Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2014 Giant Steps 'Applejack Vineyard' Pinot Noir

Giant steps produces to excellent single vineyards each year. This one from the Applejack vineyard, located in the upper Yarra Valley, distinctive for it's altitude, cool climate and red volcanic loam.

The 60% of the grapes that were left as whole bunches during ferment definitely make themselves known, but don't overwhelm. I get violet, red cherry, cedar spice, and some savory earthy aromas. Fine silky tannins linger with more red cherry fruit on the palate. An elegant and interesting Pinot Noir.

Price:      $50 RRP
Source:   Tasting
Varietal:  Pinot Noir
Tasted:    December 2015
Rating:    95
Website: www.innocentbystander.com.au

2014 Manners Gewurztraminer

Good clean crisp Gewurztraminer coming from the Mudgee region in New South Whales.

Classic Gewurztraminer nose of lychee and rose petals with plenty of grapefruit and lime. Good dose of citrus acidity on the palate, keeping things nice and dry, not to mention very refreshing. A good Gewurztraminer at this price.

Price:      $20 RRP
Source:   Tasting
Varietal:  Gewurztraminer
Tasted:    December 2015
Rating:    91
Website: www.mannerswine.com.au

2013 Castagna 'Growers Selection' Harlequin


An interesting orange wine from Castagna in Beechworth, Victoria. A blend of Roussane, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Viognier fermented on there skins in amphora.

Aromatics similar to what I've been seeing in a lot of these skin contact wines with a nice punch of pineapple, peach, and wet stone. Chalky texture with a good kick of acidity to finish clean. A fun and interesting wine that developed well in the glass.

Price:      $35 RRP
Source:   Tasting
Varietal:  Roussane, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier
Tasted:    December 2015
Rating:    91
Website: www.castagna.com.au

2014 Jamsheed 'Harem Ma Petite Francine' Cabernet Franc

Image of 2014 Ma Petite FrancineAll of the fruit for this wine was sourced from a single vineyard in the Yarra Valley. It was fermented in whole bunches with wild yeast and no additions, outside of a small amount of sulfur dioxide.

Herbal aromatics with plenty of fresh fruit and savory complexity. Lacking the pencil shaving character I tend to associate with this varietal, but not missed here. Carries juicy soft palate, with moderate length and more fresh dark berry fruit character.

A light and easy style that is very food friendly. A good one to chill down slightly if your craving a cooler glass of red for the warmer summer months.

Price:      $25
Source:   Craft Red Hill
Varietal:  Cabernet Franc
Tasted:    December 2015
Rating:    92
Website: www.jamsheed.com

2013 Yangarra Estate Shiraz

A McLaren Vale Shiraz with wonderful restraint and balance. This wine was fermented with wild yeasts and included 20% whole bunches in the ferment.

Aromas of blackberry, blueberry, prune/plum,  and a bit of leather and pepper. Nice round palate with fine grainy tannins. Keeps you coming back for more, while definitely providing enough tannin and acidity to see it age for a few more years.

Excellent Shiraz for this price.

Price:      $25
Source:   CRU Bar and Cellar
Varietal:  Shiraz
Tasted:    December 2015
Rating:    93
Website: www.yangarra.com

2015 De Bortoli 'Villages' Pinot Noir

Another vintage of this excellent value Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley. You can see my recent review of the 2013 vintage of this wine here.

There seems to be a bit more fresh raspberry and red fruit aromas than the 2013, perhaps associated with a bit more carbonic maceration  (a great article on this wine making technique is available here from Jamie Goode.). Just a pleasant and accessible Pinot Noir. I would have a hard time thinking of a better Australian Pinot Noir for under $20.

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

2011 Mac Forbes 'Hugh' Cabernet Blend

Fruit for this blend was sourced from a small vineyard in the Gruyere sub region of the Yarra Valley. The grapes were all dry grown and fermented separately. One of the most complex and beautiful Bordeaux style blends I've tried from Australia.  

Powerful dark cherry and plum aromas are dominant, with lively herbal scents and perhaps a touch of pencil shavings from the Cabernet Franc. A firm taut palate follows with seriously integrated and complex tannin structure and some savory elements adding complexity to the dark berry fruits.

Paired a treat with braised lamb shanks. Already drinking fantastic, but this is a wine I would love to revisit every few years for the next ten to twenty.

Price:      $70 RRP
Source:   Gift
Varietal:  Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot
Tasted:    November 2015
Rating:    96
Website: www.macforbes.com