Sunday 27 October 2013

Rocland Estate Chocolate Box GSM 2012

A good wine without the bells and whistles. Mind you, I did like the packaging.

Earthy, leathery, dried meat and cinnamon spice characters all highlighted a flavoursome palate. Some cozy mouth warmth made me wish it was winter again. I could see myself drinking this in front of a fire with some chocolate (how appropriate given the label) wedged in the side of my mouth.

Although the alcohol is up there, the wine doesn't give the appearance it is carrying 15%.

Enjoy with barbecued meat.

Who: Rocland Estate
What: Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre (15% alc)
Where: Barossa
When: 2012
How: $22

DiGiorgio Family Wines Shiraz 2009

Having already spent 30 months in a mix of French and American oak, there is still plenty of development ahead of this wine despite it being a 2009 release.

Raspberry, some sweet mint, slight black pepper and earthy characters drive the bus.The mid palate is akin to a launch pad. All the action is here and the flavours didn't seep through to the back palate as much as I'd hoped.

The aging ability of the wine was clearly seen on the third day this wine was open. The palate was filled out much more. Certainly a keeper.

A good wine, and when you look at the price, it is worth having a look at. It certainly drinks better than some other $23 wines I have seen.

Who: Di Giorgio Family Wines
What: Shiraz (14% alc)
Where: Coonawarra
When: 2009
How: $23

Pizzini Nebbiolo 2010

This wine was absolutely humming on the third day I had it open. If anything, it highlighted the future this wine holds in the bottle for the next decade. It was simply divine.

Of all the Pizzini samples received, this was the only one to be sealed under cork. Plummy fruit and dark cherries bounced around beautifully. There was a subtle aniseed character in the mix too. Dried flowers and a little spice came to play also.

When you get powdery tannins, you know you've hit the jackpot, and that's how I felt here. Although a little firm, these will settle with time as you'd expect with good Nebbiolo. A drying long finish delivered a touch of dried herb to chew on.

Ideal for slow roasted meats, I've already got this on my shopping list. A very smart wine.

Who: Pizzini
What: Nebbiolo (13.8% alc)
Where: King Valley
When: 2010
How: $48

Payten & Jones Yarra Valley Sangiovese 2012

From the label to the contents, this is some seriously head spinning booze. What a difference a couple of days make!

Day one greeted me with aromas of axle grease, grime, burnt rubber - the skid mark type. Rustic and rough, just the way the winemakers Behn Payten and Troy Jones like it. The palate was a little abrasive and I must admit I was attracted to the wine's point of difference. At the same time too, I can see many people struggling to get past taking a whiff. Char grilled lamb would go perfectly.

Hello day two. Whoa! I had to do a double take to see if it was the same wine I was looking at. All the aforementioned characters from day one seemed to have miraculously disappeared. Soft and supple, cherries deluxe. Some rose and dried flower traits shone through. A drying finish, man this was something to savour. A ripper.

Track it down and have a look for yourself at how this wine develops before your own eyes.

It would be interesting to see how this develops in the bottle over the next five years, if you can withhold the urge to get into it.

Who: Payten & Jones
What: Sangiovese (13% alc)
Where: Yarra Valley
When: 2012
How: $27

Pizzini Sangiovese 2012

If you are on the hunt for a foolproof food match, grab a bottle of this and tuck it under your arm. Dangerously drinkable, it is hard not to keep sipping away.

Highlighted by dried herbs, cherries, a touch of raspberry and a dash of spice, there is also a good whiff of dried twigs and undergrowth.

I really liked the juicy acidity and the firm tannins on the finish but the flavours on offer make this very enjoyable indeed.

Pizza, spag bol, you name it. A wine I'd certainly be happy to buy and share.

Who: Pizzini
What: Sangiovese (13.5% alc)
Where: King Valley
When: 2012
How: $26.50

DiGiorgio Family Wines Blanc de Blanc 2012

A very easy drinking sparkling which leans itself to being enjoyed as an aperitif.

100% Coonawarra Chardonnay and bottle fermented for nine months.

Fresh characters of pears and apples with some biscuity nuances.

A cleansing palate and although the fruit is a bit thin, damn it is easy to sip away. A drying finish leaves a trail of nougat, biscuit and a little yeastiness.

Worth considering.

Who: Di Giorgio Family Wines
What: Chardonnay (11.5% alc)
Where: Coonawarra
When: 2012
How: $35

Friday 18 October 2013

St Ronan's Pear Cider

I absolutely love the apple cider these guys punch out, and as tasty as that was, this is just as good. Both are made exactly the same, the only difference being one is apple and the other pear.

Icy cold, I was having this on a stinking hot day. Super refreshing, crisp, fresh and textural. I felt like someone had just dropped some freshly cut pears in my mouth.

Enter the pig on a spit and the experience went to a whole new level. A great match!

I shared this with a few friends and, well, the bottle (750ml) was gone before we could top up. Unanimous love and lots of talk about the textural appeal.

Available on tap too, it is hitting all the trendy Melbourne bars and independent stores in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Give your insides a treat with the apple or pear. You deserve it!

Who: St Ronan's Cider
What: Pear Cider (7% alc)
Where: Yarra Valley
How: $27 (750mL)

Cooks Lot Shiraz 2012

A pretty handy Shiraz from Duncan Cook here.

The wine was a little like the wet newspaper you pick up off your dew soaked front lawn. You ever so carefully peel back each page and something new comes to the fore. Over the space of a couple of hours and the ensuing three days this was certainly the case for me with this wine.

Earthy and leathery characters with some raspberry trying to poke its head through. Good oak sitting alongside some smoke and black pepper characters too. Lovely fruit weight on the palate delivered a soft and smooth wine. However, I sent out a search party for the back palate as it was certainly missing in action. A longish finish with capped it off well.

I'd happily buy this wine, as with all Cooks Lot wines, the price is very reasonable. I'd be most interested to see where five years and then ten years takes this.

Who: Cooks Lot Wines
What: Shiraz (13.5% alc)
Where: Orange
When: 2012
How: $20

Raidis Estate "The Kelpie" Sauvignon Blanc 2012

After one whiff I initially thought this was a Sauvignon Blanc with some barrel work. Tick! Now that's the Sauvignon Blanc I have been liking lately. A quick chat with winemaker Steve Raidis burst my bubble. 100% tank! But you know what? I still liked it.

There is a point of difference here however. It's textural, and first and foremost, it drinks well. Certainly not the best varietal example I've had but I'd have a glass or two with lunch.

The aromas seemed a little constricted first up but once the belt was loosened up a little, spring flowers, herbs, green melon and gooseberries came to play. It didn't come across as a fresh Sauv Blanc as there was certainly more to it.

Textural interest reigned supreme with flavours which lasted nicely. A slight wash of musk in the mix added to the interest. Good acid too makes this an inviting wine to have with a lunchtime chicken salad.

Who: Raidis Estate
What: Sauvignon Blanc (12.7% alc)
Where: Coonawarra
When: 2012
How: $19

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Payten & Jones Black Paddock Syrah 2012

A single vineyard wine, made in only small quantities.

Quite an earthy Syrah and not the elegant style I have previously come across from this region. Surrounded by black olive and red fruits, a good whiff picks up some burnt potato chip and oak char characters. These flowed through onto the palate,and to me, seemed to strangle the fruit.

Despite some time in the glass, as much as I wanted the wine to sing to me, sadly it didn't. But perhaps it's just me as this wine recently picked up a Bronze medal at the recent 2013 Yarra Valley Wine Show.

Who: Payten & Jones
What: Syrah (13% alc)
Where: Yarra Valley
When: 2012
How: $40

Sunday 13 October 2013

Raidis Estate "Cheeky Goat" Pinot Gris 2012

A variety not normally seen in the Coonawarra dirt, but it works.

Copper like in appearance, I really liked the fruit aromas of apricots, orange peel along with field flowers and a touch of frangipani.

Some good textural appeal coupled with rich flavours but the acid does have some bite. Chill this down and sip away at a barbeque as this wine does need food. I had this with a burger and they complemented each well.

Who: Raidis Estate
What: Pinot Gris (13.9% alc)
Where: Coonawarra
When: 2012
How: $19

Mason Wines Shiraz 2012

My first look at a Mason's Shiraz was in April this year. I picked up a bottle for a mere $19 and ripped into it not long afterwards at dinner. That 2008 blew me away and this 2012 is just as impressive despite its youth.

Juicy and vibrant red fruits, some nutmeg chiming in to add a little savoury pinch.

Quite soft and delicate with an alluring mouth warmth. The fruit is generous and coats the palate very well indeed leaving a long and delicious finish. Bitter chocolate lingers on with firmish tannins which are a little drying.

There is plenty of life left in this one, at least ten years. Excellent bang for buck!

Available at the cellar door, satellite cellar door in Montville (Sunshine Coast Hinterland), some independent stores or online.

I picked a few to savour later. I reckon you should too.

Who: Mason Wines
What: Shiraz (13.5% alc)
Where: Granite Belt, Queensland
When: 2012
How: $25

O'Leary Walker Polish Hill Riesling 2013

You know those times as a child you'd get something special and run to a secluded spot to hide so you don't have to share it? Yeah, that's how I felt with this wine.

An absolute belter of a Riesling, and for $20, I'd love to hide it from everyone else and keep it for myself...shame for me is there are 1500 cartons of it floating around the country.

Riesling lovers who embrace minerality and texture will love this yet I can see those who like more fruity styles may not agree with me. But hey, that's the beauty of wine.

White flowers delivering a fresh fragrance, a squeeze of lime and lime pith. The texture delivered is spot on as is the acid balance. Characteristics of some riverstone and a steeliness do bob up as with previous vintages but aren't dominant.

A mouthful of deliciousness which is great now and will cellar well for at least a decade.

Get some.

Who: O'Leary Walker Wines
What: Riesling (12% alc)
Where: Polish Hill River, Clare Valley
When: 2013
How: $20

Pizzini Rosetta 2013

Chilled down nicely, I poured a glass of this to have a look. My initial thoughts were that with the acid profile, this would be a very good lunch time drop to have with charcuterie. I then turned the label to find the fruit used to make this Rosé was Sangiovese. No real surprise here as Sangiovese and food are best friends.

Berry basket, dried cranberries, slight dried floral aromas and savoury characters all steal the spotlight. Good fruit weight with a dryish finish.

A reasonable wine which is well priced.

Who: Pizzini
What: Rosé - Sangiovese (11.5% alc)
Where: King Valley
When: 2013
How: $16.50

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Ridgemill Estate Amphora Orange Wine 2013

Verdelho seems to be the punching bag of grape varieties in Australia at the moment, so here is a different slant on it...

Having taken much interest in the Amphora phenomenon gripping Australia, winemaker Peter McGlashan decided to give it a go. After consulting with industry colleagues including Mike Bennie, a wine style was devised using a combination of Verdelho and Viognier fruit. No rules. No percentages. Simply pure taste and feel put to work here.

The Verdelho component was destemmed and crushed and whole bunch Viognier (roughly 20%) was added. A five day ferment took place, but here is the point of difference. Most "orange" wines are plunged regularly to extract the colour from skin contact. Not the case here with McGlashan sealing up the Amphora and not plunging at all. Whilst the colour did resemble an "orangeness" it's not as dark as most on the market. Similar to mandarin juice perhaps.

An aroma similar to those candied orange lollies you can buy in tins takes centre stage. It's even a little peachy. The wine is not purely natural as minimal sulphur was added.

Quite textural and mouth filling, the finish is long which caught me off guard. A pleasant surprise.

Presented in a 500mL bottle, I could only drink a couple of glasses of it though. It's not the type of wine I could sip away at all afternoon but that could change with food in hand. But to be honest, with only a small bottle, a couple of glasses and it's nearly all gone!

This wine has been making noise in all the right places. Stockists include retailer Craft (Red Hill) and Aria Restaurant (both in Brisbane).

Seeking something different, this may be right up your alley.

Who: Ridgemill Estate
What: Verdelho and Viognier (13% alc)
Where: Granite Belt
When: 2013
How: $35 (500mL)

Pizzini Riesling 2013

Don't think, just drink.

For those Riesling haters with blinkers on, this may well get them on the right track to see the light. Although not an outstanding varietal expression, it is soft, flavoursome, certainly slurpable and very easy on the hip pocket.

Plenty of apple aromas and flavours wrapped up with a tightish natural acid. There is some washed stone type traits also giving the wine a hint of minerality.

A good drink now wine to share with friends sipping away a warm afternoon.

Who: Pizzini
What: Riesling (11% alc)
Where: King Valley
When: 2013
How: $16.50

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Payten & Jones Yarra Valley Syrah 2012

An interesting choice of label which in the end does grab the eye so the objective has been achieved.

The fruit is sourced is from Kangaroo Ground in the Yarra Valley. A quick sniff tosses up some old leather, engine grim, burnt fig, charcoal and black fruits. A pretty engaging and interesting start.

Quite a smooth wine with a little fruit sweetness straight up. The wine sits on the palate like melted milk chocolate. There was a good hit of char but after a good shake of the decanter and some time in the glass this was disappeared.

A soft and approachable wine to smash with barbecued lamb chops.

Who: Payten & Jones
What: Syrah (13% alc)
Where: Yarra Valley
When: 2012
How: $27

O'Leary Walker Watervale Riesling 2013

I love Riesling! I just needed to get that off my chest.
It's delicious, leans itself to our warm Australian climate and it is such good value. Such good value!

Exhibit A: O'Leary Walker Watervale Riesling with a rrp of $18

Citrus flower and marigold type aromas move to a palate loaded with lemony citrusy goodness. Juicy deluxe.

There is some talc like traits on the finish, and to be honest, there is not as much fruit driving through as what the 2012 threw up. But to that, a lot of people would say who cares and just want a great wine which helps wash away that Sunday afternoon. Well folks, here is your weapon.

Only 3000 cartons made and it is readily available at numerous retailers nation wide.

Load up.

Who: O'Leary Walker Wines
What: Riesling (12% alc)
Where: Watervale, Clare Valley
When: 2013
How: $18

Pizzini Pinot Grigio 2013

A tasty wine which is uncomplicated and leans itself to kicking back and relaxing. Spring time in a glass perhaps. Don't get me wrong, it's nothing to set the world on fire, but it is a decent drop which won't disappoint.

The wine is crisp with fresh pear skin and spring flower aromas. There is good fruit weight which softly rolls through. Some minerality is present and flavours of pear and sliced apple chime in rolling through to a good finish. That minerality adds to the little grip and good length offered.

To match this wine I assembled some cherry tomato and bocconcini wrapped in a small basil leaf on a toothpick drizzled in olive oil. A great match, but I could happily a couple of glasses of this on its own.

A fair wine which is well priced and readily available.

Who: Pizzini
What: Pinot Grigio (11.5% alc)
Where: King Valley
When: 2013
How: $18.50