Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Leeuwin Estate Prelude Chardonnay 2014

I lined this up with five chardonnays from various vintages and this stood up with its chest beating out.

Morning porridge aromas kick things off before it opens up with some air. Nougat, fleshy peach, creamy oak. There's a vibrancy about the fresh fruit here. Citrusy characters roll through before some nutty action is drawn out on a long a delicious finish.

Great depth and weight but with elegant finesse. Acidity is bang on.

Cellar for up to ten years.

Value here; it punches above its RRP.

Very good+

Region: Margaret River
RRP: $33
Source: Sample

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Golden Grove Nero d'Avola 2014

Nero is becoming trendy and there are a few styles being thrown around. Winemaker Ray Costanzo is really stamping his mark with this variety among others.

Red and dark cherries, berry basket and baked raspberry get the ball rolling here. You get a sense it is a lightish wine though it certainly has a medium bodied physique. Another whiff and an almost violet aroma spills out.

Soft fruit caresses the mouth. It just sits well. Such a satisfying drink in many respects.

Fine finish. Fine wine. Drink medium term.

Very good.

Region: Granite Belt
RRP: $26
Source: Sample

www.goldengroveestate.com.au

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Monday, 28 September 2015

Airlie Bank Cabernet Franc 2015

"Juvenile charm" is a back label descriptor from winemaker Tim Shand and that about sums it up too. A bloody bucket load of fun right here and this would have to be the best Cabernet Franc you have ever put to your lips. Medium bodied (12% alc), I just can't stop topping up the glass.

Welcome to funky town thanks to the use of whole bunches. Skinsy aromas, think cloves, raspberry rope, violets and earth. Violet aromas just seem unstoppable. There's an ever so faint dab of oak and nibble of spice, but the fruit delivery here is so so smooth and ridiculously moreish.

Did I say twenty bucks?

Find it and drink now. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Excellent.

Region: Yarra Valley
RRP: $20
Source: Sample

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Huntington Estate Block Three Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Quite an elegant wine which lets the fruit shine. A far cry from a big and robust Cabernet.

Give it some air. Black fruits, dark chocolate, cloves with savoury finesse plus a hint of leafiness too. There's a whack of oak but it doesn't wrestle the focus away from the fruit entirely. Only 13.6% alcohol, the fruit is super soft and sits long.

To be critical, the choice of bottle looks cheap and takes the prestige away from what is inside. Thank goodness we don't drink the glass!

Very good.

Region: Mudgee
RRP: $65
Source: Sample

www.huntingtonestate.com.au

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Friday, 25 September 2015

Lindeman's Gentleman's Collection Shiraz 2014

Treasury Wine Estates has released and revamped a few labels to bring people back to the brand. This Gentleman's Collection is a new label and is great drinking.

Jumping from the glass with red fruits, black pepper and some earthiness, it's a wine that needs some air. Give it a good old decant and swirl and red flower aromas, dense plums and a hint of violet reveal themselves. The finish is long and soft. Tasty stuff.

It's stated a 'dash of fortified wine' has been added though no quantities were stated nor the region where the fruit for this Shiraz is sourced.

I saw this advertised recently for $15 - a steal! Find it at that price and you'll be pretty chuffed with the contents.

Good+

Region: Not stated
RRP: $22
Source: Sample

www.lindemans.com

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Squealing Pig Pinot Noir Rosé 2015

A new release from Treasury Wine Estates. Residual sweetness makes this a smashable drop though the finish is dry and moreish. That touch of sweetness certainly helps you sip away as the contents evaporate.

Strawberries and watermelon, a hint of cranberry in there too. Quite flavoursome and fairly well balanced. A good length too.

Barbecues, picnics or share with friends in shady places on sunny days. Plenty to like here.

Good+

Region: Central Otago, NZ
RRP: $22
Source: Sample

www.tweglobal.com

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Over the Way Chenin Blanc 2014

This is a project wine of fellow wine writer and blogger Patrick Eckel. He makes a range of wines including Lagrein from Heathcote, Shiraz from the Grampians and a Pinot Noir also from Sunbury. Chardonnay and a Blanc de Blanc are also in the pipeline. He recently moved to Macedon to get even more serious about the winemaking side of things.

A single vineyard wine from Sunbury's Longview Creek, this is whole bunch pressed and wild yeast fermented in barrel spending nine months on lees. 1500L produced.

It has more texture than any Chenin Blanc that has passed these lips. Some baked and oxidised apple first up but there's a creaminess from the time on skins. And to be honest, it does taste a little 'skinsy'. There's a tangy acid too. The longer it sits in the glass a clover like savoury thing lobs up. Spiced apple pie perhaps.

In all, a good wine and one which needs some chicken or a creamy dish to ride it home.

Good+

Region: Sunbury
RRP: $18
Source: Sample

www.shop.overtheway.com.au

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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Ballandean Estate Fiano 2015

There's something about this that screams summer in a glass.

From a vintage where much of the Ballandean Estate crop was wiped out by hail on Christmas Day, this vineyard which is a few kilometres from the winery was spared. And the fruit clearly loves its home. I saw these vines in November last year, many reaching eight feet into the sky before they were trimmed the following week.

Tropical fruit, pear skin, green apple peel and a white flower like perfume.
Add a little textural tease courtesy of some creaminess which is quite generous but damn it's fresh, clean and bloody tasty. Hard to reject a second pour that's for sure.

Drink now bathed in sunshine or in the pool.

Excellent.

Region: Granite Belt
RRP: $30
Source: Sample

www.ballandeanestate.com

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Willow Bridge Dragonfly Cabernet Merlot 2014

Winemaker, the late Simon Burnell, professed his Dragonfly 2013 was the best Cab Merlot in Australia under twenty bucks. I was dubious until the sample arrived. He was right I must say and this has followed on from it well. Despite going up two bucks since, if you had to pay an extra ten you'd still be grinning from ear to ear.

Juicy black fruits bust a move here. There's a youthful energy about it which is hard to ignore. Varietal capsicum fades in but the shimmy across the floor from the savoury herbs and bitter dark chocolate add shine to a great little wine. Juicy and dusty tannins and a long finish wrap it up.

A bargain deluxe and certainly worth tracking down.

Very good.

Region: Geographe, Western Australia
RRP: $20
Source: Sample

www.willowbridge.com.au

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Golden Grove Chardonnay 2013

This grew on me I've got to say. Golden Grove produce some very smart wines and Chardonnay generally takes  a back seat in their range. Until now...

The freshness kept drawing me back. A portion was barrel fermented with indigenous yeast and only new French oak was used.

Think delicious peach, almond meal and a delicate creamy profile courtesy of that oak. A squeeze of lemon appears just at the finish where some cashews sneak up. When looking at a great Chardonnay it needs to be layered and have complexity. Those boxes have been ticked here.

Nicely balanced leaving a long and satisfying finish.

Excellent.

Region: Granite Belt
RRP: $26
Source: Sample

www.goldengroveestate.com.au

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Taylors Chardonnay 2014

Smells a bit briney and oily initially. Melon and peach come to the fore once it got some air.

Stone fruits drive the flavour profile with a lick of some nuttiness right at the death. Good palate weight. Finish is long and persistent.

Have with something creamy. Pretty good value too.

Good.

Region: Clare Valley & Adelaide Hills
RRP: $19
Source: Sample

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Angove Wild Olive Organic Chardonnay 2015

This Chardonnay joins the Wild Olive stable for the first time in 2015 and comes off Angove's certified organic vineyards in McLaren Vale.

Nothing really took my fancy here though. It's simple and thin and didn't get my juices flowing.

Some lemony fruit and toast but not much complexity to speak of. A warm type finish sits long.

Prefer others.

Region: McLaren Vale
RRP: $20
Source: Sample

www.angove.com.au

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Friday, 18 September 2015

St Mary's House Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

2012 bottle shown
Lots to love about the colour here. It's deep yet vibrant.

This carries the vineyard trait of eucalypt seen in the previous St Mary's 2013 wines reviewed: Shiraz and Pinot Noir.

Fermented in an open vat, hand plunged and housed in French oak, this is a very likeable wine. Everything is in its place. Nothing jumps out to intrude and the fruit moves with grace. Give it some air and you'll be rewarded further more.

Blackberry, cassis, and choc spearmint tap away with dry savoury herbs sliding in to finish. Nice touch. Nice wine.

Medium to long term cellaring.

Very good.

Region: Limestone Coast
RRP: $30
Source: Sample

www.stmaryswines.com

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Thursday, 17 September 2015

Taylors St Andrews Riesling 2014

Coming from single vineyard fruit, this is slatey, dry, minerally with a squeeze of lime juice to pep it up. A piece of Riesling heaven you could say.

Drinking superbly now, this has plenty of potential to age. Why wait though?

Cutting acidity with a talc like finish is drawn out beautifully. Riesling purists will grab the minerally edge and run with it.

Excellent.

Region: Clare Valley
RRP: $40
Source: Sample

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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Best's Great Western Riesling 2015

Wowsers! There's a mouthwatering purity about this Riesling. It hits the target in every aspect. The fruit is excellent, acid is spot on and as a package it's terrifically balanced.

Think white flowers, squeezed limes, fresh green apples. A little longer in the glass gives a fresh cut pear aroma but the bracing citrusy goodness takes hold and drives through.

Superb for the money. Drink now but will age well. But why wait I say.

Region: Grampians
RRP: $25
Source: Sample

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Taylors Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

A more than reasonable wine which will get you change from $20.

Black fruits and cassis, bark and eucalypt. There's a second coming of fruit headed by dark fleshed plums. Grippy tannins jostle through and the thought of lamb on the barbecue seems to call louder and louder.

Give a bit of air and you'll be sitting pretty. Good value.

Good+

Region: Clare Valley
RRP: $19
Source: Sample

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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Patrick of Coonawarra Riesling 2014

Terrifically juicy, this is loaded with citrus appeal and makes damn good drinking.

White flowers, some apples and apple juice aromas add another dimension as does pear skin but there's a wash of green apple which trickles through before limes chime back in.

Clean and crisp, there's a smidgen of palate weight more due to the fruit. No time on lees or anything of that ilk contributing.

Certainly a crowd pleasing style which will be empty in no time.

Very good.

Region: Wrattonbully & Coonawarra
RRP: $25
Source: Sample

www.patrickofcoonawarra.com

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Koonowla Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Black fruits. Plummy. Not as voluptuous as I was anticipating. Oak is there but has a damp type aroma about it.

Bitter dark chocolate cuts in before a dash of spice enters the fray moving to firmish drying tannins. It's sapping and along with perky acid the mouth it just dries out. Seems a little bitsy in some ways.

Not wine I enjoyed that much and when lined up against others of similar vintage and region it sat a few cogs back.

Region: Clare Valley
RRP: $22
Source: Sample

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Monday, 14 September 2015

The Lane Vineyard Block 2 Pinot Gris 2015

Whatever they are doing at The Lane Vineyard I hope they don't change it. I'm pleased to say I am a big fan of their wines. They're expressive and represent great value. Here's yet another example.

Time on lees has added some textural goodness to this Pinot Gris. Clean fruit is packed with personality and travels freely with a honey undertow. Apples and pears run riot with a spice fleck.

A very engaging and refreshing wine built on a great core of fruit which is moreish and then some. The finish has hang time deluxe.

Drink now.

Very good.

Region: Adelaide Hills
RRP: $25
Source: Sample

www.thelane.com.au

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Taylors Promised Land Riesling 2014

I pick up a faint whiff of oxidised apple but there's also some good varietal characters carried by lemons and limes with a splash of honey. Too much sugar here for my liking though and that gets my attention for the wrong reason. In some respects this is the type of Riesling that upholds the old school perception that Riesling is sweet. Although clean with good acidity, I just can't escape the sweetness.

I prefer others at this price point.

Region: Clare Valley
RRP: $14
Source: Sample

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Saturday, 12 September 2015

Best's Great Western Bin 1 Shiraz 2014

I got lost for words momentarily and the pure sense of satisfaction won me over here. What an awesome drop for $25!

I have a thing for medium bodied Victorian Shiraz at the moment and this beauty ticks all the boxes.

After composing myself I just listed words: brambly, mulberry, violets, minerally, blueberry, dark chocolate, dried Mediterranean herbs, and a sprinkle of pepper to finish. Layers and layers of flavour, each veneer peeling back to reveal something else tucked away. Only classy wines can do this. The 14% alcohol is carried with poise. The soft fine tannin finish is long and moreish. Top me up again - please!

Will age for at least ten years.

Bargain hunters - drop this onto your must buy list. Wine lovers, do the same.

Excellent.

Region: Grampians
RRP: $25
Source: Sample

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Friday, 11 September 2015

Voyager Estate Project Gin Gin 2012

Some notes from the Voyager Estate Masterclass held in Brisbane recently:

Named after the Gin Gin clone and coming from 3.6 hectares of vines.
Picked early, there's a floral lift to the wine. 40% new oak used.
Full solids used in the ferment and no malo.
There's a textural component to the wine and this a result of the small berry to juice ratio. Lots of grapefruit and citrusy flavours here.
Textural features linger softly and the fruit core has a purity about it.
A delicious wine. I preferred this to the Project 95.

Cellar for up to ten but good to go now.

Very good+

Region: Margaret River
RRP: $55
Source: Sample - Voyager Estate Masterclass, Brisbane

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Thursday, 10 September 2015

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Sauvignon Blanc 2014

The use of oak is apparent here from the outset, and gee I like it.

Fifty percent was fermented in French oak barrels and then left for four months to relax. Interestingly only 30% was used in the 2013. Regardless, the result is a nicely textured wine which enables the fruit to dance.

Tempered tropical fruit with a subtle underlying creaminess kicks things off. The use of oak has ensured the palate coated well also adding depth. Pineapple, citrus and snow pea float on through. There's even some spice. A fantastic length wraps up a package is which is oh so impressive.

Rip in.

Very good+

Region: Margaret River
RRP: $32
Source: Sample

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Taylors Sauvignon Blanc 2014

I haven't looked at a Taylors wine for ages so it was good to see some come through the door.

This Sauvvy is made from Adelaide Hills fruit. But something that caught my eye was the temperature indicator on the back label. Gimmicky? Maybe. But not a bad way to get punters to think about how they consume their wine. You'll be pleased to know I followed the instructions and tasted this at "optimum" 6-8 degree mark.

Clean and fresh with plenty of green things going on here; cut herbs, melon, green apple. There's some tropical fruit in there too which reveals itself slowly. Passion fruit, under ripe pineapple husk, even a smear of lychee. Refreshing and crisp to finish.

Quite tasty and well priced. Plenty to be pleased about here.

Very good.

Region: Adelaide Hills
RRP: $19
Source: Sample

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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Tolpuddle Chardonnay 2012

Some notes from the Voyager Estate Masterclass held in Brisbane recently:

What struck me about this wine from the outset was the energy it has about it. It wants to be in you.

Whole bunch pressed with 30% new French oak.

Tightly wound and racy, it's lean with flint, some butter and creamy oak. A lemon pith ripple rides through nicely. There's a touch of sulfites. That leanness keeps getting my attention though. Length can't be faulted.

Very good+

Region: Coal River, Tasmania
RRP: $65
Source: Sample - Voyager Estate Masterclass, Brisbane

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Cook's Lot #365 Rosé 2015

As soon as I had a taste of this my taste buds were calling for a warm beef salad.

A saignée Rosé made from Shiraz and Cabernet fruit (percentages unknown).

Vibrant red fruits are flanked by a peppery spice finish. Quite an easy drinking wine. Think red currants, cranberries, and strawberries set an easy tempo before the spice rolls through leading to a dry finish.

Spring time picnics call for wines like this.

Good+

Region: Orange
RRP: $22
Source: Sample

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Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Seville Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2012

Some notes from the Voyager Estate Masterclass held in Brisbane recently:

Hand picked and whole bunched pressed. Wild yeast fermentation took place in barrel. 30% new French oak used. Malo not encouraged. Sat on lees for 10 months.

Pale gold in the glass. Plenty of peach and citrus characters. Some nuttiness. Mid palate is awash with brioch. Some reductive sulfites present. The fruit is plump and just rushes through though soft and textural. Of the nine wines tasted this had the highest acidity. Finish is moreish and long with a cheesy factor and a spray of citrus reappearing.

Give another year or two I reckon. Will live up to ten. One for the black book.

Excellent.

Region: Yarra Valley
RRP: $70
Source: Sample - Voyager Estate Masterclass, Brisbane

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Voyager Estate Chardonnay 2012

Some notes from the Voyager Estate Masterclass held in Brisbane recently:

Seven separate blocks and four clones of were used to produce this wine. 37% was wild yeast fermented, 36% new French oak was used, only half the underwent malo, and it spent eleven months in barrel. And that's the stats out of the way...

What was termed a "classic Voyager" this was buzzing with freshness. Stirred once a month and once blended it was left in the tank on lees. This has extracted a talc like character. Lemon butter, mandarin peel and grapefruit acidity added to the complexity.

A very sturdy and delicious wine which has a calmness about it. I'd go here again no question, particularly as it punches above its price point.

Excellent.

Region: Margaret River
RRP: $45
Source: Sample - Voyager Estate Masterclass, Brisbane

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Monday, 7 September 2015

Patrick of Coonawarra Fumé Blanc 2014

Coonawarra isn't exactly a Sauvignon Blanc haven, but this Fumé Blanc is a pretty smart wine. When worked this variety gets my attention and winemaker Luke Tocaciu has ticked that box for sure.

Fermented on lees in second use French oak puncheons and the then aged for a further twelve months, the final result is a mix of freshness with delicious textural appeal.

Tropical fruit headed by subdued canned pineapple, green melon and lychees then shifts to light creamy flavours not too dissimilar to a lightish whipped butter. It's not a heavy clumsy use of oak that's for sure. The long finish fills the mouth with a lick of pineapple again on exit. A great little package.

Drink now.

Very good.

Region: Coonawarra
RRP: $29
Source: Sample

www.patrickofcoonawarra.com

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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Patrick of Coonawarra Shiraz 2010

Give this some air and it will run to you faster than Bryan Adams.

From the Wrattonbully vineyard, this is dripping in dark fruit and plums reign supreme. Bottled in June 2014, there's a feel good touch about this wine. New American and French oak works well with the generous fruit offering. A nip of spice and delicious dark chocolate rolls through effortlessly. I felt compelled to jam some dark chocolate in my mouth all the same. Yum!

A sip all night kinda wine. Will sit for ten years easy.

Go here if you can find it.

Very good+

Region: Wrattonbully
RRP: $29
Source: Sample

www.patrickofcoonawarra.com

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Whiskey Gully Betty's Block Colombard 2014

I had a taste of this at the Qld Wine Awards. I haven't had a Colombard for a long time so this grabbed my interest.

A pleasant drink (11.6% alc) highlighted by aromas of little white flowers and fresh pear fruit. Not overly complex but would match Asian dishes well. Quite dry to finish, a little more sugar probably would have improved this.

Drink within three years. Available at the cellar door.

Good.

Region: Granite Belt
RRP: $22
Source: Sample

www.whiskeygullywines.com.au

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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Angove Long Row Riesling 2015

Incredible value this. And only ten bucks!

Lemons and limes bust out a dance. There's a likeness to lemon meringue pie here too. Fruit is deliciously moreish and peels back to reveal some green apple which rides through to a crisp finish. Sessional deluxe. A great match for Asian foods with a little kick.

Bargain of the year? It's certainly up there.

Very good.

Region: Riverland
RRP: $10
Source: Sample

www.angove.com.au

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Koonowla Shiraz 2013

Plenty of black fruit skips about here but I get a sense the fruit is a little overripe.

There's a stewed type character which sits uncomfortably on the flank. Aged for 18 months in new and second year French and American hogsheads, some good use of oak here but the fruit just doesn't have the vibrance I'd expect from a newly released Clare Shiraz (14.5% alc). I like my steak medium but I feel the chef has handed it to me well done.
A drying finish with gripping tannins.

Prefer others.

Region: Clare Valley
RRP: $22
Source: Sample

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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Huntington Estate Special Reserve Shiraz 2011

The Special Reserve Shiraz in the range is released after four or five years bottle age.

This is a big wine which needs a big juicy piece of steak. Smokey and oaky, give it time and dark chocolate, earth, blackberry fruit and a pinch of dried oregano appear. Soft tannins and smooth to finish.

Will cellar for the long term.

Very good.

Region: Mudgee
RRP: $36
Source: Sample

www.huntingtonestate.com.au

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Tenafeate Creek Tempranillo Rosé 2015

A bit of a berry bomb ready to attack your Sunday BBQ.

Freeze dried strawberries, raspberries, cherries, a dash of spice sums this up. The spice sits long and all I can think about is a lamb lollipop in one hand and a glass of this in the other. There's a slurp factor about it calling for smiles and friends.

Certainly not complicated, a stand and deliver style.

Good.

Region: Mt Lofty Ranges
RRP: $20
Source: Sample

www.tcw.com.au

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