Sunday, September 24, 2017

Battle of Bosworth 2017 Puritan Shiraz

An absolute ripper from Joch Bosworth and Louise Hemlsey-Smith in McLaren Vale - a "new wave" red that is all about pure fruit flavours. Made in the "Joven" or "young wine" style of Rioja, this is one of the first 2017 reds to cross my path. Made organically with no oak treatment and no added preservatives, it is designed for early enjoyment and that certainly works. Bright and fresh with dark berry and red fruit characters jostling for supremacy, this is a red that demands very little but delivers a whole lot. Soft and subversively slurpable. $22.   

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Clonakilla 2017 Canberra Region Riesling

Clonakilla is renowned for the consistent quality of its benchmark shiraz viognier, but the Murrumbateman winery is also building a solid reputation for the reliability of its outstanding riesling. For several vintages now Clonakilla has offered a serious challenge to the supremacy of the Clare Valley for top-notch rieslings. This is particularly fresh and zingy with lovely florals and bright citrus flavours ranging from lemon/lime to grapefruit. Throw in some bright natural acidity and tremendous length and you have a dry riesling of real appeal. This will also develop deliciously if you have patience. $38.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Penley Estate 2017 Coonawarra Spring Release Cabernet Franc

There is a definite movement away from heavy, oaky reds to lighter, easier-drinking styles and talented new Penley Estate winemaker Kate Goodman has captured the zeitgeist here with a delicious drink-now cabernet franc (a grape variety we should be seeing a whole lot more of). This was early picked, wild fermented and stayed on skins for almost a fortnight. It is made with zero oak influnce, instead shining a light on the quality fruit. It is low in alcohol at 13% and was made with minimal sulfites. Not what you'd expect from Coonawarra but a bloody beautiful drink with an eye-catching label. Pity about the wax capsule and cork - but you can't have everything. $35.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Yangarra 2015 McLaren Vale Mourvedre

Mourvedre is a grape with several personalities. Also known as mataro or monastrell, it is grown in France, Spain and the United States, as well as in the warmer regions of Australia. Not only is it a key component in GSM blends, it is also widely used in fortified wines, as well as a component of some rosés. Most of the Mourvèdre from the Yangarra estate vineyard at Kangarilla goes into a GSM but limited-quantity varietals are produced in exceptional years. This is a very lively and spicy wine, perfumed, with grippy tannins and extremely enjoyable even in its youth. Kept on lees for 10 months in older oak barrels this is unashamedly fruit driven, unfined and certified biodynamic. Lovely stuff. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Nepenthe 2017 Altitude Sauvignon Blanc

All right you up the back. Stop sniggering about "cougar juice". Brisk, vibrant sauvignon blanc remains a hugely popular wine style with Australian consumers. From a very good vintage in the Adelaide Hills, this new release will find favour with a lot of lovers of fresh, high-acid, fruit-driven whites - and is as good, if not better, than many of its Kiwi counterparts. That's no surprise as Nepenthe has been producing sauvignon blanc since its inaugural vintage in 1997 and has become one of the Australian benchmarks. This has immense length and depth of flavour and is low in alcohol at 12%. Think cut freshly cut grass, Granny Smith apples, herbal notes and a crisp, zesty palate. A great thirst quencher for summer and a terrific partner for oysters, scallops, sushi or salt and pepper squid. $20ish.

Friday, August 11, 2017

John Duval 2014 Plexus

John Duval, the former chief winemaker for Penfolds, goes about his business with a minimum of fuss. That means the John Duval Wines range sometimes flies a little under the radar despite offering some of the best value from the Barossa. This, which can often be found at retail for $35, is a definite case in point; a beguiling blend of three varieties that traditionally shine in warmer climes; shiraz, grenache and mourvedre. Fourth-generation winemaker Duval has taken some quality fruit from old-vine, lower-yielding vineyards and crafted a wine that whispers its magic rather than shouts. The quality French oak plays a key support role in a delightful red of impeccable balance. $40.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Turkey Flat 2017 Rosé

Reliably good year after year, this is, quite simply, one of the best dry savoury rosés to be found in Australia. Made from 100% grenache fruit grown in the Barossa Valley, this has for several years been one of the style leaders as rosé transitioned from curiosity to mainstream. The back label tells the story: "Simply a light, crisp and beautifully aromatic wine that is best served chilled." Match it will anything from seared tuna to a Lebanese mezze platter. $21.