Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ten Minutes by Tractor 2013 Wallis Chardonnay

The year may still be young but I do not expect to taste many better chardonnays over the next 11 months than this exquisite offering from Ten Minutes by Tractor on the Mornington Peninsula. One of three individual vineyard chardonnays at the peak of the winery's pecking order - the others are the McCutcheon and the Judd - this is a wine for those with expensive tastes, probably lovers of fine white Burgundy. This ticks all the cool-climate chardonnay boxes; hand-picked, whole-bunch-pressed, wild yeast fermented and matured in quality French oak. The end result is lithe, like a beautifully proportioned catwalk model. Lean and very elegant this is top notch. $65.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Willow Creek Vineyard 2014 Malakoff Shiraz

If all shirazes tasted as good as this, then I would drink a lot more shiraz,” said my wife after this trumped a bracket of several more expensive shirazes in a recent tasting. Made by Mornington Peninsula winemaker Geraldine McFaul from fruit grown in the cool Pyrenees region of Victoria, it is a wine of remarkable quality for the price; terrific fruit, quality oak and great structure with just a hint of minerally tannins. Beautifully balanced and structured. I could drink quite a lot of this. $32.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Tapanappa 2014 Tiers Chardonnay

This is one of Australia's benchmark chardonnays; a wine that is both an expression of its terroir and an outstanding drink in its own right. If you like oaky, blousy chardonnays you've come to the wrong place; this is elegant in the style of white Burgundy with melon aromas and intense grapefruity citrus that reflects a cool vintage in the Adelaide Hills. There is attractive bright acidity alongside textural elements added by malolactic fermentation and lees maturation. The 33% new Vosges oak sits quietly in the background, never intruding. Simply lovely stuff from veteran winemaker Brian Croser and his talented family team. $79.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Meerea Park 2014 Terracotta Syrah

The 2014 vintage was an absolute stunner for shiraz in the Hunter Valley and the Eather brothers, Garth and Rhys, have hit the bullseye with this glorious French-accented individual-vineyard offering. The fruit, which includes 40% whole bunch, is sourced from the unirrigated Leonard Estate with its clay "terracotta" soils in the heart of Pokolbin - and boy has it delivered. This is a rich and concentrated wine, but with a definite lightness of being. French oak has added complexity and a 2% injection of viognier gives it brightness and lift. Scented, medium-bodied and downright delicious, this will cellar well but is in the "zone" for current drinking. $70.   

Friday, January 1, 2016

Levantine Hill 2015 Rosé

Not everyone loves Levantine Hill, with its expansive new cellar door complex in the Yarra Valley, advertising blitz and perceived high prices. I'm an unashamed fan. I like the wines; love the Ezard at Levantine Hill restaurant and admire the passion of the people behind the label - Elias and Colleen Jreissati and talented former Yarra Yering winemaker Paul Bridgeman. There are several outstanding single vineyard reds in the range but for warm weather drinking pleasure you can't go past this deliciously quaffable rosé, which is a cabernet-driven wine with a dash of pinot noir in the blend. This is summer liquified; a handpicked, pale and very savoury wine with raspberry/cream, herb garden and dark cherry notes that is fresh and lively but also has plenty of length and depth. A serious rosé that's a lot of fun. $36.