Thursday 28 February 2013

Ballandean Estate Fiano 2012

Ballandean Estate make some smart wines and this new addition to the range supports that. Having been making wine since 1932, they are doing their best to get their brand and label out to the wine loving public. This is evidenced by their use of social media through Facebook, Twitter and now even QR Codes make an appearance on the labels. For a region battling to be noticed, others in the area should follow this lead as the Granite Belt has much to offer.

Being the first release vintage of Fiano, stocks are running low due to its popularity. Spring flowers, sweet pastry and lemon zest aromas dominate. There is plenty of fruit on the palate delivering melon characters along with good texture. Perfect for a hot day, this is a very enjoyable wine to kick back with.

Well worth the $20 and is discounted to $18 on dozen buys.

Who: Ballandean Estate
What: Fiano
Where: Granite Belt, Queensland
When: 2012
How: $20

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Wednesday 27 February 2013

Rolling Sparkling Pinot Grigio Chardonnay 2012

I really wanted to like this wine but it just didn't appeal to me.

There were good elements of poached pear, cheesecake and subtle stone fruit aromas.

Some spice on the finish and good length but one glass was enough due to the dryness. Certainly not bone dry, but it just didn't tickle my fancy.

Food is needed for this wine, and granted, I had it on its own.

Who: Cumulus Estate Wines
What: Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay (13% alc)
Where: Orange
When: 2012
How: $18.99

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Cooks Lot Chardonnay 2012

Another top value drop from winemaker Duncan Cook. Only bottled a few weeks ago, his label now has a QR Code. A clever use of technology and the use of such is starting to expand which I believe is a good thing.

This wine is nicely oaked with some creaminess - baked cheesecake like. Stone fruit and melon characters are typically in the mix but then a wash of vanillin oak sweeps through leaving a finish which lingers well.

Food pairings of baked fish or creamy chicken dishes would suit.

For twenty bucks, this is spot on.

Who: Cooks Lot Wines
What: Chardonnay (12.9% alc)
Where: Orange
When: 2012
How: $19.99

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Tuesday 26 February 2013

De Bortoli Yarra Valley Gamay Noir 2012

Looking for a versatile wine that ticks the boxes for drinkability, food friendliness and price? Check this out.

The vines were planted in 1998 at the Roundstone Winery who has on sold the fruit to De Bortoli after the Roundstone winery and vineyards were devastated during the 2009 bushfires.

Juicy fruit, the palate is coated well with red berry and cherry flavours punching through. There is a slight twiggy aroma present which adds to the character well. Soft textured, it is so delightfully easy to drink. A drying finish, the glass will empty in no time.

Described on the back label as "frighteningly drinkable". Yep, that sums it up perfectly.

Widely available.

Who: De Bortoli Wines
What: Gamay Noir (12.5% alc)
Where: Yarra Valley
When: 2012
How: $25

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Monday 25 February 2013

Ballandean Estate Cabernet Merlot 2011

Just released, a blend dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (95%), typical characters of cassis, slight aniseed and blackcurrant present themselves. A hint of a passion fruit aroma is in the mix too. There is green steminess which moved on after an hour in the glass.

A good wine which is smooth and very easy to drink and would partner a BBQ well. It just lacked a little spunk particularly for the $25 asking price.  Mind you, if someone poured me a glass whilst chewing on a snag I'd happily drink it.

I'd be interested to see where this wine is at in 3-5 years.

Who: Ballandean Estate
What: Cabernet Merlot (13.8% alc)
Where: Granite Belt, Queensland
When: 2011
How: $25

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Saturday 23 February 2013

Yelland & Papps Devote Roussanne 2012

Right. So you don't like Chardonnay? Too much of that woody thing? Ok. Have you tried Roussanne? It's time you did and you need to get hold of this.

This is the business.

What is so appealing about this wine is the texture. Sure, it is barrel fermented, but you are not bashed over the head with a lump of timber. Some nougat, lemony and nutty aromas, stonefruit type flavours fill out the palate beautifully. The fruit is laid on thick and the use of new and old French oak has imparted a delicate softness, and damn, it is so easy to drink. A finish that appears to linger forever, your glass will be empty in no time.

Only 1600 bottles produced, this is an impressive wine.

Who: Yelland & Papps
What: Roussanne (13% alc)
Where: Barossa
When: 2012
How: $35

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Seraphim Shiraz 2009

Coming from a small winery with an output of only approximately 250 cases a year, the wines are made by the passionate Sam Scarpari.

Being such a small operation, he doesn't have all the bells and whistles at his disposal, yet he produces an acceptable wine that is well priced.

This Shiraz is made with fruit from Goulburn Valley in Victoria. Good colour, gravelly and earthy characters are unmistakable, but hovering in the background is a good dash of savory spice and good red berry fruit.

A medium bodied Shiraz, there is also a distinct smokey element present. To me this was not offensive and adds to the character of the wine and is a direct result of the older American and French (minimum 5 years) oak used. The alcohol is high (14.9%) but doesn't intrude.

BBQ ribs and this would be best friends.

Only available online. Another reason to support small business.

Who: Seraphim Wines
What: Shiraz (14.9% alc)
Where: Goulbourn Valley
When: 2009
How: $16

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Thursday 21 February 2013

De Bortoli Yarra Reserve Release "EZ" 2012

Only available through the cellar door, this is certainly worth getting your hands on. Sitting back on a warm summer's afternoon, sipping this away is too easy.

A blend of Riesling (85%), Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer, all the fruit is hand picked and hand sorted.

Buckets of floral, lavender, and lychee aromas greet you. Bright and fresh.

The palate is light and radiates good fruit. Very refreshing indeed particularly with the rose water and Turkish delight flavours humming along courtesy of the Gewurztraminer. A little sweet spice on the finish to tickle your fancy, and before you know it, the glass needs a refill.

Someone say 18 bucks? Bargain!

Who: De Bortoli Wines
What: Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris (12% alc)
Where: Yarra Valley
When: 2012
How: $18

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Cooks Lot Pinot Noir 2012

Cooks Lot wines represent pretty good value. There is nothing flashy about this drop but it is more than suitable for the price point.

The wine started to show its true colours on day two, keep in mind though it is a 2012.The sample tasted had only been in the bottle a couple of months. 

Made with the use of new French oak, it is a savory type. Orange rind, sour cherry and a good dash of cedery oak on the nose.

Gentle savory spice and nice red berry flavours dance around in the mouth. A juicy type acid evident too. A jab of pepper rounds off the finish which lingers.

Decant and give it a good swirl. Even better, let it sit for a year or two and then jump in.

Who: Cooks Lot Wines
What: Pinot Noir (12.9% alc)
Where: Orange & Tumbarumba
When: 2011
How: $20

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Wednesday 20 February 2013

Somerled Shiraz 2007

The vintage of 2007 produced some challenges, but this Shiraz came through well. And to be honest, I could have been fed this through a drip.

Somerled is an Adelaide Hills producer but the fruit for this wine is sourced from McLaren Vale.

An alluring whiff of chocolate and plummy goodness with cedery oak chiming in.

Dense is the best way to describe the palate which coats the mouth wonderfully and it's laid on thick! Soft spice and a touch of smoke, the chocolate and plum flavours are generous and linger beautifully. A well balanced wine, the fine tannins which are not far off being powdery wrap up a very neat package.

Ideal for the cooler months, snuggle up in front of a fire with this. Every drop is worth the $34 requested although the winery throws a discount to club members who only dish out $29.

Who: Somerled Wines
What: Shiraz (14.5% alc)
Where: McLaren Vale
When: 2007
How: $34

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Robert Oatley Vineyards Finisterre Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2011

The Finisterre range of wines from Robert Oatley are sourced from the best fruit parcels they have access to. Coming from Margaret River fruit, less than 300 dozen were made with the majority of this allocated to on premise restaurant sales.

Loaded with gooseberry, pea, cut herb and asparagus aromas, there was a suggestion this was a crisp wine. Not so.

A delicious textured palate layered with creamy and soft fruit. Buttery and melon flavours kicked around capped off with a very good length.

If you discover this in a restaurant it is worth getting hold of, but you don't expect to be paying the $32 rrp.

Who: Robert Oatley Vineyards
What: Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc (13.2% alc)
Where: Margaret River
When: 2011
How: $32

Tuesday 12 February 2013

De Bortoli Windy Peak Pinot Noir 2011

I had a look at this recently and threatened on Twitter to do a nude run down the Queen Street Mall if someone could find me a better value Pinot Noir. I'm still waiting...

For $14 RRP this delivers super value and then some.

Quite clean and polished, the flavours possess some freshness delivering a bright appearance with aromas of strawberry juice and cherries. These characters flow onto a soft palate leaving a dusting of some spice.

Such an easy drinking wine and a drink now type. It is hard to believe the quality particularly as this wine is often discounted well below the RRP.

Cheap Pinot that is worth drinking. I like!

Who: De Bortoli Wines
What: Pinot Noir (13% alc)
Where: Yarra Valley
When: 2011
How: $14

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Monday 11 February 2013

Gundog Estate Marksman's Shiraz 2010

What struck me most about the wines from Gundog Estate was their freshness and this is a credit to the winemaker Matt Burton.

This wine is literally the top dog in the portfolio. Only 150 dozen made. The quality of the wine is obvious as it has already sold out. Well done to those lucky few who have snared a bottle or two.

Made from Canberra fruit, the wine has spent time in French oak for fourteen months. Medium bodied, the fruit is delicate, plummy and laced with soft spice. There is some mouth warmth and subtle oak char polished off with fine silky tannins.

Very impressive full stop with the best drinking ahead of it. Throw it in a dark spot for a few years and it'll be happy days!

Who: Gundog Estate
What: Shiraz (14.2% alc)
Where: Canberra
When: 2010
How: $50 (Sold out)

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Sunday 10 February 2013

Briar Ridge Pinot Chardonnay 2011

Bubbles are best shared with friends and when you have a bottle of this, ensure there is another one to reload with. Such an approachable and easy drinking type, it disappeared all too quickly for my liking.

Sure all wineries are out to make excellent wines, and whilst some won't win a medal at a show, a quality drop is seen by the consumer as one to share the good times with and for its drinkability. This is one of those wines.

I can assure you that you'll enjoy sipping this. The bead erupts from the base of the glass leaving an attractive mousse. There are shortbread and pastry flavours washing around rounded off with lemon zest. The length is impressive and there is some complexity. Nothing flashy, just good honest bubbles.
A popular seller for $29, Club members pay $25.

Get some, share it with friends and you'll see what I mean.

Who: Briar Ridge
What: Sparkling Pinot Noir, Chardonnay (12.5% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2011
How: $29

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Friday 8 February 2013

McWilliams 1877 Shiraz Cabernet 2008

A multi regional blend of Shiraz and Cabernet from McLaren Vale, Hilltops and Coonawarra.

The wine spent twenty months in French oak and the result is pretty smart.

There's lots going on to tease the senses. It's dense, concentrated and complex. Aromas pour out of the glass including vanilla, mocha, burnt fig, plums and cassis.

Initial spice on the palate dives into an elegant softness. Wonderfully balanced with the aromas flowing onto a palate loaded with flavour.
Great length which is wrapped up with powdery tannins. Yum.

Although a 2008, another few more years won't hurt it and long term cellaring is definitely in its sights.

Available cellar door only. A wine worth tucking away if your budget can extend that far.

Who: McWilliams
What: Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon (15% alc)
Where: McLaren Vale, Hilltops, Coonawarra
When: 2008
How: $65

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Thursday 7 February 2013

Richard Hamilton Hut Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

All the usual Cabernet characteristics are at play here and a cracking wine for the money.

Cassis, black fruits and touch of vanilla kick things off. Juicy black fruit flavours are a highlight. If anything, the acid is a little tight and the flavours gave the impression they are ready to unleash themselves in a year or two. I am confident that will be the case too, particularly as this is only a 2011. When that time comes however, this will pay you back in spades and prove to be a bargain. That said, it is more than acceptable drinking now.

Get some with the confidence it won't leave a big hole in the pocket. Enjoy with a steak.

Who: Richard Hamilton
What: Cabernet Sauvignon (14.5% alc)
Where: McLaren Vale
When: 2011
How: $19.95

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Wednesday 6 February 2013

Somerled Wines Sparkling 2011

I liked the look of this straight away. There is something about a crown seal on a bottle of fizz which I just love. Made from 100% Pinot Noir using the traditional Method Champenoise, this is a good aperitif.

In the glass, a great bead with the fizz bursting through. There is a slight strawberry aroma and a whiff of forest berries.

Dry as you'd expect, plenty of action on the front palate but the mid palate seems to go missing. An impressive length but when paying $34 I'd be looking for a more consistent flavour profile.

I haven't come across too many straight Pinot Noir sparklings and having not been blended with its usual partner Chardonnay certainly is a point of difference. But in the end, a good drop which drinks well without the X factor.

Who: Somerled Wines
What: Sparkling Pinot Noir (12.5% alc)
Where: Adelaide Hills
When: 2011
How: $34

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Tuesday 5 February 2013

d'Arenberg d'Arry's Original 2009

Comfort food is something we are all familiar with, but comfort wine? Not so much.

If there was ever to be a comfort wine, this would go pretty close.

A super wine to enjoy in front of  a fire, whilst tucking into a heart warming casserole, or accompanying that square of chocolate wedged in the side of your mouth as you sip away.

A blend of Shiraz (59%) and Grenache (41%) there is a welcoming aroma of Christmas pudding, earthiness and bitter chocolate.

Concentrated flavours of black and red fruits, plums and plenty of depth, it is not hard to keep putting the glass to your mouth. Drying with grippy tannins, the warmth left in the mouth just begs for more. Often available well below the RRP ($21.95) and if you find it at the right price it definitely screams bargain.

Plenty of cellar life in it too.
Comfort wine? I reckon.

Who: d'Arenberg
What: Shiraz Grenache (14.4% alc)
Where: McLaren Vale
When: 2009
How: $21.95

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Monday 4 February 2013

Richard Hamilton MRV 2011

A drink now style blend of Marsanne, Rousanne and Viognier. Flavours are clean and fresh with some the texture but not as much depth as some similar French blends demonstrate.

Pale straw appearance, some honey with apricot and peach aromas taking centre stage.

Some interest on the palate but there is nothing wow factorish. These flavours are soft and follow through from the nose well. Simply, a good solid drink and well priced.

Drink with fresh peach slices wrapped in prosciutto baked in the oven. Enjoy!

Who: Richard Hamilton
What: Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier (12.5% alc)
Where: McLaren Vale
When: 2011
How: $15.50

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Sunday 3 February 2013

Somerled Wines Reserve Fumé Blanc 2011

A funky little number this. So much so I tended to think some wild fermentation took place. Not so, and not something you'd expect from a conservative ex-Penfolds winemaker.
But this style of wine is far from conservative and is deemed a "trial" by winemaker Robin Moody. Fermented in stainless steel and finished in old Hungarian oak where it sat for approximately twelve months before bottling.

Intriguing aromas of dried passionfruit, slight musk and snow pea. Barrel work has added to the textural element on the palate though the fruit seemed a fraction tight. Impressive length, there is enough there to make you sit up in attention. A wine very much suited to a creamy pasta or creamy chicken dish.

Only two barrels made. I like wines with a point of difference and this certainly gets a tick for what it delivered.

Cellar door release only.

Who: Somerled Wines
What: Sauvignon Blanc (11.7% alc)
Where: Adelaide Hills
When: 2011
How: $34

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