Tuesday 31 January 2017

Zema Estate Cluny Cabernet Merlot 2013

Solid and reliable. Has there ever been a bad Cluny?

A delicious blend here with a few drops of Cabernet Franc and Malbec tipped in for good measure and aged in both American and French oak.

Soumah Cabernet d'Soumah 2015

Sleek, bright fruit, savoury twist, bloody delicious.

Monday 30 January 2017

TeAro Two Charlies GSM 2014

Good all round drinking. I could share a couple of glasses with ease. A 60/20/20 Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro blend, this is driven by savoury appeal.

Saturday 28 January 2017

Schild Estate Edgar Schild Reserve Grenache 2014

I had the opportunity to walk around many of the Schild Estate vineyards prior to tasting the wines at the cellar door. It was a great experience with fabulous insights from Michael Schild (chief viticulturist with a killer tash).

Zema Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

An ever reliable producer and this new release is solid once again. Classic Coonawarra in spades.

Trofeo Estate Amphora Chardonnay 2015

Fermented and aged in 100% Amphora - not many Australian Chardonnays can boast that point of difference.

Soumah Brachetto d'Soumah 2016

A little known Italian grape known to these shores. There are only a few plantings of it in Australia with this fruit sourced from the King Valley not surprisingly - there's lots of Italian there.

Thursday 26 January 2017

Schild Estate Ben Schild Reserve Shiraz 2013

Schild Estate continue to impress. The quality delivered here for the price is impressive. Another ten dollars could be added and you wouldn't blink.

Shaw Vineyard Estate Riesling 2016

Winemaker Graeme Shaw says the 2016 vintage in the Canberra region was brilliant. This Riesling is littered with lemongrass and limes with plenty of delish factor.

Kay Brothers Griffon's Key Grenache 2015

A savoury style of Grenache, easy to see kid gloves have been used here from the outset. This oozes delicate appeal.

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Coonawarra Vignerons Cup 2017

Two weeks ago I was privileged to MC the VIP marquee at the Coonawarra Vignerons Cup. Nowhere else in the world would you have a bigger choice of Cabernet for breakfast – or a myriad of other whites and reds for that matter. Such a spread of food and wine at Flemington would easily fetch $500+ a ticket. 

But the most appealing part of the day was the absolute sense of community among all guests – 728 packed in the VIP marquee. Winemakers, wineries, locals, trade and guests from as far as Perth, Broome, the Gold Coast and Tasmania all made the trek to embrace a fantastic day. A large number from Victoria crossed the border, too. Some have been coming for years. I met one guy who has been to 17 back to back. Many didn’t see a horse run. Nor did they care. It’s a day about the people who make this region great. Tickets for last year’s event sold out in December 2015 and this year's Cup was sold out in November last year.

Kay Brothers Basket Pressed Mataro 2015

Two varieties I was keen exploring more of on a recent trip to the Barossa (and a quick stop in McLaren Vale) were Grenache and Mataro. I'm pleased I ducked in here to Kay Brothers before heading to the airport - the Basket Pressed Grenache was on song and so too was this Mataro.

Monday 23 January 2017

Jim Brand Family Reserve Cabernets 2013

A great story here. Brand's Laira sold out in the mid 90's but the family has set out to re-establish itself under the now Jim Brand label. Some smart wines have already been produced such as the Glenroy Shiraz and the Silent Partner Cabernet Sauvignon.

This Family Reserve Cabernet blend is made for the long haul. It's well worth tracking down and sticking in a dark place for a while. With all the hallmarks of a classic Cabernets, it's measured and certainly has a charm about it.

TeAro Estate Minnie & Elsa Pinot Grigio 2016

A good drink delivering plenty of satisfaction. Whilst is doesn't complete the Pinot Gris brief to a T, you'd have no qualms sipping away at this in the shade of a tree whilst picnicing.

Almost golden straw appearance, poached pear aromas steal the show. Good weight and texture through the mid palate which delivers stewed green apple and crunchy apple like acidity to finish.

Drink now.

87/100 - Good

Region: Barossa
RRP: $26
Source: Sample


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La Bise The Kiss Tempranillo 2014

Pizza night running at you here. A terrific food wine - anything with a tomato based sauce I reckon

Soumah Chardonnay d'Soumah 2016

Barrel fermented with wild yeast and matured for a further nine months.

Expressive with a bit of funk, a chord of citrus fruit runs up the middle. A touch of pith, some textural feels tickle the taste buds adding some depth and weight. That weight drags down the vibrancy which seems to be a tad smothered. Green apple acidity clings to the mouth to finish.

I'd have a glass or two.

Drink now to three years.

89/100 - Good+

Region: Yarra Valley
RRP: $24
Source: Sample


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Saturday 21 January 2017

Kay Brothers Basket Pressed Grenache 2015

Big love here! And it's not weighty on the hip pocket either. I'd buy a few easy.

Trofeo Estate Amphora Pinot Gris 2015

Trofeo Estate is the largest user of amphora in the southern hemisphere - I love learning little bits of info like that. All the amphora are imported directly from Tuscany too. The wines are 100% matured in Terracotta Amphora - oak is pushed to the side.

Soumah Tutto Bianco d'Soumah 2016

A new range of wines from Soumah sitting below their Single Vineyard range.

Tutto Bianco translates to 'all our whites' and is a field blend of five varieties - Savarro, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Viognier. A small portion saw barrel fermentation.

Robert Stein Reserve Riesling 2016

A 100% single vineyard wine from 40 year old vines. Offering great drinking now, there's years in the bag for those interested in aged Riesling.

TeAro Estate Iron Fist Grenache 2014

Grenache and new oak have never really been good bed fellows, and here's an example why.

Whilst the fruit shows promise the new oak steals the limelight and I can't shake it.

Aromas of red fruits with lillypilly influences but the oak wrestles at the aromas and then stings the flavour profile. Time in the glass reveals some neat blue fruit but the horse has bolted.

I had a good chat with Todd Rowett about this wine and I'd be interested to see where he takes it for 2017 and beyond. All old oak too I'm hoping.

Only a 100 cases were produced.

Would I buy it? No chance. I'd prefer others.

Region: Barossa
RRP: $35
Source: Cellar Door Tasting


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Friday 20 January 2017

Tim Smith Wines Mataro Grenache Shiraz 2015

A 65/25/10 blend with expressive aromas of purple flowers, clove, five spice and even a faint smell I can only liken to nanna's cupboard. Camphor like.

The Lane Block 14 Basket Press Shiraz 2015

Cool climate Shiraz taking you to your happy place.

Thursday 19 January 2017

Tim Smith Wines Bugalugs Shiraz 2016

Cool name. Great barbecue drinking.

A Barossa Shiraz with 8% Eden fruit plus a drop of old vine Mataro for good measure.

Tim Smith Wines Eden Valley Viognier 2016

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Robert Stein Riesling 2016

This is a super impressive Riesling. Tastes like Clare but straight outta Mudgee.

Sunday 15 January 2017

Tim Smith Eden Wines Valley Riesling 2016

The fruit is sourced from a single vineyard planted in 1922. Tim Smith has developed a number of relationships with small growers securing quality fruit. 

Yalumba Block 2 Grenache Rosé 2016

So I'm told the Queensland sales team made a call to produce a high end Rosé to be sold on premise. An idea with merit, the winemaking team whipped into action and delivered this first release coming from the old bush vines from the Tri-Centenary vineyard.

Running With Bulls Verdejo 2016

This is the first release of this wine although it is the third time it has been made for release. The winemakers had a play with it on the previous two occasions and that fruit eventually was blended away into other wines - waste nothing a chef colleague keeps telling me.

Sunday 8 January 2017

Sew and Sew Contour Series Syrah 2015

These Sew and Sew wines continue to impress. Not only are the labels eye catching, the contents supersede initial impressions. this Syrah would be my pick of the lot.

d'Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2014

Terrific drinking. A reliable go-to.

Saturday 7 January 2017

Jim Brand Glenroy Shiraz 2013

Glenroy is on the northern outskirts of the Coonawarra region. The fruit for this wine comes from a small vineyard.

Those who have been to Coonawarra would attest that the region is dead flat. The vineyard providing the fruit for this wine is seen as one of high-elevation - just one metre higher than the rest of Coonawarra. That's a fact - don't laugh!

Friday 6 January 2017

Soul Growers Slow Grown Shiraz 2014

This screams 'hello Friday' from the rooftops. Kick back and unwind with this to soothe the soul (pardon the pun).

A wine which reeks of traditional Barossa charm - no fining or filtration, 50% new French oak, plus a big ass heavy bottle you can re-use to get some bicep and tricep definition the next morning.

Jim Brand Silent Partner Cabernet 2013

Right in the slot of a great drinking Coonwarra Cabernet.

Patina Scandalous Riesling 2014

Sweetness overpowers this for mine. 18 grams of residual sugar per litre in fact.
A whiff of what seems something like musk, white florals and a sweetened canned pear. White muscat grape feels through the mouth. Not a great deal of interest though it's cleansing.

Take it or leave it but I'd struggle to drink a glass.


Region: Orange
RRP: $25
Source: Sample


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Thursday 5 January 2017

Sew and Sew Sashiko McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015

Big love for the density and smooth delivery here. These Sew and Sew wines continue to impress.

The Lane Vineyard Block 5 Shiraz 2015

The Lane's entry level Shiraz. Block 5 gives the impression it is a single vineyard release but it's a few blended together. This wine is good going but the difference between this and the Block 14 is vast although the Block 5 still holds its own.

JJ Hahn Homestead Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

This was much more settled on day two of tasting - a year or two in bottle will help it settle into a groove.

Wednesday 4 January 2017

d'Arenberg The Money Spider Roussanne 2016

First produced in 2001, d'Arenberg can be said to do 'different' well. This Roussanne falls into that slot and those seeking an adventure wouldn't do themselves any harm having a look here.

Patina Rosé NV

A non-vintage Rosé - I'm not completely sold on the concept I must admit. Using older parcels seems to weigh this down just a little for me. That vibrancy I'm looking for just isn't there. It's almost as though it wants to wear the ballet shoes but is stuck in concrete boots.

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Sew and Sew Sashiko Fiano 2016

A whiff and a taste and my interest has been piqued.

There's plenty going on here to please - generous fruit aromas and chalky feels in the mouth.

Dowie Doole Moxie Sparkling Shiraz NV

What's Christmas without sparkling Shiraz? But that is part of the identity issue facing this style of wine - for some, sparkling Shiraz only seems to make an appearance at Christmas time. And how disappointing it is that it's pigeon holed to be best enjoyed in such a narrow window of the year? Sparkling Shiraz couldn't be any more versatile - drink as an aperitif, with a meal, or even serve with dessert - not many wines can boast such appeal.

Tim Adams Riesling 2016

Before picking up some Thai take-away for dinner, I couldn't resist but to grab a bottle of Riesling. I found this in the bottle shop fridge for $19 - the quality of Australian Riesling at very reasonable prices cannot be disputed. This oozes bargain factor deluxe.

Monday 2 January 2017

Tellurian Wines Nero d'Avola 2015

Planted in 2011, 50% of the fruit comes from the Chalmers vineyard. Tellurian plan to produce 100% of the fruit in years to come.

Red Hill Estate Prosecco NV

A new addition to the Red Hill Estate range - this Prosecco was released only six days before I tasted it at the cellar door.

If you're looking for something that's crisp, refreshing, low on complexity but high on the enjoyment, perhaps this could be your drink.

White florals, green apple. Quite light in the mouth but clean and fresh. Chill hard and enjoy in the sun.

Drink now.

87/100 - Good

Region: King Valley
RRP: $25
Source: Cellar Door tasting


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