Saturday, October 22, 2016

Elderton 2014 Shiraz

A knockout Barossa shiraz from one of the most reliable producers in the region; the Ashmead family at Elderton. Estate-grown and made, this a classic rich and warm style partially made from fruit grown on vines that are well over 100 years of age. This is big and bold, a real prop forward of a wine, but with some clever ball-handling skills. It's a blend of fruit from Nuriootpa, Greenock and Craneford from what proved to be an outstanding vintage. I enjoyed the fruit intensity with dark berry and currant flavours allied to chocolate and vanilla/oak characters. Despite its 14.5% alcohol, it is drinking well now, but experience suggests that Elderton shirazes can cellar for a couple of decades. $34.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Grosset 2016 Springvale Riesling

Jeffrey Grosset is Australia's riesling guru; his wines are always reliably excellent and fetch commensurate prices. They usually sell out within a few months of release. The taut Polish Hill Riesling ($55ish)  is Grosset's flagship, and most expensive riesling by some margin, but this year I prefer the Springvale, a single-site wine sourcing fruit from an estate vineyard at Watervale. This is simply stunning - and certainly more approachable than the Polish Hill in its youth. It ticks all the boxes for world-class Clare riesling with citrus blossom aromas, delightful minerality and structure, length and a crisp acid finish. Chalky, slatey, lemony, or plain delicious. You try to choose just one descriptor. Brilliant. $40.     

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Baillieu 2015 Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay

From one of two estate labels owned by the Baillieu family on the Mornington Peninsula (the other is Elgee Park), this a delightful cool-climate chardonnay that bears the quality imprint of winemaker Geraldine McFaul. This is made from fruit grown on the family property at Merricks North and hand-picked. Gentle stone fruit notes are allied to some cashew aromas while citrus is to the fore on the palate with French oak adding structure but not intruding. There is a crisp, clean finish to this very elegant wine. Thoroughly modern, thoroughly delicious. $35. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Barry & Sons 2014 Clare Valley Shiraz

"This wine reminds me of why I used to love Australian shiraz so much," said my wife. She, and the team at Jim Barry Wines, are spot on. This is part of a new range of wines made exclusively for Coles/Liquorland/Vintage Cellars stores and is by far the standout; a lip-smackingly good fruit-driven shiraz at a very fair price. It has plenty of ripe fruit brio without any rough edges. There are berry and currant flavours, hints of gentle spices, and hardly any obvious oak. It is vital but not over-muscular; rather it is easy to drink - curmudgeons would say unchallenging - but will have widespread appeal as a young-drinking barbecue wine. $25.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Seppelt 2015 Drumborg Pinot Meunier

The realtively obscure pinot meunier grape has been planted at the cool Seppelt Drumborg vineyard since 1966, and is a key component in sparkling wine production, regularly making up 10% or more of the Salinger blend. It creates a fascinating dry table wine in the style of gamay and winemaker Adam Carnaby is delighted with this rare release, which is unashamedly fruit driven and matured in mainly large format older oak. It is a red that can be chilled for a few minutes, like releases from Best's Great Western and Oakridge, and would be a very good choice to match with a spring picnic. Downright delicious. $36.        

Vinaceous 2016 Impavido Vermentino

Looking for a delicious "drink now" white wine that doesn't demand too much contemplation? You've come to the right place. This is made from an Italian grape in a fresh and vivacious style by the "non-traditional" duo of marketer Nick Stacy and winemaker Mike Kerrigan. It is their second vermentino release using from Mount Barker in Western Australia's remote Great Southern region. This is unwooded, very fresh with lively acidity. It is aromatic and pure - like a fruit salad exploding in your mouth. A versatile wine that will come into its own on warm summer days. $22.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Michael Hall 2015 Sang de Pigeon Pinot Noir

Michael Hall is a British-born craftsman who was trained as a jewellery valuer and took up wine later in life. This new release underlines he has taken to his new vocation like a duck to water; an elegant pinot in the style of village Burgundy rather than the heavy metal style that is much in vogue. This is a structured but elegant wine that offers excellent value and features a blend of Adelaide Hills fruit from high-altitude Kuitpo and Piccadilly. Three-quarters was open fermented and 25% barrel fermented with 8% whole bunch adding structure. The blend was matured for 11 months in almost entirely older oak. The end result is bright, crunchy and deliciously drinkable with an ultra-dry red berry finish.