Alpha Crucis is the brightest star in the Southern Cross constellation - and an appropriate name for Chalk Hill Wines in McLaren Vale to use for its ultra-premium range. This is a wine of immense power and concentration with ripe fruit and dark, concentrated notes, but it also comes with a soupcon of sophistication. Hand-crafted using small parcels of fruit, there is a lot to like here and the wine carries its 15% alcohol with swagger and style. $85. www.alphacruciswines.com.au.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Brilliant, but available in tiny quantities, this is made from cool-climate Tumbarumba fruit by the talented team at Canberra's Eden Road winery. It is a high acid but textural wine that has an instant drinkability factor. If you like Chablis you'll love this. The Courabyra vineyard is one of the oldest in the region and produces wines of immense intensity. This was hand picked and whole bunch-pressed direct to stainless steel without settling and fining. Fermenting on solids and 100% malo added the structural steel. I reckon I could drink a fair few of these. $50. www.edenroadwines.com.au.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Frankland Estate makes an outstanding range of individual vineyard rieslings from the Frankland River region of Western Australia; the 2014 Isolation Ridge and Poison Hill are both outstanding, and cellar-worthy, examples. When it comes to immediate drinking pleasure, however, it is hard to go past this ultra-fresh and lively release from the winery's entry-level brand Rocky Gully. Dry with just a few grams of residual sugar, this is pristine with zingy acid and a fabulous match for Thai-style fishcakes. Fun and affordable, this is a delicious summer drink. $18. www.franklandestate.com.au.
Monday, January 5, 2015
A follow-up to the excellent 2008, this new release 2010 bubbly from Kate Hill really shines. This was a favourite with just about everyone at a Huon Valley tasting I did at the recent Taste of Tasmania, captivating with its freshness and purity. It is an elegant and delicate style of Tassie bubbles with delicious vibrancy on the chardonnay-dominated palate. It has citrus notes (it's on the Billecart-Salmon side of the spectrum for those with Champagne tastes) and plenty of length. A blend of fruit from several southern Tasmanian vineyards, it is is extremely enjoyable right now but will certainly develop over the short- to medium term. $42. www.katehillwines.com.au
Monday, December 29, 2014
I loved this wine for its freshness; pristine fruit and crisp acidity. It came out top in a bracket of cool-climate chardonnays in the $20-30 bracket and surprisingly turned out to be the cheapest of them all. From The Lane estate vineyards in the Adelaide Hills this is certainly a bargain. It has delightful stone fruit and cashew nut on the nose, leading to a zingy palate with grapefruit, white peach and tight flinty acid with oak very much in a support role but adding texture. A thoroughly modern wine that is quite delicious and would be great with seafood dishes, barbecued crustaceans or old-fashioned roast pork. $20. www.thelane.com.au.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
The kind folk from the Orange Wine Show sent me a batch of recent trophy and gold medal winners; all of a standard you'd expect from this fast-emerging cool-climate region in Central Western NSW. Among them was this gold winner, a new name to me but from a vineyard that has apparently been planted from two decades. Montoro is situated at 900 metres above sea level, which accounts for the intense black pepper and spice in this really lovely wine crafted by Charlie Svenson and Will Rikard Bell. Think vibrant dark hedgerow berry flavours and savoury sous bois notes. This is unfiltered and unfined, so a little rustic, but all the better for that. A wine with real personality. $38.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
This may well be the best sub-$20 white wine buy in Australia right now. I tasted this new release from Arnie Pizzini's Chrismont winery in the King Valley of north-east Victoria a couple of weeks ago, just prior to its release. Arnie told me the recommended retail price is $18 but you can often find it cheaper, which is just incredible for a luminescent wine that leaps out of the glass with its youthful exuberance. This has all the very attributes of young riesling; it is floral and fresh with dashing citrus notes, zingy acidity and crisp minerality. It can be enjoyed on its own, or with a wide variety of dishes, and is probably best enjoyed while in the full flush of youth. I reckon if you buy one bottle you'll go back for a case. Seriously good. $18. www.chrismont.com.au.