Tuesday 31 October 2017
Monday 30 October 2017
Daniel Payne's new venture is Dirt Candy wine. Based in the Hunter Valley, he has recently finished his winemaking degree so his shoulder has been hard to the wheel to release his own label. Payne tells me, "I just want to make quality wines but I'm not aiming at the 50 year old Grange drinker."
The name was derived from his belief that grapes are sweet lollies from the ground - Dirt Candy was born.
Chateau Yaldara is celebrating 70 years in 2017. After a brief hiatus, they have some skin back in the domestic wine game - great to see. Their marketing has been reinvigorated and homage is being paid to the past with these heritage labels rolled out. This Classic Dry White is a no nonsense quaff.
Sunday 29 October 2017
Australian Sauv Blanc is a good drink when done well. Find some from the Adelaide Hills or Orange and you're in business. Here's a weekend pleaser from Chateau Yaldara who have reinvigorated their presence in the domestic market.
I caught up with winemaker Dom Valentine when he was in town recently. We shared a meal and chewed the fat. This release is a collaboration with good friend Clare Burder. Valentine is a passionate winemaker who has a few irons in the fire. This Chardonnay is a beauty!
When discussing how this wine came about, he shared a more animated version of the description below straight from the website.
Clare: ''We were eating tacos in Brunswick one night when I suggested to my friend Dom that I could perhaps convince my father to allocate some chardonnay fruit to a project wine. We'd made chardonnay in the past - beautiful wines with good bones - but for the last decade the fruit had been allocated to another buyer. With the 2016 season looking similar to the ethereal 2005, the timing was impeccable: Dom was looking for new projects and I needed a winemaker experienced with new world chardonnay. We set out to make a wine that would put Whitlands on the map - and here we are.''
I had never heard of First Ridge until wine marketing gun David Cumming sent me a mixed dozen of Mudgee wines to spread the word on the region's diversity. A quick look on the website and I like what I see. The cellar door is a basic yet trendy construction of two shipping containers. Cool as.
Planting of Sangiovese and Barbera started in the late 90's, First Ridge sits 600m above and 10km outside Mudgee.
Saturday 28 October 2017
Friday 27 October 2017
Chef Matt Stone and partner Jo Barrett have accomplished many things in the food world - cook books and cooking shows but a few. One thing they always wanted to do was make a wine. In collaboration with winemaker Dominic Valentine, that next achievement has been ticked off the list. Brilliant Sauvignon Blanc - words I'd seldom utter.
Thursday 26 October 2017
Lagrein is not a variety seen as a flagship for any winemakers in Australia that I know of – not until now. Marcus Hofer of Hofer Family Wines has put a stake firmly in the ground to buck that trend. Focused on Italian varieties out of the Fleurieu Peninsula, Lagrein is his ‘main bag’ as he puts it.
Wednesday 25 October 2017
I wish I could drink all of this to be honest. Feet up with a big glass to get the job done. When these Montalto samples waltz through the door, I know my taste buds are in for a treat. Spine tingling stuff here once more.
Tuesday 24 October 2017
Warramate hitting the spot again. Respect more than deserved for the quality and consistency across the range whilst only charging reasonable prices. Hook in here folks. Quality in spades.
Coonawarra Pinot Noir. Probably one of the better things to do with it is make it fizzy. Pinot doesn't fair that well in the region. A fair drink for twenty bucks.
Monday 23 October 2017
Something a bit different from the winemaker to challenge his customers. Semillon done on the wild side - and done well.
I received a sample pack highlighting 'Mudgee's Red Diversity'. Included was a heap of information including the history of the region dating back to 1858. A list of varieties and the corresponding hectares planted was also shared but it seems Graciano didn't make the cut. I can only assume Vinifera have the only plantings in the region.
Sunday 22 October 2017
Andy Williams and his wife Leeanne have taken the reigns at Hidden Creek. The cellar door has been reinvigorated with a new menu. 2017 was the first vintage with Andy in the winery flying solo after numerous winemaking roles elsewhere. This Gewurz is the first for Hidden Creek and is the first Andy has made as well.
Saturday 21 October 2017
Get outside in the sunshine and embrace your lazy weekend with a glass of this in hand. I say this as rain taps on the roof. Sunshine isn't far away no less.
So approachable. So tasty.
Grenache worth sinking your teeth into. Dense, pools of serenity engulf the mouth.
The back label says, "At a time when Grenache was considered unfashionable, Chester acquired many old bush vine, overgrown and abandoned vineyards." Grenache seems trendy again - one just took out the coveted Jimmy Watson Trophy for the first time - great to see. I love the variety.
Friday 20 October 2017
Thursday 19 October 2017
Wednesday 18 October 2017
Golden Grove's Durif has beaten Rutherglen stalwarts a few times now pipping them at their own wine show. Here's another cracker from some not so typical Durif country.
Tuesday 17 October 2017
My first look at Heslop Wines from Mudgee and I like what I see. Take a whiff and it's easy to get hooked. Well presented too - I do like the wax seal. A sexy touch.
Monday 16 October 2017
Sunday 15 October 2017
If you only had 15 bucks to throw on the counter for a bottle of red, run to this hand over fist. It's a wine I've found in recent years to be one of the best value blends going around.
Ever reliable, here's a wine too often punching above its weight. Great value, it can often be found for around the $15 mark.
Saturday 14 October 2017
Nine bucks they say. It doesn't hold back either. A great little drop for those seeking a penny pincher.
I like the cut of this Semillon. It's the flagship of the three Semillons in the Gundog range. Better fruit parcels and more thoughtful winemaking sealing the deal.
Friday 13 October 2017
The current release is the 2016 but I was sent the 2015. I'm not sure what's going on there but I'm happy to have a look much the same. Grenache from Mudgee. As common as Yarra Valley Durif I suppose.
Thursday 12 October 2017
Hot off the press comes this 2017 release. Owner Brett Hayes' wife only drinks Pinot. Grenache is cheekily known as Barossa Pinot and winemaker Andrew Seppelt has smashed the brief to get the boss's wife drinking the stuff. If you don't rip into a few glasses of this, something just ain't right.
Wednesday 11 October 2017
The PF500 sees the rebirth of the Lowe preservative free organic Shiraz. 500 because the vineyard is 500m above, 500 is the name of the horn clay preparation used in biodynamic winemaking, and a proportion of the wine has been bottled in 500mL bottles.
Tuesday 10 October 2017
Polish Hill River, florals and prettiness with the Watervale. For 2017, I'm leaning towards the Watervale. What a bargain this is for Riesling fans!
Friday 6 October 2017
A few months ago I wrote an article for Grapegrower Winemaker magazine (Coonawarra: Breaking New Ground) highlighting what's new in the region. This release comes after that was published. Wines like these are now putting Coonawarra on the map to a new breed of consumer showing that the region is well beyond a one trick pony.
I'm privileged to see a lot of wine each year. So far in 2017 I've reviewed 463. Some get your attention more than others that's for sure - this pretty number has rocketed to the top of the 'wow factor' list.
Yarra Yering have plantings of vines most others in the region don't. One is Malbec the other Semillon, and they make them work. This is a Semillon Chardonnay blend (78/22) from 25 year old dry grown vines. Winemaker Sarah Crowe spent much time in the Hunter Valley so it's safe to say the Semillon is in safe hands here.
Summer time needs bottles of this chilled hard in your ice bucket, esky or poured generously as you laze poolside.
Thursday 5 October 2017
The vines for the Wild Olive Shiraz are boarded on one side by olive trees running along a creek bank. Certified organic grape growing and winemaking practices, minimal inputs and no artificial herbicides or pesticides contribute to the overall quality of Angove vineyards. 250 hectares across McLaren Vale and Riverland form part of this strong ethos.