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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

2013 Pizzini Pietra Rosa Sangiovese

Pizzini is situated on the red soils of the King Valley, in Victoria's North East. They produce a wide range of Italian varietals alongside many of the standards produced in Australia. Considered by many to be a benchmark for this varietal, here in Australia.

A bit smokey and savory with plenty of raspberry, cherry, and a touch of anise on the nose. Lovely fine, dusty tanning stick around for a good amount of time and are not drying or astringent in any way. Great varietal expression. An excellent food wine. Pairs perfectly with pizza.

Price:     $26
Source: Dan Murphy's
Varietal: Sangiovese
Tasted: May 2015
Rating:   94
Website: www.pizzini.com.au

2014 Handorf Hill Grüner Veltliner

Native to Austria, Grüner Veltliner seems to have found a very suitable home in Adelaide Hills. The 2012 vintage of this wine was rated the best Grüner Veltliner outside of Austria, at the 2013 International Grüner Veltliner tasting held in Vienna. I enjoyed this wine on it's own, but could see it being excellent paried with spicy Asian cuisine. 

I get aromas of stone fruit, pineapple,  and wet stone, developing more towards apple and pear on it's second day of being open. A textural wine that stuck to the middle of my tongue in a very pleasing way, with citrus flavors and moderate acidity. I hope to see more of this varietal pop up here in Australia.  

Price:     $28
Source: Cellar Door
Varietal: Grüner Veltliner
Tasted: May 2015
Rating:   94
Website: http://www.hahndorfhillwinery.com.au/

2014 Brash Higgins Grenache Mataro

Wine maker Brad Hickey has sourced biodynamically grown grapes from Yangarra Estate on the sandy soils of Blewitt Hills. The grapes were co-fermented with wild yeast, and then spent 6 months in a hogshead (approximately twice the size of a standard barrel), before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Red cherry and raspberry notes from the Grenache present themselves first and are soon followed by some savory, spicy aromas more characteristic of Mataro. Dusty tannins coat the palate evenly. A wine with great structure and length.

Price:     $40
Source: Wine Emporium
Varietal: Grenache (70%), Mataro (30%)
Tasted: May 2015
Rating:   95
Website: http://www.brashhiggins.com/

2014 Miles From Nowhere Chardonnay

A good reminder of just how versatile and responsive to wine making technique the  Chardonnay grape can be. You'd be forgiven mistaking this for Sauvignon Blanc the way it is drinking currently.

Some fresh cut grass and green apple aromas sit alongside wet stone and herbaceous notes. A clean palate with mid-level acidity. A touch astringent, I found this much better with food. A good wine considering it's price.

Price:      RRP $18
Source:   VinoMofo 
Varietal:  Chardonnay
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    90
Website:  http://www.milesfromnowhere.com.au/


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2008 Tahbilk Shiraz

Picked this up at Dan Murphy's as a cellar release. A pretty serious wine at a very fair price. I'll grab some more of this to share with my Shiraz loving mates.

Black fruit, spice, and maybe a hint of leather on the nose. Tannins have mellowed and come together nicely. Dark berry, plum, and anise flavors stick around on the palate for the right ammount of time. Improved a lot in the the decanter over a few hours, and the initial sulfur aromas left within minutes.

Was just what my steak was asking for. Drinking nice now, I wouldn't put this one away for any more time. Probably best to drink this with a big piece of red meat.

Price:      $23
Source:   Dan Murphy's 
Varietal:  Shiraz
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    93
Website:  www.yellandandpapps.com

2014 Yelland and Papps 'Second Take' Roussanne

Grapes for this wine were all hand picked and sourced from three vineyards in Western Barossa, Greenock and Dorien. 18% of the grapes spent 15 days fermenting on skins, while the rest were fermented in french oak. The wine  spent 9 months in barrels with occasional lees stirring lending to the great texture and aromatic complexity of this wine.

Pours cloudy and smells unlike any Roussanne I've come across. I get poached pear, apple cider, and lemon curd aromas alongside some more savory yeasty elements. A great textural palate with some spicy notes and more pear like fruit. I really enjoyed this. Equal parts interesting and slurpable.

As an aside their cellar door is great. A beautiful, comfortable spot to taste wines and relax. A must visit next time I return to the Barossa. I will leave more time to hang around there, play yard sports and have some food alongside their excellent wines.

Price:      $40
Source:   Cellar Door
Varietal:  Roussanne
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    94
Website:  www.yellandandpapps.com


2013 Margan Verdhelo

Winemaker Andrew Margan spent over two decades working at Tyrells before going it his own in the Hunter Valley. Alongside his wife Lisa they now have over 100ha of vines planted.

Opens with a tropical fruit nose featuring pineapple alongside aromas of peach and orange peel. A fairly soft broad palate with medium length and a nice crisp finish. An easy drinking wine well suited for summer days.

Price:      $15
Source:   Dan Murphy's
Varietal:  Verdhelo
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    89
Website:  www.margan.com.au




Tuesday, May 19, 2015

2011 Vela Albarino

Another Albarino from Rias Baixis in Spain, coming from the rather difficult 2011 vintage in the region. This wine Spent approximately five months on lees, giving it some savory depth and character.

Apricot and stewed apple on the nose along with some savory yeasty elements. Soft palate with fairly low acidity and somewhat reminiscent of Viognier. This wine was much more interesting with food.

Price:      $20
Source:   Stewart's Wine Co.
Varietal:  Albarino
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    89
Website:  www.vela-albarino.com.au

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

2011 Pazo Barrantes Albarino

This wine comes the Spanish region of Rias Baxis, the region best known for the production of Albarino. There seems to be a decent amount of this available in Australia, as I've seen it at a few of the larger retail stores. A good introduction to this grape and wine style.

Soflty aromatic with notes of apricot, cashew, lemon, and wet stone. There are also  hints of some more savory elements, perhaps resulting from some lees contact. A clean dry palate with more lemon and a hint of peach. An all round good value Albarino that is easy to find here in Australia.

Price:      $20
Source:   Dan Murphy's
Varietal:  Albarino
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    92
Website:  www.pazobarrantes.com.



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

2012 Tscharke 'Girl Talk' Savignin

Savignin  is a grape closely related to Gewurztraminer, Traminer, and Albarino which has made proper identification a little bit confusing. An excellent article by James Halliday on the history of this grape can be found here.

Originally brought to Australia in 1832 by James Busby, the grapes for this wine, as well as some others around Australia, were imported by the viticultural arm of CSIRO and were thought to be Albarino. It wasn't until an expert in grape identification from France (an ampelographer) toured some Australian vineyards and noticed that it more closely resembled Savignin than Albarino, that the grape wines were reclassified.

The confusion is quite understandable when you taste this wine, as it really is reminiscent of a nice Albarino. Smells of pear, lemon, wet stone, and perhaps a whiff of honey. A nice clean, dry wine with a good lick of acidity. I've had a couple of bottles of this now, and am sure to have more.

Price:      $20
Source:   Dan Murphy's
Varietal:  Savignin
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    94
Website:  www.tscharke.com.au


Monday, May 11, 2015

2014 Unico Zelo Esoterico

2014 Unico Zelo EsotericoMade from a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Fiano and Muscat, sourced from various regions in South Australia. Another great value white wine that has seen some skin contact and has been left unfined and unfiltered. Excellent value. A very affordable way to check out how good a skin contact wine can be.

Wild nose with lots of floral notes alongside aromas of citrus and pineapple. A little hint of baked bread yeastiness. Wonderfully textural wine and the flavors stick around for a good amount of time leaving lots to ponder. A very interesting and quite unique wine.

Price:      $20
Source:   Different Drop
Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Fiano, Muscat
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    95
Website:  www.unicozelo.com.au



2014 Unico Zelo Nero D'avola

Grapes have been sourced from a vineyard in Riverland, SA and underwent 30% whole bunch fermentation prior to ageing in old oak. Another interesting good value wine from Unico Zelo.

Fresh cherry and dark berry nose with some funkier elements at play. Soft tannins and mild acidity make this an easy drinker. A decent wine for the price.

Price:      $23
Source:   Different Drop
Varietal:  Nero D'avola
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    91
Website:  www.unicozelo.com.au

Thursday, May 7, 2015

2014 Pressing Matters R9 Riesling


Last year when I was down helping out at Bass Phillip during vintage, winemaker Phil Jones was sayingt how good Tasmanian Riesling was getting. The year following I tried a few, but none of them really hit it for me. So, this year I asked Phil to recommend a particular wine and this is the one he recommended.

While still quite young, this is such a clean and crisp wine, showing so much potential for aging. Talk about bright, clean acidity. Some tropical fruit notes when I first opened it, fading away to more wet stone and lemon-lime aromas. Excellent palate length.

 Price:      $33
Source:   Cool Wines, Hobart
Varietal:  Riesling
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    94+++
Website:  www.pressingmatters.com.au

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

2012 Chain of Ponds 'Morning Star' Pinot Noir

Chain of Ponds are said to be the first to plant extensive vineyards in the Northern region of the Adelaide Hills, for cool climate viticulture. The best barrels from the better vineyards are generally selected for the top tier 'Morning Star' Pinot, with the remainder going into their 'Section 400' Pinot.

An earthy nose with raspberry, cherry and beetroot, are followed by some sour cherry and raspberry notes on the somewhat short palate. Tannins are a touch chalky and drying to my taste. Mellowed out a bit on day two, so probably best to give this one a good decant.

 Price:      RRP $50
Source:   Vinomofo
Varietal:  Pinot Noir
Tasted:    May 2015
Rating:    90
Website:  www.chainofponds.com.au


2014 Unico Sauvignon Blanc

With grapes sourced from three vineyards in the Northern part of the Adelaide Hills, this wine spent around 3 weeks in contact with its skins and around 60% of it was barrel fermented. Not your average Sauvignon Blanc.

Savory nose with some herbaceous and minerally elements. Not much of the typical fruity aromas for this varietal. Reminds me a bit of some Vermentinos I've had. Interesting aromas, texture, and mild acidity make this probably the most unusual Sauvignon Blanc I've had. I 

Price:      $20
Source:   Different Drop
Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc
Tasted:    April 2015
Rating:    90
Website:  www.unicozelo.com.au


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

2014 Chaffey Bros 'Not Your Grandmas' Rose

In contrast to the sickly sweet roses of generations past, many of  the better Australian wine producers are making excellent dryer style roses which are more similar to those produced in Provence, France.

This particular example is made from a blend of  Barrosan Grenache, Mourvedre, and a touch (2%) of the aromatic white varietals used in their excellent Dufte Punkt blend.

Plenty of cherry and red berry fruit are dominant on the nose, alongside some hints of spice. Soft texture and mid palate length make this a very easy drinking and refreshing rose. A good example of where rose is headed here in Australia. 

Price:     $20
Source: Cellarbrations, West End, Brisbane
Varietal: Grenache (69%), Mourvedre (29%), Gewurtztraminer/Riesling/Weißer Herol (2%)
Tasted: April 2012
Rating:   91
Website: http://www.chaffeybros.com/


Monday, May 4, 2015

2010 Beach Road Aglianico

Aglianico is a noble wine grape originating from Campania, in Southern Italy and there are now a few Australian producers using this grape. This example from Langhorne Creek, South Australia is perhaps a bit riper than it's Italian cousins, but very nice in the right situation.  

Smells of raisins, tobacco, cherry, and plenty of oak.  Grippy yet nice tannins are balanced with a good amount of acidity. A big brute of a red wine, ideal for cold days and hearty cuts of red meat. I suspect this wine will have many years left to improve.

 Price:      $30
Source:   Grape Therapy, Brisbane
Varietal:  Aglianico
Tasted:    April 2015
Rating:    92
Website:  www.beachroadwines.com.au

2011 Alpha Box & Dice 'Tarot' Grenache Shiraz Tempranillo

Made in Mclaren Vale using fruit sourced from the Barossa. There seems to be no shortage of interesting small wineries in this region lately. I was really impressed with how well this wine drank, and also with its price tag.

Fresh and lively nose showing dark cherries, plum, and spice. Grenache really shines through, and I suspect there was a large percentage of whole bunch fermentation (the producers website isn't big on wine making details). Very juicy with soft supple tannins make this a super easy drinking and enjoyable wine.

Price:      $17
Source:   The Cellar, Bangalow, NSW
Varietal:  Grenache (70%), Shiraz (20%), Tempranillo (10%)
Tasted:    April 2015
Rating:    94
Website:  www.alphaboxdice.com

2012 Helen and Joey Premium Pinot Noir

The first wine I've tried from this producer. An excellent example of Yarra Valley Pinot Noir, coming from an outstanding vintage in this region. I suspect there was a fairly long maturation in new oak on this one.

Fine french oak is predominant on the nose, followed by cherry, raspberry and some spicy characters. This wine has silky fine tannins and excellent length. Well worth pondering, it benefited from some time in the decanter. It also held up very well after a few days of being open in the bottle. Likely still on an uphill trajectory and should do well in the cellar for the next several years. 

Price:      $48 RRP
Source:   VInoMofo
Varietal:  Pinot Noir
Tasted:    April 2015
Rating:    94
Website:  www.hjestate.com.au

2012 Skimstone Shiraz Cabernet

Skimstone produce estate grown wines in the Mudgee region of New South Whales. While they predominately make wines using Italian varietals they have also produced this Shiraz Cabernet.

Moderate aromas of red berries, chocolate, and anise. Acidity seems a little unchecked and tannins were a touch grippy, for my taste. Perhaps this wine just needs more time to settle down. Might be one for the cellar.

Price:      $30 RRP
Source:   VInoMofo
Varietal:  Shiraz, Cabernet
Tasted:    April 2015
Rating:    88
Website:  www.skimstone.com.au

2013 Hither & Yon Nero Davola

Made by brother winemakers Richard and Malcolm Leask in McLaren Vale, this is a great example of one of my favorite new varietals being produced in Australia. Nero D'avola, originally from Italy, seems well suited to the Vale. I look forward to watching the progression of this grape variety here in Australia.

Plenty of raspberry and cherry to be had on the nose. Good varietal expression. With lush round tannins and fruit forward appeal, this is dangerously easy to drink. Drinking excellent right now and would likely do well with plenty of tomato based pasta dishes.

Price:      $20
Source:   The End Bar, West End (by the glass)
Varietal:  Nero D'avola
Tasted:    April 2015
Rating:    94
Website:  www.hitherandyon.com.au

2013 Yabby Lake 'Red Claw' Pinot Gris

The Red Claw range from Mornington Peninsula's Yabby Lake consists of their entry level wines, many of which offer good value and are generally quite easy to track down. Fruit is sourced from the Yabby Lake estate vineyard, whole bunch pressed, and left for extended lees contact.

Tropical fruit and citrus aromas develop over a short period of time into softer aromas of pear and apple, with underlying notes of honey and spice. Time spent on lees is noticeable with hints of fresh baked bread. A nice soft mid length palate with mild acidity. An all round good Mornington Peninsula Pinot Gris that is readily available in many bottle shops.

Price:      $20
Source:   Chalk and Cheese, West End
Varietal:  Pinot Gris
Tasted:    April 2015
Rating:    92
Website:  www.yabbylake.com

2014 Unico Zelo Muscat d’Alessandria

Sourced from 70 year old bush vines from Ricca Terra Farms in the Riverland region, this wine saw three days of skin contact and underwent barrel fermentation. A wonderfully textural wine, that developed while drinking.

I got wafts of peaches and apricots, with more soft fruit flavors delivered on the palate. Has managed to maintain a freshness, reminiscent of must shortly after pressing. Such an interesting texture and subtly creamy mouthfeel. Great value, particularly for this style of wine. 

Price:      $20
Source:   Different Drop
Varietal:  Muscat d’Alessandria
Tasted:    April 2015
Rating:    94
Website:  www.unicozelo.com.au

Sunday, May 3, 2015

2014 Symphony Hill Gewürztraminer

While Symphony Hill is located in the Granite Belt wine region in Queensland, the grapes for this particular wine have been sourced from New England, a region South of the Granite Belt in New South Whales. 

Plenty of tropical fruit and lychee on the nose, with a hint of rose petal and pink grapefruit. Nice soft palate with wonderfully length and complexity. Refreshing acidity helps this wine finish well. An all round delicious wine.

Price:      $40
Source:   Cru Bar and Cellar
Varietal:  Gewürztraminer
Tasted:    April 2015
Rating:    94
Website:  www.symphonyhill.com.au