Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Monday, December 21, 2020
After 30+ years of producing stellar chardonnays and pinot noirs in the Macedon Ranges, Curly Flat is something of an "insiders" wine, much loved by members of the trade; mainly because of reliable quality and terrific value. Owner Jenifer Kolkka brought winemaker Matt Harrop on board a couple of vintages ago and the wines continue to shine; this rather Burgundian chardonnay, more Meursault than Chablis, would be fabulous with Christmas roast pork or turkey. Concentrated stone fruit aided and abetted by mineral acid drive. Lovely stuff. 96/100. $46. www.curlyflat.com.
Thursday, December 17, 2020
Feeling adventurous? Dump cabernet, bypass shiraz and instead enjoy a glass or two of mencia. The grape from north-west Spain is very much at home in the warmth of McLaren Vale, producing medium-bodied reds with lips-smacking potential. This is fresh, vibrant and aromatic with berry and plum notes to the fore. A wine for enjoying in its youth - and it can even be lightly chilled on a summer day. Pair with a Spanish omelette. $30. www.darenberg.com.au
Thursday, December 10, 2020
If you are looking for a Christmas present for a lover of serious Australian wine then look no further. This is the new release of a classic Australian blend of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz with the signature of long-time Yalumba winemaker Louisa Rose. Yalumba's history dates back to 1849 and since 1962 each release of the Signature has been dedicated to people who have "made a significant contribution to the culture and traditions of Yalumba". This is the 47th Signature and probably one of the finest - well done winemaker Kevin Glastonbury. This vintage is dark and inky, complex and intense and is drinking well in its youth but will cellar well. Pair with beef bourgignon or fricasee of mushrooms. $65. www.yalumba.com.
Monday, November 16, 2020
This is an Australian classic that is drinking beautifully at five years of age. Hunter semillon is a unique treasure and this part of the new vintage release of the Tyrrell's Winemaker’s Selection range. The 2015 Vat 1 Semillon was the product of a long, cool summer and has an amazing intensity on both nose and palate. There is still plenty of refreshing acidity - but the fruit flavours have mellowed just a tad. Vat 1 is always sourced from old vine, dry grown vineyards, the oldest of which are approaching their 100th birthday. This is all about the fruit with no oak fermentation or maturation. This has has power and precision and prompted a: "What is this, it is bloody delicious?" From my pernickety co-taster. $98. www.tyrrells.com.au
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Ashton Hills has for a couple of decades now been one of the finest pinot noir producers in Australia and a gradual handing of the winemaking reins from founder Stephen George to Liam van Pelt has happened seamlessly. This was fermented with 30% whole bunches and then basket pressed before spending nine months in one-to-three year-old French oak. It is very stylish indeed; using fruit sourced purely from preferred clones on the Piccadilly estate in the Adelaide Hills. Floral and earthy elements exist in harmony and there is a long, fine tannin structure. Think layers of flavours, soft persistence and immediate smooth drinkability. Mushroom risotto anyone? $55. www.ashtonhills.com.au.
Saturday, October 31, 2020
Here is a welcome surprise as we enter the season of barbecues and al fresco dining; a big, bold, typically Australian shiraz that is an ideal partner for anything from gourmet burgers to a sausage sandwich. It features fruit from three states, including parcels from the Murray Darling, Riverina, Padthaway, Gundagai, Coonawarra and Mount Lofty. There is a lot going on here; powerful fruit flavours (blackberry and dark plum to the fore) rule but there is also an inherent drinkability thanks to a soft finish. Nice structure - great value. $13. www.bertonvineyards.com.au/
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Calling all lovers of Petit Chablis and Chablis; of wines from the Macon, and St Veran. Seriously good chardonnay here in the style of White Burgundy from one of the best producers on the Mornington Peninsula. Winemaker Glen Hayley doesn't attract a lot of headlines, but he's damn good at his job. Both the Kooyong wines and those under the Port Phillip Estate label are ruthlessly reliable. This is lean, sleek, impeccably balanced and very gluggable with citrus and minerality the key drivers. $34. www.kooyongwines.com.au.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
The Yarra Valley is best known for chardonnay and pinot noir, but it is increasingly also producing outstanding medium-bodied shirazes. The Seville Estate 2018 is a case in point;diabolically drinkable. The estate range is made using a combination of old vines planted in 1972 and younger vines planted in 1996. All grapes are handpicked and sorted in the vineyard (50% whole bunch). The end result is floral fruity aromas and very classy red fruit flavours with some some Asian spice input. Seriously good drinking, even in its youth.
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Fraser Gallop Estate in Margaret River is renowned for its chardonnays, with the 2018 Parterre Chardonnay awarded "best in show" at the recent Decanter World Wine Awards in London. Both the 2018 and 2019 Parterre chardonnays are standouts, but this less flashy sibling caught my fancy. Bordeaux and Burgundy grape varieties both thrive in the Wilyabrup soils and this hits all the right notes; a wine that is quietly contemplative; wild fermented, matured in new and second-fill oak. It is beautifully composed with freshness and acidity - think tropical notes - but also complexity and texture. Great work from former Vasse Felix winemaker Clive Otto $38. www.frasergallopestate.com.au.
Sunday, October 4, 2020
This may well be my favourite Hunter Valley shiraz of the year. If you are in the market for a medium-to-big-bodied red then you've certainly come to the right place. This is the flagship shiraz from the Eather brothers from Meerea Park - made from the best single parcel of shiraz grapes they harvest each vintage. Situated on Palmers Lane in Pokolbin, the ‘Homestead’ vineyard is the fruit source for this wine. The vines are well established and mature, having been planted in the mid 1960s - the decade of love and music. And if this were a piece of music it would be a Ritchie Blackmore guitar solo - a virtuoso performance. It's deep purple in colour (see what I did there) with oak and tannins combining for a plush, flashy virtuoso finish. $110. www.meereapark.com.au
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Matt Burton and Dylan McMahon are both fine young winemakers in their own right; Burton for Gundog Estate in the Hunter Valley and McMahon for Seville Estate in the Yarra Valley. When they come together in this joint venture, however, there is a special chemistry. It would be extremely easy tasting blind to pick this pinot from the Upper Yarra as being a village Burgundy. There is delicacy and structure; strawberry and raspeberry notes with savoury hints and serious elegance. I could drink an awful lot of this. $40.
Monday, September 21, 2020
No matter how much pinot gris the team from Derwent Estate makes, it is never enough to satisfy demand in Tasmania, let alone nationally. This is something of an apple isle icon; a perfect wine for summer with fresh aromatics and plenty of classic white pear flavour and soft spice alongside brisk natural acidity. Stylistically it is midway between gris and grigio. The fruit is grown on a north-facing bank of the Derwent River and comes from 25+ year-old vines. Perfect for enjoying with a spring picnic. $38. www.derwentestate.com.au
Saturday, September 12, 2020
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Sunday, August 30, 2020
Geoff Merrill was among the first of Australia's rockstar winemakers. With a bushy mustache and cheeky humour he hung around with test cricketers and TV stars at a time when most wine producers were faceless men. Forty years after starting Geoff Merrill Wines - and with assistance from Scott Heidrich - Merrill is still producing some excellent wines. This good-value sangiovese is a case in point; released at four years of age and selling at a very reasonable price. It is named in honour of his great-grandfather Joseph Cilento, who migrated to Australia in the late 1800s and pays tribute to his Italian heritage. Think balance, earthiness, savoury notes and food-friendliness. $28. www.geoffmerrillwines.com.au.
Sunday, August 16, 2020
Saturday, August 8, 2020
Here's a dark, inky wine that would stand out as being quintessentially Australian in any blind tasting. Reflecting its McLaren Vale terroir, this is a masculine red blend of grenache, shiraz and mourvedre that has plenty of style and swagger; think Errol Flynn as a swashbuckling pirate. You'll find intense dark fruit flavours, earthy notes, well-integrated oak and some Asian spice hints, which all come together as a serious cellaring prospect. $76. www.arenberg.com.au.
Saturday, August 1, 2020
Thursday, July 23, 2020
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Sunday, June 28, 2020
If you fancy trying a Henschke wine but don't have the $850+ to splash out on a bottle of Hill of Grace, then the Henry's Seven red blend is a very good option. Made in the same meticulous fashion as the rest of the organic and biodynamic Henschke range this is affordable luxury. A blend of shiraz, grenache and mataro, with a touch of viognier, it is a very composed red ideal for enjoying over winter. Plummy, soft and smooth. Instant gratification. $37. www.henschke.com.au.
Sunday, June 21, 2020
Sunday, June 14, 2020
Friday, June 5, 2020
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
There is a certain magic to the chardonnays produced by Steve Webber at De Bortoli Yarra Valley. While the wines are cool-climate Australian, each carries just a little whisper of Burgundy. This single-vineyard wine is made from vines planted 45 years ago that produce chardonnays with exceptional purity of fruit; think a high-quality Pouilly-Fuissé, perhaps. It is a very elegant wine, from a warm season with very appealing elegance and bright natural acid. I like it right now, but it could also cellar for a year or two should you wish. A wine to sip and ponder, maybe with some James Taylor on the stereo. Very composed; very tempting.
Saturday, May 9, 2020
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
This is a very high quality chardonnay for its price point; made from certified organic fruit grown on the Isolation Ridge vineyard in the remote Frankland River region of West Australia. The ironstone soils help craft a wine that has zippy grapefruit and tangerine flavours to the fore, with some subdued nutty and smoky characters.There is freshness here, complexity, length and a dry, crisp finish. A wine with serious poise that would pair well with pan-fried fish dishes, or some James Taylor on the turntable. $30. www.franklandestate.com.au.
Monday, April 20, 2020
Nebbiolo is an Italian red grape variety from the Piedmont area where it is used in the classic wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. In Australia, it tends to show at its best in cooler regions, as exemplified by this excellent release from the Adelaide Hills, which offers more than a nod to the grape's ancestry. Dark notes, from licorice to prunes, black cherries to violets shine here in a medium-bodied red that encourages glugging rather than sipping. It is complex, savoury and bright with beguiling dusty tannins. Savoury notes ensure it will cellar well, but it is downright delicious right now - a vinous Lolita. A very solid 95/100. $50. www.longviewvineyard.com.au.
Friday, April 10, 2020
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Friday, March 20, 2020
Sunday, March 15, 2020
Saturday, February 29, 2020
Sunday, February 2, 2020
Wednesday, January 22, 2020