Sunday, 29 December 2013

Rolf Binder Veritas Mourvedre Grenache 2012

Deliberately made with minimal intervention, this wine was made using natural yeasts, matured on lees (skins) and was bottled unfined and unfiltered.

A blend of Mourvedre and Grenache (quantities unknown), I spent a fair bit of time making sense of the aromas spilling from the glass. There was just so much to digest.

Distinct ground black pepper, raspberry tart, dark berry fruits and a touch of boiled lolly were coupled with earthy characters and charred oak. Every whiff delivered something new.

Those not keen on pepper and earth may be forgiven for turning this away. But if you are up for it, dig in! The flavours are rich and a good wash of fruit with depth flows through the mouth finishing with some peppery spice delivering an excellent length.

Have with barbequed meats.

A very good deal for $20.

Who: Rolf Binder
What: Mourvedre and Grenache (13.5% alc)
Where: Barossa
When: 2012

How: $20

Domain Day Lagrein 2010

Usually blended away, this Italian variety was made to stand on its own with only 250 cases produced.

The wine is quite savoury with a wash of fruit coming late. Dried thyme, sage and even mint. Some melted chocolate and damp earth also bob their heads up.

The fruit on the palate is light and soft and a good dash of spice dominates.
There is some bright acidity and a drying, moreish finish . A spicy kick lingers well after the wine is down the hatch too.

A good wine and a neat fit for tomato based foods.

Who: Domain Day
What: Lagrein (13.5% alc)
Where: Mt Crawford, Barossa Valley
When: 2010
How: $30

Cooks Lot Riesling 2013

I lined this up with a few Rieslings and it didn't stack up.

Green apple skin, canned apples, white flowers and some lemon presented decent aromas. The palate was clean, crisp and drying. Some textural character with finger lime acid tightness evident but there was a spicy element which just didn't seem to be a neat fit. Green apple crunch on the finish.

You could easily have this with fish and chips, however, the Riesling market is very competitive around the $20 mark and for your hard earned you can do better.

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

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Ballandean Estate Malbec 2012

From Queenland's Granite Belt, this Malbec is part of Ballandean Estate's 'Messing About' range which is based on alternative varieties. Fiano and Saperavi are also included in this range.

I really enjoyed this wine. A variety usually blended away, this effort makes Malbec stand up for the right reasons.

Straight up there were earthy and dry herb characters but it wasn't until day two this wine hit its straps. Juicy fruit highlighted by mulberries, plums and a good dash of spice. A slight whiff of violets making an appearance too. The spice contributing to a good mouth warmth but the mouthfeel is smooth. A generous and moreish length finished a very satisfying drop.

To get the best from it now, decant and slosh it about or hang on to it for a year or two. The wine will easily cellar for a decade.

Would I buy it? Absolutely. One for the cellar.

Available online or at the cellar door.

Who: Ballandean Estate
What: Malbec (14.3% alc)
Where: Granite Belt
When: 2012
How: $35

De Bortoli Vinoque Heathcote Shiraz 2012

This drop took a while to get moving and it was only until day three it got its act together.

Cardamon, black and red fruits and an attractive spice lift. The fruit was concentrated but the acid was hard. Bone dry in the mouth and finishing with grippy tannins.

Not for me.

Who: De Bortoli Wines
What: Shiraz (14.5% alc)
Where: Heathcote
When: 2012
How: $18

De Bortoli Windy Peak Chardonnay 2012

A very slurpable Chardy at a great price. Listed at $15 RRP, you can often see this discounted better than that.

Peachy and tropical fruit with some attractive florals. Good fruit is carried through the wine. There is a smear of buttery oak which adds well to the flavour profile.

In many cases you get what you pay for. In this instance, you get a little more than you expect. A ripper!

Widely available.

Who: De Bortoli
What: Chardonnay (12.5% alc)
Where: Yarra Valley
When: 2012
How: $15

Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache 2012

I've said it before and I'll happily say it again. This wine is like the old boot. Ever reliable and it doesn't miss a beat.

Bright in the glass, white pepper and earthy spice come to the fore quickly. Nicely balanced throwing up some mouth warmth; the stuff you could snuggle up to in front of the fire. I got a sense though, perhaps something was being held back. Considering it has only been in the bottle a year, some more age may reveal this.

All that said, a solid drop yet to let me down. If you like Grenache you'll jump on board with this pretty quickly.

Who: Yalumba
What: Grenache (13.5% alc)
Where: Barossa Valley
When: 2012
How: $20

Domain Day 'One Serious' Merlot 2009

A flavoursome wine but no X factor for me.

Blueberry characters are the hero here and they coat the palate thick. A solid wine which is smooth and those who shy away from the spice of Shiraz would appreciate what is on offer. Taut in some respects with a drying finish, I prefer wines with a point of difference.

A solid wine, yes. Easy to drink, yes. Would I buy it, no.

Who: Domain Day
What: Merlot (13.5% alc)
Where: Mt Crawford, Barossa Valley
When: 2009
How: $35

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Montalto Hawkins Hill Chardonnay 2012

A single vineyard wine, the only sulphur added during winemaking was at bottling. The fruit was hand picked and whole bunch pressed.

A little more golden in appearance than The Eleven Chardonnay 2012, this wine is more broader and giving.

Almonds, melon and stone fruit hit the spot with a polished minerality. A little more oak and juicer fruit in this wine enhance the depth. Beautifully balanced with a tremendously long finish. It's as though the fruit just floats on your tongue.

I enjoyed this wine more than the The Eleven though both are impressive expressions of Chardonnay.

Who: Montalto
What: Chardonnay (13.3% alc)
Where: Mornington Peninsula
When: 2012
How: $55

Ridgemill Estate Riesling 2013

Riesling is certainly not a variety you'd assume would prosper on the Granite Belt but winemaker Peter McGlashan is certainly not afraid to challenge the norm and try new things. He came across a patch of Riesling and hasn't looked back.

This 2013 is his first crack at the variety and if this is the start, he is ready to scale some lofty heights.

Citrusy with white flowers, the wine is quite textural yet clean and pure. Flavours are persistent with a squeeze of lime rushing in right at the death, something which I thought was fantastic.

Very well priced and something you could wash your Thai dish down with or just drink it on its own to quench your need for Riesling.

I'd be most interested to see how this would age in five and ten years. I guess time will tell.

Available at the cellar door, online or at Craft bottleshop in Brisbane.

Who: Ridgemill Estate
What: Riesling (11.5% alc)
Where: Granite Belt
When: 2013
How: $18

Ballandean Estate Viognier 2013

An interesting wine this, simply because it is not an 'in ya face' style Viognier.

Florals, honeysuckle and white flower aromas stand aside for a waft of apricot skin. Dried apricot flavours on the palate move to a furry type grip and slippery finish. There is some mouth warmth.

Good palate weight and very easy to drink with a length just hanging around longer than expected. Serve with lunch on a hot day with anything from sushi to chicken to salads.

Who: Ballandean Estate
What: Viognier (13.7% alc)
Where: Granite Belt
When: 2013
How: $22

Magpie Estate 'The Fakir' Grenache 2010

After a few drinks you'd hate to mispronounce the name of this wine, but that's precisely the aim of the game I'm lead to believe.

Magpie Estate wines are made by Rolf Binder with the focus on Rhone styles. The fruit is sourced from a number of Barossa valley growers.

This Grenache didn't waste any time to get going. Blackberry and blackcurrant, a gentle dash of pepper and dried spice moved to some leather and a touch of oak.

Despite the 14% alcohol, the wine was softer than expected. Supple fruit producing a wine ready to drink in the next few years.

Day two delivered a wine which moved away from the fruit driven style to more of a savoury type with a sprinkling of dried thyme characters.

A handy wine and well priced which I would recommend.

Who: Magpie Estate
What: Grenache (14% alc)
Where: Barossa
When: 2010
How: $25

Shottesbrooke Estate Shiraz 2011

I dig this. For eighteen bucks it's worth a look.

Meaty and bold, blue and red fruits move about harmoniously. Unmistakable earth and spice lurk with intent too.

The fruit washes through the mouth well only to ride a wave of peppery spice rushing back. A long soft finish rounds out a great little wine.

Readily available. Get amongst it!

Who: Shottesbrooke
What: Shiraz (14.5% alc)
Where: McLaren Vale
When: 2011
How: $18

Montalto The Eleven Chardonnay 2012

This single vineyard wine is named after the oldest eleven rows of Chardonnay on the north facing vineyards.

I tasted this alongside the Hawkins Hill Chardonnay 2012 which was an interesting exercise. Of the two, this wine appeared a more leaner and refined style compared to the Hawkins Hill which was more broader on the palate.

The only sulphur added during winemaking was at bottling. The fruit was hand picked and whole bunch pressed.

Quite delicate with creamy, peach and nutty characters. There is an attractive aromatic funk and textural goodness in the mouth. Linear on the palate, the flavours are nicely balanced and long. Great consistency from the nose to the palate.

The winemaking style is quite interesting and although won't go into the 'trial' techniques used by winemaker Simon Black, it's worth checking out the website.

Moreish and easy to sip away.

Who: Montalto
What: Chardonnay (12.7% alc)
Where: Mornington Peninsula
When: 2012
How: $55

Monday, 9 December 2013

Domain Day "G" Garganega 2011

This is the first Australian Garganega I have tasted and I could happily have plenty more if they are made like this.

Those who have had Soave previously would have had a taste for the grape as it makes up at least 70% of the wine (as per Vinodiversity - thanks Darby!)

In Australia there are only a handful of producers making Garganega with Domain Day being the first to plant it. Only 270 dozen of the 2011 were made.

Lots of tropical zip to this wine. Dried pineapple, pears and even a sherbety kick. After some time in the glass some baked apple and spiced characters seep through.

What struck me was how the minerality on the mid-palate just sticks.

A great summer option! Chill it down and pass the prawns.

Who: Domain Day
What: Garganega (12.5% alc)
Where: Mt Crawford, Barossa Valley
When: 2011
How: $22

De Bortoli Sacred Hill Chardonnay 2013

It is easy to scoff at a sub ten dollar wine and assume it is below par. Granted there are too many that fall into that category yet there are still plenty of shining lights. Take this Sacred Hill Chardy...

For $7 it is pretty damn good drinking and quite often the Sacred Hill range is discounted beyond this RRP which makes it even better value.

Tropical and stone fruit characters run riot with generous lashings of fleshy peach. There is some oak present but there is enough fruit there to override that. To my surprise there was some very good textural interest which leads to an impressive length.

A wine hard to ignore considering what you get for your dollar. This is most certainly a bargain worth getting your hands on.

Who: De Bortoli Wines
What: Chardonnay (12.5% alc)
Where: Riverina
When: 2013
How: $7

Yelland & Papps Sete Di Vino 2012

Well here's a blend you won't run into often and there is certainly plenty going on. The blend consists of 29% Lagrein, 27% Dolcetto, 24% Barbera and 20% Primitivo.

Stewed fruit, boot polish, earth, sarsparella even a slight dried flower perfume.

The palate is soft and then unleashes an abrasive side. Gutsy then delicate. Faint sweetness then drying. Lots going on.

I found it quite intriguing as there was plenty to offer. Initially only a blend of Lagrein, Dolcetto and Barbera, the Primitivo was thrown in to add some guts and X factor. Mission accomplished.

Decant to refresh the wine and enjoy.

Who: Yelland & Papps
What: Lagrein, Dolcetto, Barbera, Primitivo (13% alc)
Where: Barossa
When: 2012
How: $20

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Yalumba The Strapper 2012

Gee this is a reliable drop year after year.

A blend of 40% Grenache, 35% Shiraz and 25% Mataro all from the Barossa Valley, the fruit was separately fermented in oak and some stainless steel before aging for nine months in varying types of French and Hungarian oak.

The fruit punches well through here with an abundance of forest fruit flavours. Roasted and barbequed meat, black fruit and savory spice characters all add to a delightfully easy drinking drop. Some gentle pepperiness lingers on a fine and soft finish.

Well blended and the price is right. Simply, a solid wine which won't disappoint.

Who: Yalumba
What: Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro (13.5% alc)
Where: Barossa Valley
When: 2012
How: $20

Yalumba Roussanne 2012

From the Eden Valley, this is the first release of a straight Roussanne varietal from Yalumba.

Wild fermented in old oak, pears, citrus peel, stone fruit and flowers walk to a neat beat. Good weight with a creamy type texture. Flavours linger large, long enough for you to have something to think about.

The wine was still kicking along well after a few days. Aging potential here indeed.

A thumbs up from me and something worth considering given the opportunity.

Who: Yalumba
What: Roussanne (13.5% alc)
Where: Eden Valley
When: 2012
How: $25

Monday, 2 December 2013

Meerea Park Hell Hole Shiraz 2011

A wine to savour.

The vines were planted in the 1960's and the fruit was hand harvested. Fermentation took place in open vats and 40% new French oak was used for 22 months.

Some beef jus, red fruits, five spice, and olives. Sleek, the wine softened furthermore over three days. I really liked the fruit on offer. A very moreish length which was fine and supple.

The two words which just kept singing out to me were refined and persistent.

Although approachable now, further time in the bottle will see it mesh together furthermore. Stick it on the shopping list.

Who: Meerea Park
What: Shiraz (13.5% alc)
Where: Hunter Valley
When: 2011
How: $54