, this falls midway between gris and grigio stylistically. The fruit was hand-picked and whole bunch pressed with 50% going to stainless steel and the rest to mostly older French oak, which adds palate interest without impinging on the bright pear flavours. A fun drink for summer enjoyment. $20. www.innocentbystander.com.au

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Shaw+Smith 2013 Adelaide Hills Shiraz

Some Australian shirazes are absolute blockbusters; jam-packed with ripe fruit, new oak and high-octane alcohol levels, If you are looking for one of those wines then you've come to the wrong place. Instead, this a modern style of cooler-climate shiraz for mature palates, made by the very professional team at Shaw+Smith in the Adelaide Hills. It weighs in at 14% alcohol and is supple and stylish, polished and elegant with red fruit characters and pepper/spice characters to the fore rather than intrusive oak. The 2012 vintage of this was named best red wine in Australia at one of those international shows and this fleshy but beautifully structured wine is every bit as good. $44. www.shawandsmith.com.     

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Lark Hill 2014 Riesling

The Lark Hill wines never fail to impress, and while I love their newer varieties like gruner veltliner and sangiovese, this is an old favourite that always shines. Riesling thrives in the Canberra hinterlands and the slow ripening 2014 vintage resulted in an aromatic wine of great intensity with benchmark lemon and lime citrus notes alongside apple and tangy mineral characters. This is a fresh, zesty wine for immediate enjoyment but history suggests it will also cellar well. All Lark Hill wines are farmed biodynamically. $35. www.larkwhillwine.com.au.