Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hay Shed Hill 2013 Block 8 Cabernet Franc

This is like a very good football referee. It speaks softly but commands great respect. Michael Kerrigan makes a very wide range of wines at Hay Shed Hill in Margaret River and while cabernet franc may seem an unlikely choice as a stand-alone variety, it really shines in this incarnation. There is real concentration and varietal character here, making this perhaps the "go to" label for anyone interested in what is mostly used a blending component in Australia, and virtually everywhere else except Chinon in the Loire Valley. This is a wine of both restrained power and finesse (none of your airy fairy franc lightness here) and it is extremely food friendly, too. $35.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Pawn 2013 The Austrian Attack Gruner Veltliner

The Pawn is the wine label of Tom Keelan, former vineyard manager and still significant other at Bremerton in Langhorne Creek, along with some of his wine industry colleagues. It is a new name to me, introduced by his Tasmanian distributor Joe Holyman, and all three wines I tried, this, a sangiovese and a tempranillo, shone. As you might have guessed, the focus is mainly on alternative varieties and this Adelaide Hills take on the aromatic Austrian grape gruner veltliner sings with all the silvery tone of a diva soprano. It offers both refreshment and textural interest with orange blossom fragrance, apple and pear notes and hints of white spice. There is brisk minerality and some assertive acid. Fun and interesting. $27.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

St Hallett 2012 Old Block Shiraz

At a time when many Barossa producers are charging several hundred dollars a bottle for their flagship reds it is remarkable that St Hallett's Old Block Shiraz still has an RRP of just $100. It is an outstanding wine in its own right, cellar-worthy for sure, but also a tad more suave and elegant than several of its more brash, robust contemporaries. This is a stylish wine that's made from both Barossa and cooler-climate Eden Valley fruit. Matured in French oak, its has both power and restraint. From a great vintage, this supple and savoury wine weighs in at an eminently sensible 13.7% alcohol and is designed for sipping and savouring, perhaps when matched with a venison casserole. $100.     

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Helm 2015 Classic Dry Riesling

Ken Helm has been making rieslings in the Canberra region for close on 40 years now. He was a pioneer of the variety so when he describes his 2015 Classic Riesling as “an extraordinary wine from a spectacular year” there is more truth than hype in play. From a year Helm describes as “Nulli Secundus” - none better, this is a wonderfully aromatic example made from grapes sourced from the Helm estate and neighbouring vineyards within the Murrumbateman valley. Fresh floral aromas lead on to lime, grapefruit and Granny Smith apple flavours, hints of slatey minerality, river pebbles and a gram or two of residual sugar. The finish is brisk and clean and this was superb with a dish of pan-fried blue-eye trevalla. $35.