Thursday, 21 May 2015

Tarrawarra Estate Chardonnay 2013

You'd pay twice the RRP and still be very happy with this. It just ticks all the boxes and will leave glasses empty in no time.

Terrifically balanced and well made. A sessional type.

Freshly cut nectarine and peach, lemony tang followed by a grapefruit overtone. Butter cream rolls through courtesy of ten months on lees. That nectarine just hangs on in desperation as does the creamy oak.

In all, it's smart. Very smart. And well priced too. Worth tracking down.

Very good.

Region: Yarra Valley
RRP: $28
Source: Sample

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Payten & Jones Paul's Range Chardonnay 2013

I tasted this Chardy in a line up of five. This was the most golden in the glass. The wine is packaged attractively. Cool label and comes in a heavy bottle, though the pic right doesn't do it justice.

From a single vineyard, aromas were muted and the fruit lacks spark. I was a fan of the 2012 but this seems to be a step back.

Fleshy white peach and oxidised apple aromas but the fruit, highlighted by caramalised peach and honey type characters, is dominated more by the vanillin oak. Not heavily oaked mind you, but the fruit seemed restrained. A decent length to finish. Hard to justify the $40 when others a little cheaper offer more get up and go.

Good.

Region: Yarra Valley
RRP: $40
Source: Sample

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Payten & Jones Valley Vignerons Series Syrah 2014

Smashable Syrah from the Yarra. The Kangaroo Ground sub region in fact. Really sessional sort of stuff this. The type of wine I can see winning a lot of hearts in restaurants and bars.

Plummy, red fruits are soft though there is a little fruit sweetness. Delicate spices and well integrated oak. It's juicy and long. Soft and moreish.

The type of wine you sip away completely enjoying the moment yet you aren't distracted by its make up or complexity.

I'd happily seek this out. I couldn't help myself but to head back for glass after glass. Find it.

Very good.

Region: Yarra Valley
RRP: $27
Source: Sample

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Monday, 18 May 2015

Meerea Park Alexander Munro Shiraz 2010

I had the opportunity to have a look at this Shiraz on its initial release. Much of the it was withheld to reinvent the five year release. Lucky me to have another look a couple of years on.

Given some air, this is drinking tremendously. Soft fruit highlighted by cherries and plums. Delicious really. That rum 'n' raisin character is still evident but more of a mocha and chocolate element chimes in. Cedary oak comes to the fore more and plays its hand but there is a delicate touch. Generous in density and depth.

Still plenty of life left here too.

Very good+

Region: Hunter Valley
RRP: $72
Source: Sample

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d'Arenberg The Ironstone Pressings 2011

A blend of 70/25/5 respectively, fruit and oak dance alongside one another nicely.

Earthen, meaty, leathery, raspberry fruit, that Mourvèdre helps to fill out the back palate. Medium bodied, there is a density to it. The edges are a bit rough and it just lacks the polish I would have hoped for. A lick of fruit sweetness chimes in on a long finish.

I'd have a glass with a lamb shank.

Worth hanging on to for ten.

Good+

Region: McLaren Vale
RRP: $65
Source: Sample

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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Shottesbrooke Jenkins Vineyard Shiraz 2013

A single vineyard wine from a newly acquired vineyard. The vineyard itself has been long established and is owned by the local optometrist, Dr Jenkins, which happens to be on the main drag in The Vale I'm reliably informed.

Dark fruits, dirty road, leather and some meaty salami like characters too.
Its powerful and fills the palate. There's a spicy buzz motoring through the core. Give it some air to shine but from top to toe it carries a smooth swagger.
Soft tannins to finish.

Keep for ten by good to go now.

Very good.

Region: McLaren Vale
RRP: $40
Source: Sample

www.shottesbrooke.com.au

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Hardy's Tintara McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013

A wine which reminds me of the a bloke who comes from a good family but is a bit rough around the edges. You know the type. The family is always well groomed, live comfortably in a neat and tidy house with all siblings conforming except this guy. He's scruffy, hard edged, and just doesn't speak as softly as the others. You've met this guy I'm sure. We all have at some stage.

So this Shiraz hits the chords of a McLaren Vale Shiraz in some respects but dodges the softly softly approach to life. A day on and the onslaught couldn't be stemmed. Black pepper corns, dark and red fruits, dark chocolate are all there on the nose. But the grunt and sheer brut of the palate isn't floating my boat. Spicy and heavy, the finish is grainy and sandy.

Not my style but whack a steak and some veg beside it and that may soften the blow.

Good (but only just).

Region: McLaren Vale
RRP: $28
Source: Sample

www.hardyswines.com

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Yalumba Christobel's Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2014

A wine which offers good refreshment. Nothing flashy here, just a reliable wine at a fair price.

Often priced below the RRP, plenty of citrus and tropical fruit flows throughout. A whiff of pear skin and green apple also wanders on by. Green melon takes charge on the palate. Clean and crisp, chill down and enjoy with a BBQ or fresh seafood. An easy everyday type.

Good.

Region: Barossa
RRP: $15
Source: Sample

www.yalumba.com

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Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Another excellent release from Leeuwin Estate.

Attractive bright fruit in the glass with a hum of cedary oak. Toss in some dried herbs and purply type flowers. The fruit is just soft and elegant. There's a gorgeous femininity to this wine which sits at 13.5% alc. Black fruit comes in waves with a lick of oak at the death.

The type of wine you'd have with a loved one on a cool night. That whole warm and fuzzy thing.

Excellent.

Region: Margaret River
RRP: $63
Source: Sample

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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Ballandean Estate Durif 2013

This is Ballandean's first Durif coming off 7 year old vines. As with all their reds, this too is sealed with ProCork

Juicy dark cherry and black fruit plus a smattering of dried Mediterranean herbs. Some purple flowers have a presence in the background. The thing I like about this Durif is that you are not clobbered over the head with power as many tend to do. This weighs in at around 14% Alc.

Blackcurrant leafiness comes to the fore at the finish. Sapping and drying tannins come in late. This is something to cuddle up to on a cold winter's night.

I reckon it will be drinking best in a couple of years but it is still a more than decent drop now.

Very good.

Region: Granite Belt
RRP: $35
Source: Sample

www.ballandeanestate.com

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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

d'Arenberg The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Before tossing this aside because it comes from the 2011 vintage, think again. Yes, 2011 was wet. We know that. But that doesn't mean all such wines need to be tarnished with that brush; case in point here. The fruit for the three d'Arenberg icon wines were picked before the heavy rains. There's a degree of masculinity to this wine too.

Red meat, dark fruits, oak, chocolate and plums. It's the type of red that grabs you by the canasters. Well, it did me anyway. The fruit is bullish and grinds through to a long finish. Dusty like tannins sit nicely.

There's just that little grunty kick. Like the tear away kid. A wine you'd have sitting up late with joined by deep and meaningful conversation. Chocolate tart shouldn't be far away from it either.

Will cellar for ten.

Very good.

Region: McLaren Vale
RRP: $65
Source: Sample

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Thursday, 7 May 2015

Shottesbrooke Blewitt Springs Shiraz 2013

I'm really liking what is happening across the range at Shottesbrooke at the moment. There's a consistency and quality across the board. This Shiraz is the flagship and it smashes it.

I was just drawn into the elegance it delivers. Black fruits, plummy, some meatiness, a bit of chocolate, this calls for s succulent rib eye steak. It's more juice than brut strength.

There's a drying thing about this wine which just makes it moreish. And I go back again.

It drank better a day on so pop it away for a little while. It softens beautifully sitting on the mid palate. A hint of  ratatouille of all things steps up. The fruit is soft and then a spice tickle taps around at will finishing with dusty tannins.

And I go back again.

Will sit for ten.

Excellent.

Region: McLaren Vale
RRP: $50
Source: Sample

www.shottesbrooke.com.au

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d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2011

Pretty aromas. Berry basket and plums with a violet and purple flower type perfume playing second fiddle. A whiff of oak is on the prowl but some blue fruits swoop in late.

Cured meat, earth, undergrowth and those dark berry fruits step up on a long and engaging palate. Deep and daring. I wouldn't expect anything else from this guy.

Juicy tannins sit pretty and long. Bold and a bit drying. The power of the fruit has a magnetism to it. There's a good lick of spice on the finish too.

I wouldn't leave it much more than a decade.

Roast beef me.

Very good.

Region: McLaren Vale
RRP: $65
Source: Sample

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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Houghton Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Wowsers! This reminds me of those old Honda ads where "everything just works".

Only released in exceptional vintages, what stands out to me above all is that nothing does stand out. Every element is thatched together in harmony.

Dark fruits are knitted together in unison with savoury characters. Generous aromas move to smooth and soft flavours which caress the mouth to exemplify all the varietal traits of a magnificent Cabernet from the west. The lick of bay leaf on the finish adds further class.

Time will be its friend but gee I loved a glass or three of it now. Line it up for a birth year or special occasion but wines like this will make any occasion memorable.

Outstanding.

Region: Frankland River, Western Australia
RRP: $115
Source: Sample

www.houghton-wines.com.au

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Cross Stitch Shiraz Cabernet 2014

A label from Angoves focused on highlighting the benefits of bringing well performing regions together. Crossing over. Cross Stitch. Get it? I like the idea of the label but for me it looks like one of those supermarket home brands.

But what we drink is the juice not the label, right? This McLaren Vale Shiraz (59%) is blended with Coonawarra Cabernet (41%) to produce a neat little wine punching above its weight for $15 RRP.

Interesting yet captivating aromas of plums, tobacco and tomato leaf. Cabernet leafiness isn't far from the act either. More time in the glass reveals chocolate and black fruit characters.

Fruity not dirty, there's reasonable depth coupled with a long length. Lots of black fruit but a smokey oak character hustles forward near the finish.

I like it. Worth grabbing for the $$.

Good+

Region: McLaren Vale & Coonawarra
RRP: $15
Source: Sample

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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

La Petite Mort Marsanne 2013

With a name like Le Petite Mort and the image of a skeleton on the label, you can certainly expect something a little different here. And it doesn't disappoint.

Fermented in old French oak, I was fixated with the honeycomb aroma. Behind it hides some honeyed notes, melted butter and almost some marigold florals. Wicked stuff and she's a wild one. Barrel fermented too.

Down the hatch and those honeyed characters punch through with a delicate presence. The mouth is coated in a light creaminess. Stone fruit slides on by leaving well weighted fruit in its wake. Little acid to speak of, just texture and an underlying minerality.

The intrigue factor is the winner here. Plenty going on. Have with gnocchi in a buttery sauce.

Very good.

Region: Granite Belt
RRP: $28
Source: Sample

www.lapetitemort.com.au

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Monday, 4 May 2015

Oakvale Ablington Vineyard Chardonnay 2014

My first look at Oakvale and I like what I see. Their restaurant EXP is taking off too from what I hear. I'm in the Hunter this weekend staying nearby so I might just have to pop in and see what the fuss is all about.

This Chardonnay is lip smacking. The fruit comes from an unirrigated vineyard which is thirty five years old. Hand picked, wild yeast fermented, a minimalist approach to winemaking is the goal along with sharing an expression of the vineyard - alluvial grey sandy loam soils in Pokolbin. French oak is used for nine months and the wine is bottled unfined.

This put me in a happy place with chicken by my side. More citrus than oak. More vanilla than cream and butter. But there is a delicious spread of lemon butter. The vanilla oak and soft fruit really appeals here. Another little lemony twist on the finish adds a classy touch. Great stuff. Get me another glass.

Very good.

Region: Hunter Valley
RRP: $33
Source: Sample

www.oakvalewines.com.au

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Ballandean Estate Saperavi 2013

This is the second vintage of the Saperavi and I like it just as much as the first. Maybe more. Really smart booze this.

Expressive black berry fruit and dried herb sing here. Dry but juicy. Deep and moreish.

Acid is crunchy and the finish is super long. The fruit just grips and sticks. I'm hankering for little birds; quail would do it. But a slow cooked dish wouldn't be out of the question. Regardless, this has a homely snuggle factor to it. Winter is calling and I reckon I'd rather reach for this than a blanket.

Medium term cellaring but gee I like this now.

Excellent.

Region: Granite Belt
RRP: $42
Source: Sample

www.ballandeanestate.com

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Sunday, 3 May 2015

Thomas Wines Kiss Shiraz 2013

Soft and elegant, this is classic Hunter Valley medium bodied Shiraz.

Perfectly balanced, think savoury, some cured meat and delicious dark cherry. Seamless with a superb length with a dainty touch and soft as fine tannins. The best of what Andrew Thomas can offer is pretty damn awesome here.

Be patient and keep for a couple of years to see it at its best.

Walk over broken glass for this.

Excellent.

Region: Hunter Valley
RRP: $60
Source: Sample

www.thomaswines.com.au

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Friday, 1 May 2015

Cumulus Luna Rosa Tinto 2013

I like this style of wine. It's tasty and screams for generous pours.

Buckets of cherry flavours from the Sangiovese (70%) are chased down by equal amounts of Shiraz, Mourvèdre and Merlot (10%) adding some grunt on the finish.

Housed in old oak for twelve months, the fruit is fresh and expresses itself with a savoury finish. This is a classic Chianti style and priced perfectly.

Match it with a meat board in large glasses.

Good+

Region: Central Ranges
RRP: $16
Source: Sample

www.cumuluswines.com.au

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