Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cullen 2013 Kevin John Chardonnay

Vanya Cullen pays attention to detail in whatever she does; whether that is in her biodynamically managed vineyards, or in the winery. Her icon white wine, named in honour of her father, underlines the benefits of that attitude. It is, quite simply, one of Australia's finest white wines, a chardonnay where brilliant fruit and quality oak come together to create a tour de force. Grapes were whole bunch pressed and fermented with wild yeast in French barriques and the fruit underwent natural malolactic fermentation prior to nine months in new and one-year-old oak. The end result; a beguiling combination of tropical fruit and citrus notes with elegance and nutty intensity.$105.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ruckus Estate 2013 Merité Merlot

This one could be a real game changer. While many Australian merlots are bland and monochromatic, this debut wine from Ruckus Estate is a very different beast. There is some great fruit here, along with quite prominent oak (50% new), and the overall package might change your mind about merlot in Australia as this could easily be mistaken for right bank Bordeaux. Impressive. New clones planted in Wrattonbully and great work from consultant winemaker Sue Bell are the key here, with all the bells-and-whistles (joke) wine making including partial whole bunch, open ferments, indigenous yeasts etc. This is dark and inky but at the same time subtle and beguiling. I'll be looking out for the second release. $50.  

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Weingut Schrock 2013 Beerenauslese

From an impressive range of wines from Austrian Heidi Schrock, who is based at Rust in the Burgenland, this is an outstanding beerenauslese dessert wine that is sweet but impeccably poised. The Schrock family has been growing grapes since the late 18th century and the family's south-facing vineyards form an amphitheatre around Lake Neusiedl. This is a 50-50 blend of riesling and pinot blanc, largely botrytised, with a delicate floral nose that leads on to a cumquat marmalade palate with 95 grams of residual sugar and a crisp acid finish. This is more than just a "pudding wine", however, with Schrock keen that wine lovers should try pairing her sweet wines with savoury dishes. This would go well with spicy Thai seafood dishes with a high chilli and ginger quotient. $60 for 375mlImported by World Wine Estates 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A.Retief 2012 Gundagai Shiraz

If you enjoy red wines than sing softly rather than shriek, then you've come to the right place. This is a quite splendid cool-climate shiraz made by Alex Retief from fruit grown on his family's biodynamic vineyard in the Gundagai region, previously better known for a sculpture of a dog on a box rather than vinous excellence. This, however, should make you sit up and pay attention. It is a melodious wine of great subtlety, with dark cherry and white spice notes canoodling contentedly. There is plenty of length and plenty of flavour (and only 11.5% alcohol) but all the elements are seamless. Quite simply a lovely drink. $28.  

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Grace Farm 2014 Chardonnay

Grace Farm is a relative newcomer in Margaret River. The first vines were only planted in 2006 and the initial wines were released in 2010. Young vines or not, this is an absolutely outstanding chardonnay with an impressive purity and intensity to it. The fruit is grown in vineyards that are farmed organically, although not certified, and this was hand-picked and fermented using indigenous yeasts. French oak barriques have added structural interest without intruding on the brightness, while stone fruit and citrus notes co-existing amicably along with fresh, brisk acidity. A really lovely wine to drink - and absurdly good value. We paired it with roast loin of pork. $30.