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.