Thursday, February 11, 2016

Michael Hall 2013 Eden Valley Syrah

There is a fascinating story behind this classy syrah from Flaxman's Valley, a sub-region of the Eden Valley. Winemaker Michael Hall is an English-born jewellery valuer who changed careers later in life to follow his passion. He describes it as "taking a leap into the unknown". He completed a wine science degree at Charles Sturt University and had stints at wineries ranging from Cullen, Giaconda, Henschke, Shaw+Smith, Coldstream Hills and Veritas; along with Domaine Leflaive, Meo-Camuzet, Vieux Telegraphe and Trevallon, before releasing the first wine under his own label in 2008. He now sources fruit from vineyards across South Australia to produce wines like this beautifully crafted cooler-climate syrah, alive with dark fruit and spice, impressive structure and chalky tannins. Only 4060 bottles were made. $48.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Howard Park 2015 Mount Barker Riesling

From vintage to vintage this is one of Australia's finest premium rieslings, rivalling the best from the Clare and Eden valleys. From memory, I also recommended the 2014 vintage. This is an assertive wine made using fruit from Mount Barker in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, which is producing several top-notch rieslings nowadays. This is dry and firm with floral and white pear/green apple and citrus notes with a solid backbone of brisk acidity. An each-way bet that can either be enjoyed now or cellared confidently. $33.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Black Chook 2014 Shiraz

There is a huge market out there for big, bold and macho reds; full of vinous testosterone like teenagers on a big night out looking for action. This is a blend of shiraz from McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek, two regions of South Australia where they can always get their fruit ripe, and it is a red that demands attention. It is cocky, sweet and juicy on the palate, chock-a-block with dark, inky fruit and full-blooded. Not a wine for wimps, but if you love the style you'll enjoy this. And the price is right. $18.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Brown Brothers 2015 King Valley Pinot Grigio

The King Valley in north-east Victoria, once tobacco-growing country, is today proving one of the most successful regions in Australia for Italian varietals like pinot grigio. Brown Brothers, based at nearby Milawa, source a lot of fruit from the Italian growers in the valley and this is a terrifically appealing offering under their 18 Ninety Nine label. Just like the wines of the Alto Adige in northern Italy, this is crisp, fresh, fruity and very quaffable. Excellent value for $18. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Greywacke 2013 Marlborough Pinot Noir

Most of the New Zealand pinot noirs that we see in Australia tend to come from Central Otago, where the style is generally quite muscular. This Marlborough wine is at the other end of the spectrum; more delicate and elegant, but still with plenty of black cherry flavour and smoky exoticism. It is fragrant and unmistakeably pinot, with some bright fruit, savoury hints and lovely structure. It's made by Kevin Judd, the ultra-talented winemaker who helped propel Cloudy Bay to worldwide recognition. $48. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Robert Oatley 2014 Margaret River Chardonnay

A really delightful Margaret River chardonnay from Robert Oatley's Signature Series, this offers remarkable value given that it can sometimes to be found on special for around $20. It is a wine that has the imprint of consultant winemaker Larry Cherubino all over it. The key to all Cherubino's wines is balance and this blend of fruit from several different Margaret River vineyards is charmingly aromatic with fresh white peach flavours, gentle oak and a soft, clean finish. It is a chardonnay that is a real crowd pleaser  - embarrassingly easy to drink. $23.  

Friday, January 1, 2016

K1 by Geoff Hardy 2015 Gruner Veltliner

Of all the new and emerging grape varieties being planted around Australia I am most impressed with the way the Austrian white variety gruner veltliner has made itself very much at home in the cool Adelaide Hills - despite the vines still being extremely young. This is just one of several excellent examples; floral, fragrant, citrus, red apple, slatey minerality and hints of pepper can all be detected in a gloriously gluggable white that is perfect for enjoying late in the day on the back deck, or perhaps paired with some delicately-spiced Vietnamese dishes for a truly cross-cultural gourmet experience. Excellent wine; very good vintage, Enjoy chilled. $25.