There are a bewildering number of wines and ranges made by Larry Cherubino from all corners of West Australia but they all have two things in common: quality and value for money. Now labelled Great Southern rather than Mount Barker, this riesling can often be found for under $20 - which makes it hard to beat. Very floral with bright citrus flavours on the crisp, dry palate, this is a wine designed for immediate enjoyment and would be a lovely post-work soother, or terrific paired with spicy Thai food. With riesling this good it is a wonder the variety is still struggling for popularity. $20. www.larrycherubino.com.au.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
This is a multiple award winner from a Marlborough, New Zealand, winery owned by former Cloudy Bay grape growers and winemakers who favour organic farming methods. It is a delightfully complex and interesting pinot noir with violets and savoury notes on the nose leading on to a palate on which bright red fruit takes the lead with well-integrated French oak and soft tannin structure. A serious wine of immediate drinkability that would be great matched with game meats or mushroom dishes. $45. www.dogpoint.co.nz
Saturday, January 31, 2015
The Leask family of McLaren Vale look to push the boundaries with their excellent Hither & Yon range, which is notable also for its clever colour-coded labels. This is a lovely light and aromatic white for summer, made from the now quite obscure muscat blanc à petits grains grape, which is also known as frontignac and is often used in moscato wines. Low in alcohol at 11.5%, this has aromas of intense musk, rose petals and Turkish delight and a light, crisp and dry palate that tastes distinctively grapey. Serve young. Serve chilled. A fun wine with a point of difference that is worth every cent of $20. www.hithernandyon.com.au.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
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