Sunday, February 18, 2018

Yalumba Y Series 2017 Pinot Grigio


A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the Yalumba Y Series Riesling in my wine column in Sydney's Ciao Magazine, saying it was part of one of the "best value wine ranges in Australia". This is another star member of the same team; impressively fresh and vibrant and made in the style of the cheeky grigios of northern Italy. Australians are so lucky that they can buy such stylish wines for a relative pittance. Think wild flower aromas, apple pie and fresh pears on the crisp palate. This wine is wild fermented and is vegan friendly; serve it with a late summer salad or fresh seafood. $12. www.yalumba.com.  

Friday, February 9, 2018

Cape Jaffa 2017 Anna's White Blend

Cape Jaffa winemaker Anna Hooper is not afraid to experiment and this unusual blend of barrel-fermented sauvignon blanc and semillon with aromatic gewürztraminer has come up trumps on the flavour spectrum, producing a fresh, textural wine with hints of fruit sweetness that finishes dry - and is an extremely versatile food wine. Hooper says you can cellar this but I like its cheeky, youthful personality right now. It is vibrant and muscaty and proved an impressive combo when paired with a particularly spicy Thai chicken curry. $25. www.capejaffawines.com.au

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Pike & Joyce 2016 Vue du Nord Pinot Noir


The Pike & Joyce label offers some of the best of the Adelaide Hills at extremely realistic prices. At a time when it can be hard to find a quality pinot noir for under $50 this one made from 100% Lenswood fruit is an absolute bargain. Smart, fresh and extremely varietal, it is an excellent midweek choice for serious pinotphiles given its delicious slurpability factor. That medium-bodied softness makes this new release perfect for enjoying young. Dark cherry flavours lead the way along with sous bois notes and some hints of Asian spice. Delicious. $36. www.pikeandjoyce.com.au.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Schwarz Wine Co. 2017 Chenin Blanc


My wine writing colleague Gary Walsh from Winefront cavalierly dismisses chenin blanc as a serious grape variety, swatting away any praise like David Warner smites boundaries. The Loire Valley grape can often produce dull, neutral wines and seldom offers complexity, but it can, in the right hands, be used to craft fresh, lively thirst-quenching wines that can be enjoyed well chilled. This is one of those wines, delightfully crisp and undemanding for summer enjoyment. Think minerality, ripe green plums and fruit cocktail notes. Dry and energetic; a busy featherweight, with alcohol weighing in at a low 11%. One for quaffing; not analysing. $25. www.schwarzwineco.com.au.  

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Giant Steps 2017 Yarra Valley Chardonnay

Australia produces some of the finest chardonnays in the new world but you'll have trouble finding one that offers a better quality-price ration than this sensational new release from Giant Steps. Aided and abetted by a stellar vintage, winemaker Steve Flamsteed and his team have produced a quintessential bright, medium-bodied, cool-climate chardonnay that just oozes class. Beautifully poised, impeccably balanced, a welterweight with a wicked left. Hand-picked from the Applejack, Gruyere Farm, Sexton, Tarraford and Wombat Creek vineyards and made with minimal intervention, this weighs in at just 13.5% alcohol but has great flavour profile and structure. Indigenous yeasts and large format, mainly older, oak play support roles while 30% malo adds interest without intruding. Simply lovely chardonnay, but the word is out in the industry and it might pay to buy sooner rather than later. 95/100. $36. www.giantstepswine.com.au.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Jacob's Creek 2017 Le Petit Rosé

Sorry wine snobs. This is not from a trendy biodynamic winemaker, it isn't fermented in ceramic eggs and doesn't undergo pigeage by Tuscan virgins. It is, instead, a mass-production rosé from one of Australia's biggest companies - and it offers terrific value for refreshing summer drinking. JC chief winemaker Ben Bryant describes it as an Australian rosé with a little French style. It is bright, crisp and dry and perfect for sipping on the back deck. A blend of pinot noir, grenache and mataro, it is textural, with fresh-cut flower notes, fresh strawberry flavours and bright acid. It "captures the elegant and savoury style of French rosé, with the freshness and purity of Australian fruit," says Bryant. It shone in a blind tasting of several more expensive rosés at our place and proved versatile with food, although it doesn't need it. Available at all major liquor outlet. $17. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Grosset 2017 Polish Hill Riesling

When it comes to both quality and consistency, this is arguably Australia's greatest white wine. As a lover of both rieslings and the Clare Valley, this would be my go-to white if I had just 50 bucks and change in my pocket and someone to impress. The 2017 vintage was superb one in the Clare; I'm seeing brilliant rieslings across the board and this estate-grown, certified organic wine from what has been declared one of the world's great vineyards, once again leads the pack. I left my sample a few weeks and it is now very much in the zone, flamboyantly floral, vivaciously vibrant and palpably powerful. Think intense lime citrus notes, tight structure and ultra-dry acid finish. One of the great vintages and worthy of 98 points. $55. www.grosset.com.au.