Tuesday 30 October 2012

Pepper Tree Limited Release Tallawanta Semillon 2012

Apple strudel and lime leaf struck me first up here, and I must say, the apple strudel action was very enticing.

Made from single vineyard fruit, there was plenty of lemon flavours and the apple chimed in nicely too. I loved the acid. It was lean, not cutting nor crunchy which is common with many new release Semillons. If anything, the softness of the acid could lead you thinking the wine was older than it was.

A perfect drop to drink on its own without the need for food, though seafood screams out for this baby. Very well structured and the flavours punch through nicely to a long finish.

Man I liked it and I'd love to see where this is at in five years.

Great buying for $28.

Who: Pepper Tree www.peppertreewines.com.au/
What: Semillon (10.8% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2012
How: $28

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Monday 29 October 2012

Briar Ridge Dairy Hill Shiraz 2010

This is a very smart piece of work.

Wonderfully structured with flavours that slide through your mouth with ease. Housed in new and one year old French Oak for fourteen months, these flavours have added beautifully to the flavour profile.

A good whiff of blackberry, plums, black olive, a sliver of clove and perhaps even tar.

Medium bodied, the fruit flavours are luscious and supple. The gentle spice ticks away with a moreish long finish.

The wines packs a little punch with great depth of flavour, yet leaves with a soft and delicate touch.

The winery suggests 10 years cellaring. I won't disagree.

I'd buy it. You should too.

Who: Briar Ridge http://www.briarridge.com.au/
What: Shiraz (14.5% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2010
How: $55

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Friday 26 October 2012

Bimbadgen Semillon 2012

A perfect drop for some prawns and oysters, and this is exactly how I enjoyed it. This wine shows the purity of fresh Hunter Valley Semillon.

Clean citrus flavours wrapped up by some crunchy and lively acid. Lots of lemons and limes. A slight whiff of lemon grass and leafiness.

It's just good drinking on a hot day damn it! A big tick for a drink now style.

Who: Bimbadgen http://www.bimbadgen.com.au/
What: Semillon (10% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2012
How: $22

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Sunday 21 October 2012

Pepper Tree Limited Release Shiraz 2011

This is a keeper and will show its best form in a couple of years. Be patient and you'll be rewarded in buckets.

The fruit comes from young vines of the Tallawanta vineyard in Pokolbin and was graced with twelve months in French oak.

Savoury notes, along with dried herb and leather kick start this beauty with a touch of vanillin oak.

The softness of these flavours and the oak integrate beautifully. An alluring medium body, it possesses a warmth which lingers nicely wrapping up with fine tannins and the finish  easily lasts a minute.

I really liked the fruit in this wine, superbly weighted, but felt the acid was just a smidge up there, hence, let this sit for a couple of years. The acid is all natural from the vineyard.

A good example of how bottle age will enhance the end result. Get one now and one for later.

Who: Pepper Tree www.peppertreewines.com.au/
What: Shiraz (13.5% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2011
How: $35

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Barambah Vineyard Selection Red 2008

Made for everyday consumption, this drop was good for what it delivered. It's not complex nor will it scoop the pool at a wine show, but what it will do is keep a smile on your face.

For $16 and released with plenty of bottle age on it, it goes well.

Some earthiness, dry leaves, dark fruits and a slight plum aroma on nose.

Not complex, just an easy drinking wine with a smooth transition from nose to palate.

Good tannin and surprising length. At its peak now.

Who: Barambah http://www.barambah.com.au/
What: Red Blend - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache (13% abv)
Where: South Burnett, Queensland
When: 2008
How: $16

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Friday 19 October 2012

Tobin Wines Lily Chardonnay 2012

A refreshing wine and then some. This unwooded Chardonnay presents beautifully and depicts exactly what winemaker Adrian Tobin has set out to achieve, that is, transport the fruit from the vineyard and present those flavours without intervening.

Soft, delicate and very moreish sum up this wine perfectly.

Nectarine, white fleshed peach, paw paw aromas leap from the glass and land perfectly in your mouth. These flavours are fresh, lively and refreshingly delicious.

The mid and front palate is where the action is at with a plentiful finish.

Have with prawns, rice paper rolls or a dish which oozes summer whilst soaking up the sun.

Grab it from the cellar door or online.

Who: Tobin Wines www.tobinwines.com.au
What: Chardonnay (13.6% alc)
Where: Granite Belt
When: 2012
How: $28

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Bimbadgen Rose 2012

This is a Rosé with some funk factor.

Predominantly Hunter Valley Shiraz with a dollop of Gewurztraminer from Orange, the two work splendidly together.

Bright in appearance, a bit like bright red cordial, I loved the aromatics which presented watermelon, a light dusting of cinnamon spice, lifted raspberry and strawberry. The Gewurztraminer chimed in delivering a gorgeous rose water element. All this before taking a sip!

A very easy drinking wine and there is plenty of fruity goodness on the palate. Gentle spice from the Shiraz on exit adds another dimension to the soft flavours which linger considerably, with a slight drying finish.

Shiraz has never hit it off with me when made into a Rosé, but perhaps this has converted me. For the $16, this is smokin' good value. Better still, Bimbadgen club members are offered discounts which drags this down to $12! Whoa!!

Get some and enjoy!

Who: Bimbadgen http://www.bimbadgen.com.au/
What: Rose (13% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2012
How: $16

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Thursday 18 October 2012

Evans & Tate Metricup Road Chardonnay 2010

Plenty to like about this. Structure, length, lovely aromatics, and the price.

Opening with nectarine and peach characters on the nose with a gentle whiff of lemon, flavours are well rounded and deliver very good depth.

Very good palate weight and lingering spice on the finish got me excited. The mid-palate is where the taste buds tingle, but I felt it flushed out just a little too quickly on the back palate. Still, the length lasts for well beyond a minute and is delicious and moreish.

The balance of fruit and oak was another attractive feature.

For $22 this is good buying.

Who: Evans & Tate http://www.mcwilliams.com.au/our-brands/evans-tate/
What: Chardonnay (13.5% alc)
Where: Margaret River
When: 2010
How: $22

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Wednesday 17 October 2012

Bimbadgen Verdelho 2012

Coming from the Estate Range of wines, fresh tropical fruit salad and gentle passionfruit characters arouse the nose.

Verdelho can be very one dimensional at times offering clean and crisp tropical flavours. This wine has a little more personality which I liked, and doesn't slot into that realm.

The palate is coated well with fruit and it was the texture which appealed to me and added some interest. There's a dash of subtle spice to add to the mix which was welcome and a Hunter Verdelho trait. Good length which lasts thirty seconds.

Bimbadgen offers significant discounts for wine club members and this wine drops down to $16 which I think is a suitable price to pay. The $22 stated is stretching it a little too much.

An enjoyable drop all up. Calamari, chips and a beach set the scene beautifully with this drop. The back label suggests roast pork. I'd be keen to try that.

Who: Bimbadgen http://www.bimbadgen.com.au/
What: Verdelho (13% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2011
How: $22

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Monday 15 October 2012

Brand's Laira Blockers Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

If you are looking for a Cabernet ticking all the boxes and not burning a hole in your wallet, grab hold of this.

I lined this up against some more expensive Cabernets and this was my pick by a mile.

Consistency across vintages hands you a Cabernet which possesses all the qualities you are looking for.

Leafy, capsicum, blackberry, all the usual traits delivering wonderful aromas.

The palate is well structured and is what a Cabernet needs to be. Dense fruit, follow through, oak spot on. Plummy, black fruit flavours, a lick of chocolate, all which sits nicely beside the oak that complements this wine well.

For $28, this is a great Cabernet. Delightful drinking. Get it.


Who: Brand's http://www.mcwilliams.com.au/our-brands/brands-laira/
What: Cabernet Sauvignon (14.8% alc)
Where: Coonawarra
When: 2009
How: $28

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Sunday 14 October 2012

Zeppelin Eden Valley Riesling 2011

A lot of people are turning their heads towards Riesling, and seriously, why wouldn't you! There is so much to like about this versatile variety, and made well, it can be mind blowing.

This Riesling doesn't have the bells and whistles as many do, but I can recommend it as a good introduction to the variety.

The fruit is sourced from the Eden Valley and presents lemon and lime aromas and a palate which has some minerality with good fruit. It's not bursting with complexity and is just a good drinking style of Riesling. There is some bitey acid but it's not harsh. A gentle drying finish wraps up the wine nicely with some Bickford's lime cordial flavours.

Enjoy within 3-5 years as an aperitif or with crusty bread, cheese and smoked salmon.

Who: Zeppelin http://echelonwine.com.au/wine/zeppelin
What: Riesling (12% alc)
Where: Eden Valley
When: 2011
How: $19

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Evans & Tate Redbrook Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

I was really looking forward to getting amongst this, but it just didn't light my fire.

A great introduction of red fruits, dry herbs and bay leaf on the nose but the fruit on the palate was not as generous as I would have hoped.

Sure the fruit was good and was dominated by blackberries plus a sweetish edge from the oak, however, the fruit ran off the palate quicker than I expected. I was expecting a bigger, punchier wine. Some undergrowth type flavours lurked on exit though with some chalky/dusty tannins.

I can see the attractive features of the wine which many people I know would lean towards. A little more oomph factor on the palate and I would have been all over it.

Who: Evans & Tate http://www.mcwilliams.com.au/our-brands/evans-tate/
What: Cabernet Sauvignon (14% alc)
Where: Margaret River
When: 2009
How: $38

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Friday 12 October 2012

Barwang Hilltops Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Nothing fancy here, it's just an easy drinking Cabernet from the Hilltops region.

Blackberries, charred oak and even salami aromas greet you.

The smokey char reappears on the palate and I felt it hides some of the fruit. Palate weight is good and the finish reveals some grainy and grippy tannins.

If you're looking for an easy drinking type of drop to accompany your barbeque, this will suit your needs well.

Who: Barwang http://www.mcwilliams.com.au/our-brands/barwang/
What: Cabernet Sauvignon (14% alc)
Where: Hilltops
When: 2010
How: $20

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Thursday 11 October 2012

Tobin Wines "Kate" Sauvignon Blanc 2010

A recent trip to the Granite Belt found me sitting at the bench of Tobin Wines in Ballandean.

Adrian Tobin is at the helm and his passion for his vineyard and wines is infectious.

As I've mentioned before, Sauvignon Blanc is not my preferred white by any stretch, but this wine certainly had me sitting up to attention.

Fresh and lively flavours here demonstrate the quality Sauvignon Blanc can deliver when not bracketed with the sameness which floods the market from Marlborough.

Passionfruit, guava and dry grass aromas captured my attention initially, but it was the excellent structure and well weighted fruit which delivered a very impressive wine. Tropical characters flooded the palate. The acid was gentle and the flavours lingered wonderfully.

You could happily drink this on its own or with a lunch of prawns and mango salad.

A most satisfying drop indeed and I would have no problem outlaying the $28 for this. For the Sauvignon Blanc obsessed, there are plenty of great Australian examples. This is one of them.

Purchase cellar door or online.

Who: Tobin Wines www.tobinwines.com.au
What: Sauvignon Blanc (11.7% alc)
Where: Granite Belt
When: 2010
How: $28

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Zeppelin Single Vineyard Shiraz 2010

A fairly good drop representing decent value.

Made with single vineyard fruit and minimal intervention - hand picked, basket pressed, aged in older oak (12-18 months), bottled without fining or filtration.

Raspberries and mulberries first up but a little reductive character was picked up. This blew away soon after.

These flavours  were smooth and followed through along with some chocolate nuances. Good fruit present and the tannins are fine and silky. A little more structure would kick it along as the flavours appeared to melt away a little quicker than expected.

Worth a look and it doesn't break the bank for an easy drink. Ideal for lasagne.

Who: Zeppelin http://echelonwine.com.au/wine/zeppelin
What: Shiraz (14.5% alc)
Where: Barossa
When: 2010
How: $19

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Wednesday 10 October 2012

Partisan Black Label Shiraz 2009

This is a big wine and appropriate precautions need to be taken to ensure there are no casualties - a seated position preferred with a big piece of steak at the ready!

Aromas of charred oak, dark fruits and a hint of clove. Dense flavours greet you on the palate. Blackberries bounce around with some dark plum and chocolate characters. The tannins are grainy and rough.

Overall,  I felt the wine needed a little polish to round it off.

Who: Partisan http://echelonwine.com.au/
What: Shiraz (14.5% alc)
Where: McLaren Vale
When: 2009
How: $27

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Tuesday 9 October 2012

Ridgemill Estate "Eloise" Blanc de Blanc 2011

Ridgemill's first release sparkling was named "Eloise" after the owner's first grand daughter.

A Blanc de Blanc with the Chardonnay fruit hand picked, some of which was sourced from a nearby vineyard. This is a good first up effort with the fruit basket pressed and made Methode Traditionelle.

Aged for sixteen months on lees, 900 odd bottles were produced and will be disgorged in three stages when required. The first three hundred are ready for sale through the Cellar Door and this was launched last weekend. A point of difference with this sparkling is that not too many sparklings are made from scratch on the Granite Belt. A mere handful. Some wineries around the country take the easy option and have sparkling wine made for them by BRL Hardy's which is delivered to their winery door bottled for a cost of around four or five bucks each! All the winery has to do is drop their label on it and up the price deluxe. Not the case here, and credit due for giving it a crack from scratch.

Colours similar to apple cider, there is a persistent bead which fizzes away impressively and never seemed to tire.

Simple bready characters on the nose, there are green apple flavours on the palate along with some yeastiness. Soft flavours move slowly across the palate, but in the end, it lacks interest. Make no mistake, it is very easy to drink and certainly approachable, finishing long and dry.

The third disgorgement will potentially be the best of this 2011 vintage having had the extra time on lees to develop some more complexity. I certainly would be interested to line up the three wines, one from each disgorgement, to see how the wine has developed.

Available only at Cellar Door and online.

Who: Ridgemill Estate http://www.RidgemillEstate.com/
What: Chardonnay (12.5% alc)
Where: Granite Belt
When: 2011
How: $28

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Montalto Estate Pinot Noir 2010

There are so many aspects of this wine which I would normally gravitate to, but for some reason, something just didn't hit the spot for me.

I do like a Pinot with a little more depth, and this wine had that. Although the texture on the palate didn't hit it off for me.

Initially, the warmth of the alcohol hung about and I waited for this to move on. This was also evident on the second night I had a look at it. Expected aromas of strawberry fused with some cherry and prune compote characters which reminded me of what I indulged in from my grandmother's cooking in my youth. I also picked up a damp leafy mulch aroma.

The palate had good weight and fruit. Good structure, oak and good length, those cherry and prune compote flavours reappeared. But with all this, something just didn't give it that something special for me.

This wine has recently been awarded Top Gold at the Ballarat Wine Show and Gold at the Royal Perth Wine Show. But for me, it just lacked something.

Who: Montalto Vineyard http://www.Montalto.com.au/
What: Pinot Noir (14.5% alc)
Where: Mornington Peninsula
When: 2010
How: $48

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Monday 8 October 2012

Oliver's Taranga HJ Reserve Shiraz 2008

Wow. Wow. Wow!
This blew my socks off. So much so it will be on my Christmas table.

Described as "ultra premium", it certainly is, and then some.

The fruit was picked before the heatwave of 2008 took hold, and thank goodness!

Flavours are big, powerful and concentrated.

After a few years tucked away in the bottle, the wine needed a little resuscitation. With a little more life in it, boom!

Super dark in colour, edging on black. Aromas of spice, dense chocolate, deep plum and cedary oak. This is seriously good and meaty.

Ridiculously smooth and soft yet dense. Loaded with flavour. If ever you were to taste chocolate characteristics in a Shiraz, this is the one. Blueberry, blackberry and deep plum goodness add to the flavour profile with a sweet touch of spice. The length goes on and on, and although the alcohol is high (15%), it is not obtrusive. A well balanced wine.

Fine soft tannins finish off a wine I saluted - an absolute cracker!

Another reason for me to look forward to Christmas.

Who: Olivers Taranga www.OliversTaranga.com
What: Shiraz (15% alc)
Where: McLaren Vale
When: 2008
How: $50

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Wednesday 3 October 2012

Saltram Mamre Brook Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

A wine which is polished and ready to drink now but will also reward cellaring.

Aromas of chocolate, dense plum and char. Oak is there but not overwhelming.

Having just been released, a few years aging already behind this wine has served it well. Soft and smooth. Fruit is king and the dense flavours roll along neatly. The chocolate and plum reappear on the palate but a squirt of blueberry flavours added to the complexity. Soft acid present, and looking at the whole picture, all elements humming along together wonderfully.

Fine tannins and an ever lasting finish. A big tick!

Who: Saltram http://www.saltramwines.com.au/
What: Cabernet Sauvignon (14.5% alc)
Where: Barossa
When: 2009
How: $38

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Tuesday 2 October 2012

De Iuliis Sunshine Vineyard Semillon 2012

If you like young Semillon, pop this on your shopping list quick smart.

Green apples and fresh cut herbs landed a big smile on my face. A pretty tidy start.

Clean crisp flavours were delightful. It even appeared a little zesty. A bloody good Semillon with a good line of crunchy acid through the core before the green apples jumped out again just as I thought all was done and dusted.

I loved it! Hello summer days.

Who: De Iuliis http://www.dewine.com.au
What: Semillon (11.5% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2012
How: $25

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Monday 1 October 2012

McWilliams Mt Pleasant Single Vineyard Lovedale Semillon 2007


Aged Semillon is something to behold. This wine from McWilliams Mount Pleasant in the Hunter Valley is superb. Jaw dropping, gob smacking awesomeness! If you have the privilege of getting your hands on some, sit down and strap yourself in.

The Lovedale vineyard dates back to 1946 when it was planted by Maurice O'Shea.

Brightish straw appearance, the wine possesses an enticing bouquet with biscuity characters, nuttiness, lemon rind, a hint of mandarin peel, and a waft of honey on toast.

The palate delivered smooth silkiness. Super length and citrus flavours aplenty. Honey characters were a feature too not to be missed, and a subtle minerality to add to the mix too. The acid has settled well and a few years bottle age has delivered a delightful Semillon.

Sure the price is up there and many baulk at outlaying more than $50 on a wine, let alone just over $60 for a Semillon. Whilst I acknowledge the wine tasted was a sample and I did not outlay the money myself, I totally appreciate the question being asked, "Is it worth it?". The proof is in the pudding I must admit, no stone was left unturned producing this.

When people talk about the wonders and beauty of Hunter Semillon, point the doubters in this direction.

Who: McWilliams http://www.mcwilliams.com.au/

What: Semillon (11.5% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2007
How: $60.50

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