Wednesday 31 July 2013

Bimbadgen Hunter Valley Semillon 2013

This Semillon is jumping out of the blocks to be guzzled.

A perfect spring or summer drop, it is well balanced and so slurpable.

Lemon characters are the hero here along with some green apple chiming in. Crisp acidity and good fruit weight made it very hard not to keep topping up the glass.

Very much a drink now type and great value for $22.

Enjoy with sunshine, blue skies and friends lazing about with seafood and big smiles.

Who: Bimbadgen
What: Semillon (12% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2013
How: $22

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Montalto Main Ridge Block Pinot Noir 2012

A single vineyard wine coming from red clay loam soils which sit 156 metres above sea level. There is a map on the back label indicating where the single vineyards sites are. Clever.

I really enjoyed this Pinot. It's savoury with dry herb and leaf litter aromas. Spicy cherry fruit coats the palate very well. The fruit is destemmed and I feel that this wine, compared to the other single vineyard wines from this release, is great for drinking now.

There is a some good depth of flavour here too which I also did enjoy. I'm not one for light and weak Pinots.

A tick from me.

Who: Montalto Vineyard
What: Pinot Noir (13.1% alc)
Where: Mornington Peninsula
When: 2012
How: $65

Monday 29 July 2013

Teusner The Riebke Shiraz 2012

Is this the bargain of the year?

I picked up a bottle of this for a mere $18, and wow, talk about bang for buck! It's quite hard to believe what you are drinking when you consider the price.

Busting out of the glass are black fruit, chocolate and canned plum characters along with some slight burnt match and oak char which all contribute beautifully. A tiny bit of violet in there too.

Superbly balanced the palate is big, juicy and generous. Powdery and talc like tannins add to the superb length.

Don't be deterred by the14.5% alcohol, it certainly doesn't belt you over the head.

Most definitely worth getting a stack of this to drink now and put away. And for the money, why not!

Who: Teusner
What: Shiraz (14.5% alc)
Where: Barossa
When: 2012
How: $18

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2011

A friend brought this along to dinner and I couldn't help but to be captivated. Bloody good choice were my words.

It certainly doesn't come across as a 2011. Overflowing with juicy fruit there is a good whack of oak present, though the fruit maintains its vibrancy.

Leather, chocolate and black fruit aromas, the palate is coated beautifully as these flavours slowly roll through the mouth.

A super wine to accompany many types of food, but the easy drinking nature of it had me won.

Don't think about it, just drink it. Yum!

Who: Two Hands
What: Shiraz (14.8% alc)
Where: Barossa Valley
When: 2011
How: $27

Montalto Estate Pinot Noir 2012

Get the pen out and throw a big tick beside this drop.

Light in appearance, there is plenty of juicy dark cherries bouncing about. There was a woody aroma which I can only describe as similar to those old school timber bedroom cupboards you'd find at grandma's house. But on the second day of tasting, this woody aroma had moved on.

Noticeable Pinot traits such as undergrowth and even some cola type flavours dance a funky tune. Some peppery spice in the mix too. Great palate weight and depth which sits perfectly for me and the type of Pinot Noir I like. A soft long length wrap up very good wine.

Who: Montalto Vineyard
What: Pinot Noir (13.6% alc)
Where: Mornington Peninsula
When: 2012
How: $48


Bimbadgen Regions Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2012

A front palate focused wine made at Bimbadgen's Hunter Valley winery with the fruit sourced from Orange.

Undergrowth and composty aromas roll through to plenty of blue fruit flavours, and as the label suggests, clove on the finish. I did find the oak a little upfront. The Cabernet component and Merlot seem a little disconnected and don't easily roll into one another. To finish, the acid was hard and noticeably sat on my teeth. With food, this would not be picked up however.

Definitely a food wine, though when compared to wines of similar quality, the $26 here is a little steep.

Who: Bimbadgen
What: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot (13.5% alc)
Where: Orange, NSW
When: 2012
How: $26

Friday 19 July 2013

Chapel Hill Mourvedre 2009

I recently went on a farm stay holiday to the Sunshine Coast hinterland. One evening we lined up a barbeque for dinner. Knowing this and as the day wore on my hankering for a Mourvedre to match the meal grew stronger and stronger. I jumped in the car and arrived at a well presented and well stocked independent bottle shop in the township not far from where we were.

I reached for a bottle of this and a few hours later I just kept asking myself why the hell I didn't drink more Mourvedre. This bottle from Chapel Hill stood and delivered and then some. Kapow!

Hand picked and aged in two, three and four year old French oak, much of the wine was gone before the steak hit the plate. So slurpable. So delicious.

Juicy plummy and dark chocolate flavours hit the spot. Some spice and savoury characters in many respects. A forever lasting length and that finish...gorgeously super smooth. The wine was ridiculously mouth filling, plump and moreish.

Some people just see Mourvedre (also known as Mataro and Monastrell) as a variety to blend. Not so in my opinion. This one is some serious kick arse booze. Great buying for the money.

Do it.

Who: Chapel Hill
What: Mourvedre (15% alc)
Where: McLaren Vale
When: 2009
How: $35

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Hoddles Creek Estate 1er cru Pinot Blanc 2012

It's not hard to warm to Franco D'Anna, and when chatting to him he spits out, "I let the wine live and let the vineyard dictate what the wine looks like." Sense of place and vintage differentiation is something I am a fan of.

My first experience of Pinot Blanc and I must say I want more. There is little of it in Australia and after looking at this I'd be interested to see who else makes it.

Lime cordial and a little musk, the flavours are soft and slightly drying but the wine possesses a lovely depth. Good phenolics deliberately left in the wine, the texture had me in a spin.

As described by Franco, this is a "winemaker's wine".

Limited stocks available nationally from good independent bottle shops.

Grab some if you can.

Who: Hoddles Creek Estate
What: Pinot Blanc (12% alc)
Where: Yarra Valley
When: 2012
How: $40

Yangarra Estate Viognier 2011

Bloody smart wine this and certainly not something I was expecting.

Wild fermented, ten months in French oak and not fined.

Spring flowers, under ripe green pear, freshly sliced apricot, and almond meal. Good acid and very well balanced. Flavours caress the palate softly. It's just yum!
A fresh and lively Viognier, certainly not the apricot nectar type. For the money, you are the winner.

Cellar medium term but I'd prefer to drink this sooner rather than later.

Who: Yangarra Estate
What: Viognier
Where: McLaren Vale
When: 2011
How: $25

Monday 15 July 2013

Meerea Park Alexander Munro Semillon 2008

Bottled in 2008 and released in Feburary 2013, this Semillon is taking shape beautifully.

The wine has starting to show some good development. Coming from the treasured Braemore vineyard in Pokolbin, this label is only released from an exceptional vintage.

Fresh characters of lemons and limes are in abundance with a fine vener of wild flowers. Some lemon zest is in there too. Toasty characters chime in with a touch of kerosene resulting from age. I felt the aromatics captivated me moreso than the fruit delivered. The palate thinned out quicker than expected, but there is still plenty of body there. Perhaps I was expecting more for the five years aging which already had taken place. The natural soft acid on offer will continue to bolster the wine for further cellaring.

A perfect partner for some greasy fish, just what I did.

For the money, you get a top deal with many years ahead.

Who: Meerea Park
What: Semillon (10.5% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2008
How: $36

Friday 12 July 2013

Shaw Vineyards Botrytis Semillon 2012

I do enjoy a "sticky" with my preferred style being the concentrated and syrupy type. This example from Shaw doesn't fall into that category and as a result I didn't enjoy it that much.

A match for a cheese platter perhaps, I just felt it was sweet white wine. I can see the appeal it would have for some but when factoring in the cost, there are others on the market I would lean towards.

Light golden appearance, orange peel, mandarin and citrus flowers were delivered with a hint of spiced pear too. Despite not having that density as mentioned earlier, the length was pretty good.

Who: Shaw Vineyards
What: Botrytis Semillon (9% alc)
Where: Canberra
When: 2012
How: $25

Meerea Park XYZ Shiraz 2010

I wasn't all that fussed with this wine.

Whilst easy to drink it didn't present anything to captivate me.

Deep in colour, the wine possessed some red earthiness, prune compote and a smokey meat element. A little linear on the palate, the fruit seemed a tad stewed and didn't deliver any vibrancy. Grippy tannins to finish.

Drink in the next couple of years with barbecued meats.

In my opinion, if you are buying Meerea Park reds, spend a few more bucks and the difference in quality will be clear.

Who: Meerea Park
What: Shiraz (13.5% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2010
How: $22.50

Thursday 11 July 2013

McLeish Estate Reserve Shiraz 2011

If you are in the Hunter Valley, this place deserves to be on your Cellar Door visitation list.

Proudly owned and operated by the McLeish family, the wines are made by Andrew Thomas. His class has clearly seeped its way into this wine.

For $35, this is a bargain deluxe!! You'd be happy to pay three times the price, and you probably would in some restaurants. The quality delivered is magnificent.

Plump mulberry and black fruits are king here with some violet characters swooping through. Super fine flavours on a delicate palate which is luscious and loaded. A forever lingering length concluding with a fine dusting of pepper. French oak has been used perfectly.

Over a few days the wine just continued to develop and improve which was impressive.

A great drop now and can only get better with more time in the bottle.

Get it online or on premise where it is mostly available in Sydney and Newcastle.

I can't recommend this wine enough.

Who: McLeish Estate
What: Shiraz (14.2% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2011
How: $35

Monday 1 July 2013

Innocent Bystander Syrah 2010

A very easy drinking Syrah which is well priced.

The fruit for this wine comes from the Yarra Valley and the Pyrenees. A drop of Viognier (1%) has also been added having a slight material effect.

I sampled this wine at the Cellar Door last week. An impressive operation on the main street in Healesville. Be sure to grab a Polish donut whilst there.

Aromas of spice, cherry and raspberries roll onto a palate bustling with a light dusting of pepper and blackberry fruit. Some dried herb flavours sit behind the action and appear just as all seems gone.

Generous in length, a wine I'd happily have with a steak or on its own.

Widely available, drink now or keep for five to eight years.

Who: Innocent Bystander
What: Syrah (13.7% alc)
Where: Yarra Valley & Pyrenees
When: 2010
How: $25

Meerea Park Alexander Munro Shiraz 2003

For those seeking a top drop and happy outlay a bit of dosh, this may be up your alley.

An aged release coming from 50+ year old vines, all the cellar work has been done for you. Though this is ready to drink now, and drinking very well I may add. It still has enough in it to hang around for another ten years but I can't see it getting too much better.

A distinct cured meat aroma, bacon bits, mushroom gravy, plums and dark fruit spring to life in the glass. Meaty stuff and I like it. The bottle suggests to decant, and that you must do as there is plenty of sediment lurking in the deep.

Superbly balanced with excellent length, the characters above flow through the wine beautifully. The texture is soft and supple. Moreish.

One to savour and certainly a sip all night type of wine.

Whilst the price stated may be well out of reach for many, a quick Google search will find you a bargain.

Coming from the best vintage made at Meerea Park, get hold of it if you can.

Who: Meerea Park
What: Shiraz (14.5% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2003
How: $100

O'Leary Walker Sauvignon Blanc 2013

I was excited on two fronts when this sample arrived. For one, I knew I had a well made wine in my hands coming from O'Leary Walker. And secondly, it was my first look at a 2013 vintage release.

Whilst I didn't like this 2013 Sauvignon Blanc as much as the 2012, this is still quite smart. And let's face it, I loved the 2012!

More grassy than the previous vintage, there is still an abundance of tropical fruit wrapped up inside. Lemon grass and fresh cut green apple flavours added interest.

Fresh, crisp with zippy acidity.

To Australian Savvy drinkers, rid yourselves of the love affair with the sameness seen in every tube from across the ditch and embrace the great wines we make here in Australia. Use this as your new weapon this summer in your quest to quench your thirst.

For $17.50, light up the word... bargain!

Who: O'Leary Walker
What: Sauvignon Blanc (11% alc)
Where: Adelaide Hills
When: 2013
How: $17.50

Yelland & Papps Divine Shiraz 2010

Don't look at Yelland & Papps as "another Barossa producer". They are far from it. Not to be tarnished with the same brush which has regrettably added some negativity to this region, Susan Yelland and Michael Papps have deliberately moved to producing a style that in Susan's words, "isn't typical Barossa."

Looking at this Shiraz and wines from their other new releases, it is easy to say they have shaken the tree and achieved this objective. Cue the Divine Shiraz...

Only 750 bottles were produced and it is, well, bloody delicious. It's not stewed. It's not overripe. It's what they planned to achieve, that is, not a typical Barossa.

Strong aromas of cedar and some burnt toast characters. There is a little fruit sweetness with deep plummy, blackberry fruit and chocolate richness. The palate texture is not unlike sticking a square of chocolate in your mouth and letting it dissolve away. A hint of violet along with some earthy and roast meat jus characters add to the flavour profile. Excellent length to finish.

Soft, sexy and smooth. Ready to drink now or will keep for another ten years.

Who: Yelland & Papps
What: Shiraz (14.5% alc)
Where: Barossa
When: 2010
How: $75