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Monday, December 14, 2015

2012 Quealy Pinot Grigio

My first time trying a Quealy Pinot Gris, and I'm not sure this was the best example for me to have. Perhaps having this wine three years past vintage was not ideal, but I found it a bit disappointing having heard winemaker Kathleen Quealy dubbed as the 'queen of Pinot Grigio'.

Soft aromas of pear with a touch of grapefruit. Fairly high levels of acidity and nice and dry. I will definitely try to seek out a more recent vintage of this wine.

Price:      $30
Source:   Grand Central Cellars
Varietal:  Pinot Grigio
Tasted:    November 2015
Rating:    89
Website: www.quealy.com.au

2015 De Bortoli 'La Bohème Act Two' Dry Pinot Rosé‎

A consistently good dry style Rose that is easy to find. I've shared with a few friends, over Indian or Malaysian food, and heard more than once that they didn't think that they liked Rose.

Strawberrys and rosewater aromas . Soft and juicy, with just a touch of acidity to keep it lively. This is a go-to for spice heavy foods. Fresh, fun, and food friendly.

Price:      $19
Source:   Dan Murphy's
Varietal:  Pinot Noir
Tasted:    November 2015
Rating:    92
Website: www.debortoli.com.au

2014 Farr Rising Saignee Rose

Winemaker Nick Farr allows Pinot grapes to sit on skins in the tank for 2-3 hours before he bleeds the free running juice to make this wine. He then barrel ferments at cool temperatures and allows full malo-lactic fermentation. The result? One of the most interesting and delicious Roses I've tried.

Rose petal and turkish delight, but also cherry and solid use of good quality oak. Slippery refreshing palate. This has so many of the characters I like about Pinot noir, all in a very easy drinking Rose perfect for summer. Lovc this wine.

Price:      $30
Source:   Grand Central Cellars
Varietal:  Pinot Noir
Tasted:    November 2015
Rating:    95
Website: www.byfarr.com.au

2012 Wolf Blass 'Grey Label' Shiraz


A mid level Shiraz from the Wolf Blass range, with fruit from McLaren Vale.

Dark, ripe shiraz aromas with moderate oak. Tastes of dark cherries and blackberry fruit. Tannins a touch grippy for my taste. Over all a fairly good Shiraz on the riper end of the spectrum.

Price:      $36
Source:   Dan Murphy's
Varietal:  Shiraz
Tasted:    November 2015
Rating:    92
Website: www.wolfblass.com

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2012 Hayshed Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Hay Shed Hill Cabernet Sauvignon2012 was a strong vintage for the Margaret River, as well as many other regions in Australia. Fruit for this wine all came from the estate vineyard. Grapes were open fermented prior to spending 18 months in good quality french oak.

Ripe dark berry aromas with hints of chocolate and just a touch of mint. Wonderfully balanced and finely structured palate, with well integrated oak. Paired fantastic with braised lamb shanks.

Price:      $30
Source:   CRU Bar and Cellar
Varietal:  Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasted:    October 2015
Rating:    94
Website: www.hayshedhill.com.au




Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2015 Jacob's Creek 'Classic' Riesling

While Riesling in Australia generally has a very favorable ratio of quality to cost, it's still quite impressive to find such an enjoyable wine sitting below 7 dollars. In terms of an everyday-drinking white wine, it's hard to go wrong here. 
A rather floral Riesling, almost leaning towards notes of tropical fruit, there are some nice citrus elements that keep it refreshing. Soft acidity and more lemon and lime flavors on the palate. A good one to keep on hand.
Price:      $6.20
Source:   Dan Murphy's
Varietal:  Riesling
Tasted:    October 2015
Rating:    89
Website: www.jacobscreek.com




2013 Jed Torrontés

The Torrontés grape is something new to me, and I love it. It's such an interesting and unique aromatic white grape. This particular wine comes from three Australian wine makers who travel to Argentina, the home of Torrontés, each year to produce wines. The Argentinian Torrontés grape is not to be confused with the Spanish grape of the same name, as genetic testing has revealed that it is likely more closely related to Muscat of Alexandria.

Bright floral aromas, carrying plenty of rose petal and jasmine sit alongside a spiciness I really enjoy. It has a backbone of good acidity and a slightly firm, fine finish. South East Asian cuisine seems the natural partner for this wine.

Price:      RRP$25
Source:   Tasting 
Varietal:  Torrontes
Tasted:    October 2015
Rating:    94
Website: www.jedwines.com

2013 Jed Malbec

Jed's wines are made by three young Australian winemakers that fly to the Uco Valley, in Argentina's Mendoza region, each year to produce a variety of wines. Made in a medium bodied and very accessible style, that's great for everyday drinking.

A red berry fragrance, with some hints of violet and a dusting of pepper. Ample, yet refreshing tannins make way for a well balanced finish. While I didn't taste this with food, I couldn't help but think about steak.

Price:      RRP$25
Source:   Tasting 
Varietal:  Malbec
Tasted:    October 2015
Rating:    92
Website: www.jedwines.com

2007 Izadi Crianza

Bodega Izadi is a member of the Artevino group in Rioja, Spain. This Crianza is comprised of 100 percent Tempranillo, which has spent 14 months in American oak.

Nose opens with red berry fruit, anise, and hints of cedar and vanilla. Tannins are rounding out nicely, producing an elegant and structured palate. Has both the power and a roundness that allowed it to pair nicely with cured meats and Manchego.

Price:      $50
Source:   www.simplywines.net.au 
Varietal:  Tempranillo
Tasted:    October 2015
Rating:    93
Website: www.izadi.com


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2013 La Terre et du Temps 'Mas Autanel' Picpoul de Pinet


Piquepoul is one of the oldest white wine grapes to be grown in the Languedoc region of France. Wine maker Jean-Claude Zabalia has made this wine from vineyards rented in this region, where it is apparently very difficult to purchase land.

Beautiful floral and mineral aromas, with exceptional length and acidity. An almost saline minerality on the palate. This just got better and better after being opened for a few hours. I really enjoyed this wine and though it  paired beautifully with scallops.

Price:      $38
Source:   Wine Emporium
Varietal: Piquepol
Tasted:    October 2015
Rating:    95
Website: http://www.laterreletemps.com/

2013 De Bortoli 'Villages' Pinot Noir

I'm often pleasantly surprised by the quality of wine De Bortoli are able to produce, in relatively large quantities and at very smart prices. This is certainly no exception, and a very good Pinot Noir for under $20. Blended from the 'leftovers' of the 6 different estate wines, this wine is naturally fermented with about 20 percent whole bunches.

Dark red berry fruit aromas wrapped with spicy herbal notes from the whole bunch additions. Chalky and finely textured tannins give good form and length to this wine. Just very good Yarra Valley Pinot Noir at a very good price.

Price:      $17
Source:   Dan Murphy's
Varietal:  Pinot Noir
Tasted:    October 2015
Rating:    94
Website: www.debortoli.com.au

2013 Margan Estate Shiraz

Margan ShirazAn entry level Shiraz sourced from winemaker Andrew Margan's Hunter valley vineyards.

Some reductive sulfur notes on first opening, which fell away on the second day of tasting. Some dark berry fruit, with spice and earthy notes. Decently structured tannins which stuck around on the palate for a decent amount of time. Not a bad Shiraz, will likely benefit from a bit more age.

Price:      $20
Source:   Dan Murphy's
Varietal:  Shiraz
Tasted:    October 2015
Rating:    89
Website: www.margan.com.au

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

2012 Rusden 'Chritine's Vineyard' Grenache

ChristinesVineyard NVSourced from vines that were planted over 40 years ago, this wine takes it's name from winemaker Christian Canute's mother, who is particularly fond of this old vine block.

Spicy herbal aromas mix well with dark cherry fruit and a bit of licorice. I found it lighter on the palate than the nose suggested, which was a pleasant surprise. More spice on the palate with nice chalky tannins and a good acid finish.  Paired very well with roast lamb.


Price:      $40
Source:   Gift
Varietal:  Grenache
Tasted:    October 2015
Rating:    93
Website: www.rusdenwines.com.au




Thursday, October 8, 2015

2001 St Hubert's Pinot Noir

Bought with a group, figuring it would minimize the risk, I was surprised to find a Pinot of this age that still has some primary fruit character and structure remaining.

Opening with some soft cherry aromas, savory forest floor and mushroom like aromas soon followed. Tannins were very soft, but still there in quantity and structure holding the wine together with a touch of remaining acidity. It was definitely a pleasant surprise.

Price:      $45
Source:   Grape Therapy, Fortitude Valley
Varietal:  Pinot Noir
Tasted:    October 2015
Rating:    93
Website:  www.sthuberts.com.au/


2001 Tamar Ridge Pinot Noit

It was a bit of a gamble trying a pinot of this age, but after the '01 St Hubert, I figured the gamble could pay off.  I was wrong. Completely shot.

Taking on aromas of stewed fruit and wild honey, the acidity is out of check and there are relatively no tannins to speak of. You win some, you lose some.

Price:      $45
Source:   Grape Therapy, Fortitude Valley
Varietal:  Pinot Noir
Tasted:    October 2015
Rating:    80
Website:  www.brownbrothers.com.au

1998 Yalumba ' The Menzies' Cabernet Sauvignon

Named after politician and wine enthusiast Sit Robert Menzie, the grapes for this wine all come from the Menzies vineyard in Coonawarra.

Initial cigar box and black pepper aromas opened up in the decanter to reveal more dark berry fruit and developed well over about an hour. Didn't detect any of the eucalypt like aromas, common in wines from Coonawarra.  The tannins have aged gracefully and the acidity is still in tact and well balanced, resulting in excellent structure and length. This wine has developed well and likely still has a few good years ahead of it.

Price:      $60
Source:   Grape Therapy, Fortitude Valley
Varietal:  Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasted:    October 2015
Rating:    95
Website:  www.yalumba.com


Monday, September 21, 2015

2015 Oliver's Taranga Mencia Rose

chica_spritzedHailing from Spain, the Mencia grape is one of my favorite red varietals. The best examples of which can be reminiscent of a cross between a cool climate Shiraz and an earthy Pinot Noir. Oliver's Taranga are one of only two growers in Australia that currently have this grape (along with Dell'Uva) and have been making this tasty rose for the last two vintages, with their first red Mencia about to be released.

Leading with strawberry fruit, their is a hint of spice on the nose which I find very charming. It almost smells like it might be a touch sweet, however it is refreshingly crisp and dry with a nice little flick of acid. Great summer wine, sure to go well with lots of food and win over a crowd.

Price:      $24
Source:   Winemaker
Varietal:  Mencia
Tasted:    September 2015
Rating:    92
Website:  www.oliverstaranga.com




2014 Jauma 'The Message' Shiraz

Winemaker James Erksine has sourced fruit from McLaren Vale grower Fiona Wood to produce this Shiraz in a rather 'hands off' manner. Allowed to ferment with the wild yeasts found on the grapes themselves, this wine is left unfiltered and unfined with only a small amount of sulfur added.

Juicy red berry aromas are predominant, with support from a hint of earth. Light and dusty tannins are just right to make this wine interesting, yet very drinkable at a young age. A great wine for this price.

Price:      $25
Source:   Stewart's Wine Co.
Varietal:  Shiraz
Tasted:    September 2015
Rating:    93
Website:  www.jauma.com




Monday, August 24, 2015

2014 Coriole Barbera

Another good Italian varietal from Coriole in McLaren Vale. Nice fresh Barbera, ready to drink right away.

A delicate savory nose, with plenty of dark cherry fruit aromas. Soft tannins and a good level of acidity. A very approachable young wine. Great for a group and quite food friendly.

Price:      $22
Source:   Different Drop
Varietal:  Barbera
Tasted:    August 2015
Rating:    92
Website:  www.coriole.com

2010 Ros Ritchie Cabernet Sauvignon

After 25 years of making wine with Delatite, Ros Ritchie set up Ros Ritchie Wines in Victoria, where she sources grapes from several small growers. While her focus is on more aromatic varietals such as Riesling and Gwurztraminer, she produces a wide range of different wines from the region.

Dark blackberry fruits with hints of licorice, mint and wet stone. Fine tannins, moderate oak, and a good level of residual acidity. A very nice Cabernet, at a smart price. I suspect this wine has many good years left in it.

Price:      $30
Source:   CRU Bar
Varietal:  Cabernet
Tasted:    August 2015
Rating:    94
Website:  http://www.rosritchiewines.com/




2010 Wynns 'Black Label' Cabernet Sauvignon

As many Australian wine fans are well aware the Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the best value wines from the Coonawarra region, and generally ages quite well. While it's certainly one to buy up and cellar, I've notice a few times I've been able to buy this wine with a few years already on it for very little mark up. An attractive proposition to someone like myself with a fairly small wine fridge.

This 2010 is coming along nicely. Chocolate, earth, and mint, line up well with the dark berry and plum aromas. Maybe a hint of cigar box developing. Still plenty of life left in the tannins of this wine, but they're becoming quite silky and very enjoyable. Look forward to seeing this wine again in another few years.

Price:      $30
Source:   Vintage Cellars
Varietal:  Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasted:    August 2015
Rating:    95
Website:  www.wynns.com.au

2012 Yabby Lake 'Single Vineyard' Pinot Noir

Coming from one of Australia's best viticultural and winemaking teams, Keith Harris and Tom Carson, this is a good example of just how good Victorian Pinot Noir has gotten. An excellent Aussie Pinot, I'm now super keen to get a taste of some of the single block Pinots from this vintage.

Plum and red cherry aromas with some forest floor and mushrooms. Great length on the palate, offering more purple red fruit alongside some more savory flavors. Everything I want from a Mornington Pinot Noir.

I think I may have plucked this one from the wine fridge a touch early, as I suspect it still has lots of development potential.

Price:      $55
Source:   Wine Emporium
Varietal:  Pinot Noir
Tasted:    August 2015
Rating:    96
Website:  www.yabbylake.com




2014 Kalleske 'Plenarius' Viognier

Long time grape growers, the Kalleske family have been producing biodynamic wines in the Barossa Valley under their own label since 2002. This style of wine, known as an orange wine, is produced by fermenting white wine grapes while in contact with their skin, in this case for 7 days. I find this to be one for their more interesting wines, and am pleased with how this wine maintain many of the characters I associate with more typical Viogniers.

I get aromas of honer, ginger, apricot, and mandarin. The palate is really nice with the tannins from the skins adding great texture and length. There is a nice acid zing that balances out these tannins and the apricot jam sweetness of this wine. This is a wine definitely worth tracking down. Both interesting and delicious. Make sure to let this warm up a bit before serving, as it got far more interesting outside of the fridge.

Price:      $30
Source:   Stewart's Wine Co.
Varietal:  Viognier
Tasted:    August 2015
Rating:    94
Website:  www.kalleske.com






2014 Coriole Nero D'Avola

Another great Nero D'avola hailing from McLaren Vale. Made in a fresh and easy drinking style this wine is very approachable and ready to drink right away. Coriole are helping to lead the way in the production of great wines from Italian varietals in this region.

Bright fresh red fruit aromas, with plenty of cherry, mingle with some light spicy notes and a hint of aniseed. Silky soft tannins with decent palate length. Found myself going for a second glass pretty quick. Paired very well with pan seared duck breast.

Price:      $22
Source:   Different Drop
Varietal:  Nero D'avola
Tasted:    August 2015
Rating:    93
Website:  www.coriole.com



2013 Collector 'Marked Tree Red' Shiraz

The 'Marked Tree Red' is winemaker Alex McKay's entry level Shiraz, with his top fruit going into his reserve Shiraz, but don't let the price tag fool you this is a seriously good climate Shiraz. Grown in the Canberra District, the wines are made in the Southern Tablelands of NSW about 40 km from Canberra.

A nice peppery nose with red berries, predominately cherry and some spice. Bright fine tannins are well integrated. An excellent wine with good length. Light yet surprisingly full bodied. I also had a chance to taste the reserve, although in smaller volume, and I suspect this is a winery to watch.

Price:      $26
Source:   Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show
Varietal:  Shiraz
Tasted:    June 2015
Rating:    94
Website:  http://www.collectorwines.com.au/

2013 Turkey Flat 'Butchers Block' Red

This vintage of the Butcher's Block Red is Shiraz dominant, accounting for almost half of the volume, with Grenache and Mataro making up the rest in similar proportions. A very generous and well balanced blend that  over delivers at this price point. 

Aromas of roses, new leather, strawberries, earth and spice. Some cassis with red and black berries on the palate. Subtle yet well structured tannins make for a silky smooth, easy to drink wine that impresses. A great, versatile food wine at a smart price. 

Price:      $20
Source:   Craft Red Hill
Varietal:  Shiraz (48%), Grenache (28%), Mataro (24%)
Tasted:    August 2015
Rating:    93
Website: http://www.turkeyflat.com.au/



  

Monday, June 22, 2015

2015 RQFWS presents Grape Grazing by Night‏


I volunteered to be a Steward for part of the Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show and had the opportunity to taste a bunch of excellent wines.

That opportunity is being extended to the general public next Friday at the Brisbane Showgrounds . Not one to miss, as there will be over 2000 Australian wines available for tasting. Some really amazing wines too. All medal winning wines will be available, and I found heaps of wines I loved that didn't win medals this year.

Tickets are $80. They include canapes and are available here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

2014 The Lane 'Block 3' Chardonnay

Coming from the coldest site at The Lane vineyard in the Adelaide Hills, this is a very clean, modern style of Chardonnay. A great Chardonnay for those that lean away from oakier Chardonnays.

Tropical fruit nose develops more towards orange peel and grapefruit aromas in the glass. Nice clean bright acidity with just a touch of malolactic fermentation. A very clean refreshing wine, sure to pair well with Asian foods.

Price:      $25
Source:   Cellar Door
Varietal:  Chardonnay
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    92
Website:  www.thelane.com.au


Sunday, May 24, 2015

2013 Jamsheed 'Pyren' Syrah

Fruit from the Pyren Vineyard, in the Pyrenese Vally, Victoria underwent 100% whole bunch fermentation with wild yeast and a 40 day maceration, before spending 10 months in puncheons. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered. A superb Syrah, showing how well suited this grape is to this region.

Pours a dark crimson color with heady aromas of rich red berries, dried herbs, and hints of wet stone. The large percentage of whole bunch really works here and is well balanced with the dark fruit. Fantastic length and tannin structure. Great development in the glass. I'm smitten.

Price:      RRP $58
Source:   Tasting
Varietal:  Shiraz
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    96
Website:  http://www.jamsheed.com.au





2012 Tim Adams 'The Fergus' Grenache

Taking it's name from the owner of a neighboring vineyard who was kind enough to sell them Grenache grapes during a shortage of Shiraz and Cabernet during. This vintage the grapes were fermented with Tempranillo skins and blended with a significant amount of Tempranillo and Malbec. 

Good varietal distinction with aromas of cherry, raspberry and spice. Nice hardy tannins, mid level acidity, and good length. Paired very well with Turkish lamb pide (something like a Turkish pizza). A pleasant surprise to find such an enjoyable Grenache from a region not well known for this varietal.  

Price:      RRP $24
Source:   Bottle at Restaurant 
Varietal:  Grenache, Tempranillo, Malbec
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    93
Website:  http://www.timadamswines.com.au




2014 Unico Zelo Dolcetto

Unico Zelo DocettoMade from fruit sourced from the Clare Valley, alongside a smaller amount of fruit from their own Adelaide Hills vineyard. A very easy drinking, yet interesting wine at a very fair price.

I get aromas of violet and cherry. Very soft tannins and mild acidity make this an easy drinking wine that I could see going well with plenty of food options. I quite enjoyed it with a margherita pizza.


Price:      $20
Source:   Different Drop
Varietal:  Dolcetto
Tasted:    May2015
Rating:    92
Website:  www.unicozelo.com.au

Saturday, May 23, 2015

2008 Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon

Coming from Dan Murphy's current cellar release, this is a nicely aged Cabernet for little money to help warm you up on those cool winter nights. Possibly more directed towards those that like a riper expression of Cabernet, this is drinking well now and fit the bill with lamb loin chops.

Tobacco, anise and dark berry fruit develop into more raisiny notes in the glass. Fairly intense palate with very nice tannin structure and moderate length. A nice example of this style of Cabernet, at a very fair price.

Price:      $23
Source:   Dan Murphy's 
Varietal:  Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    92
Website:  www.tahbilk.com.au