Friday 29 November 2013

Yelland & Papps Vin De Soif 2012

This range of wines from Yelland & Papps is made for drinking now. The grab a bottle and have with your take away type.

For this reason I wasn't that fussed on the wine. It started to hit its straps on day two, a bit late for that evening tipple with a meal.

A blend of 65% Grenache, 27% Mataro, 5% Shiraz and 3% Carignan, the acid balance seemed a little out of whack. After some air and a night to rest up it settled down and was softer and more approachable. Earthy, blood plums, red fruits, a good nip of spice and some oak influence all contributing.

Not for me.

Who: Yelland & Papps
What: Grenache, Mataro, Shiraz, Carignan (12.5% alc)
Where: Barossa
When: 2012
How: $20

Rocland Estate Lot 147 Shiraz 2008

Strap yourself in for a big Barossa Shiraz.

Super dark appearance the wine is bursting with chocolate and blackberries. Deep and concentrated, perhaps a little too much? I can see how the power can turn some off yet appeal to many.

Despite the wine's punch there is a softer side. Iron fist in a velvet glove like. Five years of aging has certainly helped mesh all elements together. The palate balanced with a super long length.

Some cedar characters poke through but the fruit jostles it back into place. Stated at 15% alcohol, I suggest it takes up some of the 1.5% variance available.

Good to drink now and will certainly cellar for at least the medium term.

Ensure you are seated with a slab of protein or a block of chocolate at the ready.

Who: Rocland Estate
What: Shiraz (15% alc)
Where: Barossa
When: 2008
How: $45

Yelland & Papps Vermentino 2013

Vermentino is a great alternative for a summer time drop. This is evidenced by the planned increase in production of this wine at Yelland & Papps in 2014. Vineyards will be pulled up and more Vermentino planted. A sparkling Vermentino is also made by these guys, but that's a story for another time.

This wine exhibits lots of lemons and citrusy characters with some honeycomb of all things lurking in the background. I keep coming back to the lemony twang which adds just a little extra zip to the palate. Nice!

Well priced and very slurpable. Chill down and enjoy in the sunshine with friends.

Who: Yelland & Papps
What: Vermentino (12.5% alc)
Where: Barossa
When: 2012
How: $20

Thursday 28 November 2013

Raidis Estate 'Billy' Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Dry grown and harvested from a single vineyard, the wine sat in French oak 18 months.

Leafy, slight capsicum, black fruits and some faint oak are all very inviting. The wine's brightness and juicy characters are easily picked up from just one whiff.

A fruit forward style with plenty of juicy black fruit and blackberry jam flavours prominent.

Wonderfully soft in the mouth, the wine has a delicious length with supple tannins which last longer than a minute.

Packed and driven by fruit there is lots to like. Lots!

Priced very well for $25 and I wine I'd happily enjoy now to get the most from that vibrant fruit. Aging the wine medium term will do it no harm either.

Who: Raidis Estate
What: Cabernet Sauvignon (14.6% alc)
Where: Coonawarra
When: 2010
How: $25

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Toolangi Block F Chardonnay 2011

Pure indulgence. An absolutely impeccable Chardonnay.

Adjustments were made to make this wine due to the wet vintage of 2011. Hand picked as usual, however, the crop was more carefully scrutinised. Normally 1-1.5 tonnes per acre are harvested but vintage conditions resulted in much less exemplary fruit. As a result only the best bunches were picked and sorted. The wine was made at Oakridge and only 270 dozen were produced.

Quite attractive aromatics of stone fruit, fleshy peach, almonds and nougat. Oyster shell characters chimed in along with some creamy vanillin oak.

Eleven months in French oak puncheons, peach flavours roll through with layers of flavour continually peeling off and revealing themselves. There is plenty of fruit to carry the wine through to a deliciously long length. The fruit weight sublime.

Wickedly delicious, soft and delicate.

If you love Chardonnay this is certainly a wine to go chasing.

Who: Toolangi Wines
What: Chardonnay (13% alc)
Where: Yarra Valley
When: 2011
How: $58

Payten & Jones Paul's Range Chardonnay 2012

As with all Payten and Jones wines, this Chardonnay is certainly an expression of site, variety and the two pairs of hands behind the label.

The fruit is harvested by hand from their Tarrawarra vineyard. A slight cloudy appearance which delivers some sweaty funk, nougat, biscuity and underripe peach aromas. A flavoursome palate which is not too dense yet throws out generous lashings of fruit. Some oxidative handling and wild ferment elements add another dimension.

A soft finish to a mighty easy drinking drop. Pour me another glass!

Who: Payten & Jones
What: Chardonnay (12.5% alc)
Where: Yarra Valley
When: 2012
How: $40

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Cooks Lot Pinot Gris 2013

Quite a tasty Pinot Gris here. Duncan Cook uses partial barrel fermentation to good effect with his white wines, specifically his Sauvignon Blanc and now this Pinot Gris.

Distinct spiced pears with ever so subtle apricot and honey characters. The palate delivers plenty of textural interest and a touch of minerality with a great length to finish.

Priced very well once again for twenty dollars and a wine I'd be happy to buy.

Who: Cooks Lot Wines
What: Pinot Gris (13.2% alc)
Where: Orange
When: 2013
How: $20

Thursday 21 November 2013

Stargazer Pinot Noir 2012

Samantha Connew has successfully started her own label and what an entrance she has made. Her first release wines included a Derwent Valley Riesling and this Pinot Noir. 2014 looks promising with the addition of a Tassie Chardonnay to the line up.

One of Connew's last wines at the Hunter Valley's Tower Estate was the very impressive Panaroma Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010. I can see why she is drawn to this patch of dirt because it is from here the fruit is sourced for this wine.

The single vineyard is in Tasmania's Huon Valley with the block planted in 1998. Made at the Bay of Fires winery, 1534 bottles were produced. Hand picked and 100% wild fermented with 25% whole bunches used, not being fined nor filtered.

Funky aromas of stewed raspberries, mulch and moist undergrowth set the scene. A slight whiff of cinnamon spice also pushes through. Interesting and engaging aromas indeed.

The fruit is soft and delicate. A reduced strawberry character washes through. Juicy acid seems to stick as do super fine grainy like tannins. The spice character sits in the background along with the faint touch of oak (30% new French puncheons). There is a definite feminine and masculine thing going on here. Soft to begin with yet some grunt to finish. Precisely the objective the winemaker set out to achieve. A beautifully structured and presented wine.

Available through premium outlets such as Brisbane's Craft Wine Store (end of November), Sydney's Camperdown Cellars, Five Ways Cellars and Bonds Corner Cellars or simply jump online.

Who: Stargrazer
What: Pinot Noir (12.5% alc)
Where: Huon Valley, Tasmania
When: 2012
How: $50

Stargazer Riesling 2013

The best Riesling I have had this year? Umm...Yes!

A creation of Samantha Connew, the fruit is sourced from a single vineyard 20 minutes north of Hobart in the Derwent Valley, the vines were planted in 1993. With a total of 1854 bottles produced, the fruit was 100% wild yeast fermented and left on lees until bottling.

Dangerously fresh, the wine leaps from the glass. Aromas are bright with lime juice, finger lime pulp and white flowers stealing centre stage. The wild yeast fermentation has done its bit and the sexy texture is what lured me in. It's stone fruit like and just hangs on. Simply divine. There is a squeeze of lime juice on the finish with a zingy citrusy thing going on just to give you something else to think about.

Rated on the International Riesling Foundation taste profile as Medium Dry.

Available through premium outlets such as Brisbane's Craft Wine Store (end of November), Sydney's Camperdown Cellars, Five Ways Cellars and Bonds Corner Cellars or simply jump online.

Sunshine, lying under a shady tree and this...yep. Sounds perfect.

Who: Stargrazer
What: Riesling (12.5% alc)
Where: Derwent Valley, Tasmania
When: 2013
How: $30

Monday 18 November 2013

De Bortoli La Bossa Pinot Grigio 2013

Those seeking a drop without much dosh in the back pocket, this may be your thing. And you get change from a tenner!

I must admit, I was very pleasantly surprised with what was delivered here. The wine certainly punches above a $9 bottle.

Pale in appearance, grassy with plenty of textural interest. Pear flavours are rounded off by a citrus twist. A handy length too.

Nine bucks! A bargain.

Chill it down and enjoy with poultry, seafood or on its own.

Who: De Bortoli Wines
What: Pinot Grigio (11.5% alc)
Where: Riverina
When: 2013
How: $9

Payten & Jones Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2012

Another deliciously different drop from Behn Payten and Troy Jones.

Meaty, dirty, earthy with some dried flower characters thrown in for good measure.

A soft wine with grunt factor. If you're up for it, there's lots to like. Some slightly bright acid which softened come day two and three. Yummy plum, plum compote and cherry flavours washing about with just a hint of oak. Good length with plenty to chew on.

Great drinking and good buying for $27.

Contact directly for availability.

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

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Duck Duck Goose Shiraz 2012

People love a bargain and I reckon this has super bargain factor written all over it.

A label from the Barossa Valley's Rocland Estate, all the elements of a good approachable wine are present.

Some sweet fruit to start off, there is an abundance of blueberries and chocolate to chew on. Good use of oak adds some more character. The highlight for me though was the juicy fruit which was soft and super smooth. An impressive length only enticed another sip.

A great deal for $18 rrp but a quick Google search revealed the wine is priced around the $15 at a national large chain outlet.

Get stuck into this. Why not!

Who: Duck Duck Goose (Rocland Estate)
What: Shiraz (14% alc)
Where: Barossa
When: 2012
How: $18

DiGiorgio Family Wines Emporio 2009

Here is another well presented drop from Coonawarra's DiGiorgio Family Wines.

A blend of Merlot (47%), Cabernet Sauvignon (41%) and Cabernet Franc (12%), throw it into a decanter and give it a good thrashing. After being resuscitated with some air, some good fruit characters spring into action.

The wine spent 30 months in a mix of new and old French and American oak prior to release.

I was taken by the dark purple colour. Not short on action, there are plenty of minty, leafy and stalky characters. Toss in some blackberry fruit, cedary and vanillin oak and you can start to get the picture.

There is some fruit sweetness and all is wrapped up with a drying finish and great length.

A good blend which would suit roasted meats well.

The DiGiorgio wines are well priced and this is yet another example.

Who: Di Giorgio Family Wines
What: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc (14% alc)
Where: Coonawarra
When: 2012
How: $23

Cooks Lot Pinot Noir 2013

Quality Pinot is not cheap and whilst there are several in the market under $20 of very good quality, the contest at the price point is heating up.

There is not too much wrong with this drop. It's a solid wine which delivers varietal characteristics.

Damp earth and mulchy characters get things moving. Gentle spice with fistfuls of morello cherry washing around. The finish is soft and fine.

Well priced, it's an easy drop to throw in your glass for a mid week tipple.

Who: Cooks Lot Wines
What: Pinot Noir (12.5% alc)
Where: Orange
When: 2013
How: $20

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Deen De Bortoli Vat 2 Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Get out the bargain bell and bang it till your hands hurt.

For twelve bucks this is a cracker and the Deen De Bortoli Vat range is often discounted below the RRP which makes it an even better deal.

Apples and green melon are the heroes here. The wine is more textural than aromatic, but at this price point, forget all that. It's refreshing and damn easy to throw back. The fruit lingers better than expected on the finish, and I must say, I did lean over to slip another drop or two more into the glass. I reckon you might too.

Drink with sunshine, seafood, chicken or on its own.

Widely available.

Who: De Bortoli Wines
What: Sauvignon Blanc (12.5% alc)
Where: Riverina
When: 2013
How: $12

Sunday 3 November 2013

Raidis Estate 'The Kid' Riesling 2012

A single vineyard Coonawarra Riesling possessing some similarities to a Polish Hill Riesling. To that I refer to the minerality and river stone characteristics which are not hard to miss.

Pretty flowers engage the nose with some lemon and lime pith. There is some slight spiced apple thrown in. Tight acid but a very easy drinking drop nonetheless with a persistent length.

I had this open in the fridge for four days and it didn't budge. I'd be interested to see how it would age.

A good wine to chill out with. Someone say prawns?

Who: Raidis Estate
What: Riesling (12.6% alc)
Where: Coonawarra
When: 2012
How: $19

O'Reilly's Canungra Valley Vineyard 'Karma' Sparkling 2012

O'Reilly's is nestled in the picturesque Gold Coast Hinterland at Canungra. A beautifully restored house the centre piece with vineyards out the front and a creek flowing out the back. A great spot for a picnic.

This sparkling Chambourcin is one of the varieties grown on site. Members from the wine club are invited to come a pick the fruit and then all reconvene to taste the product on release.

I've had Chambourcin in the form of a fortified previously but not a sparkling. The base wine was aged in American and French oak. Quite a soft wine which was light on the fizz. Blackcurrant, a touch of cola and some cherry the highlights but not much else jumping in to support it. The lack of length and depth of character are sadly obvious.

I respect that small scale sparkling production is not cheap, but $35 for this is certainly a stretch. Members receive a generous discount which comes in around $25 a bottle, but still, not enough to make me open my wallet.

Who: O'Reilly's Canungra Valley Vineyard
What: Chambourcin (11.8% alc)
Where: Canungra Valley, Gold Coast Hinterland
When: 2012
How: $35

Payten & Jones Paul's Range Pinot Noir 2012

These wines from Payten & Jones continue to impress me. There is sooo much going on here.

Single vineyard fruit from Tarrawarra in the Yarra Valley, the complexity is impressive.

Straight up there were aromas of burnt sausage, oak char and dried herbs. These soften and morphed into a delicate wine. Loaded with flavour I felt like one peeled off to reveal the next. Typical Pinot traits delivered in the form of cherries and earthiness roll out. The wild robustness which sits in the background was the clincher for me. The approach these guys have to their winemaking is simple and damn I like it.

Super fine tannins with a persistent finish.

I just loved it.

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

DiGiorgio Family Wines Kongorong Pinot Noir 2012

This was a pleasant surprise. Pinot from near Coonawarra? Can't be so can it? I'm happy to say I took the blinkers off.

The fruit comes from Kongorong, just south of Mt Gambier. A slighter cooler climate certainly assists and this Pinot is not too shabby.

Tobacco leaf, dried leaf matter, meat jus all swim around in harmony. It's more earthy than fruit driven but concentrated berry and dark cherry flavours sit well.

There is good depth to the wine which fills the palate. Acid is a little firm but settled over a few days so medium term cellaring will help.

I'd happily sip away at a glass.

My primary school librarian Mrs Keogh drilled it into us not to judge a book by it's cover. Fair enough too as this wine exemplifies those words.

Who: Di Giorgio Family Wines
What: Pinot Noir (14% alc)
Where: Kongorong, Limestone Coast
When: 2012
How: $35

Rocland Estate Barossa Grenache 2012

Aged in French and American oak, this wine delivers a dark appearance and I was hooked from the outset.

Good fruit with blackberries being the highlight. Juicy, deep and concentrated flavours were words that just kept coming to mind.

Certainly not confected, over the three days I had the wine open it continued to shine. Persistent indeed.

A handy Grenache and one I'd be happy to sip on and share with friends.

Medium term cellaring but it's good to go now.

Who: Rocland Estate
What: Grenache (14.5% alc)
Where: Barossa
When: 2012
How: $25

Heritage Estate Frontignac 2012

Heritage Estate is based on the Granite Belt but the winery also has a satellite cellar door in the Gold Coast hinterland at Mt Tambourine.

I picked this up at the Granite Belt cellar door recently when I was in the 'hood. And I might just add, the cellar door is absolutely gorgeous. A former church which has been restored with a long wine tasting bench and a lovely cafe with many treats to sink your teeth into.

This Frontignac is quite slurpable. Straw like appearance with fresh aromas of flowers and musk. It's on the sweeter side and what it lacks in some respects, it suits the purpose to douse the fire of a curry. So I bought one and put it to the test. It worked a treat with a Thai green curry.

Not much acid but who cares. Job done. A waxy finish lingers. Not something I'd drink on its own but not a bad wine to look to when the mouth is burning.

Who: Heritage Estate
What: Frontignac (12.5% alc)
Where: Granite Belt
When: 2012
How: $16