Sunday, December 4, 2016

Bremerton 2014 Lagrein


We sample an awful lof wines each week, but this one struck a chord with its drinkability; my wife opted to sip on this three nights in succession. While a lot of wine drinkers might not be familiar with the Italian wine variety lagrein it is growing in popularity in Australia and this Langhorne Creek version has plummy, chocolate and earthy notes along with exemplary balance. It is extremely food friendly. Lagrein is a grape variety native to the South Tyrol in northern Italy and is a descendant of teroldego, syrah and pinot noir, among other varieties. It dates back to the 17th century. This new release is quite powerful but with the structure to match. Well worth seeking out, but you might need to contact the Bremerton cellar door. $24. www.bremerton.com.au

Friday, November 25, 2016

Mount Horrocks 2016 Watervale Riesling

The sample bottle, from which I was just pouring occasional sips, is mysteriously empty. "How the hell did that happen?" I ask myself. Only one answer; it was so darn delicious that I drank the entire bottle without noticing. I don't advise anyone to follow my lead, but I can assure you this rarely happens at Chez Dobbin. A couple of glasses of most wines are more than enough. It is a tribute to the winemaking skills of Stephanie Toole that it happened. This is an estate-grown, single-vineyard riesling from riesling heartland in Watervale, Clare Valley. Certified organic, it is a classic Clare riesling, aromatic with vibrant lemon and grapefruit pithiness, linear, slatey and with brilliant acid. It is also delicate and ethereal. No wonder it evaporated. Grab a case for Christmas drinking pleasure. I'll give it 96 points. $35. www.mounthorrocks.com.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

David Hook 2015 Shiraz

Looking for a terrific midweek wine, or something inexpensive to accompany the weekend barbecue? This is one well worth looking out for. Soft and full of flavour, it is widely available for under $20. For the 2015 vintage, winemaker Hook has blended fruit from his own Pothana vineyard in the Hunter Valley with grapes from the Central Ranges (outside Mudgee). He's onto a winner with a medium-bodied, fruit-driven red that has only a smidgen of oak character. Think sweet berries and hints of Asian spice. Drink now and pair with gourmet sausages or hamburgers. A bargain for $18. www.davidhookwines.com.au

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Howard Park 2015 Miamup Cabernet Sauvignon


Take arguably Australia's best region for cabernet sauvignon, throw in one of the best winemakers in the west in Janice McDonald, and add the mighty resources of the Howard Park label and you have one of the best sub-$30 cabernets in the land. Made from fruit grown in the warmer northern reaches of Margaret River, this has traditional cabernet characteristics of dark berry and intense currant flavours, some mild herbal hints and has impressive chewy tannin structure after 18 months maturing in quality French oak. All in all, rather scrumptious and one for lovers of classic styles. I'd pair this with a lamb en croute, or maybe some mature English cheddar. A winner at $28. www.burchfamilywines.com.au

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mount Avoca 2015 Limited-Release Sangiovese

What a pleasant surprise this wine was. First, I had no idea that Mount Avoca had any sangiovese planted in its vineyards in the Victorian Pyrenees, and I certainly had no idea it would produce a wine as impressive as this. This is a very good take on the classic red grape of Tuscany, impressively balanced with medium-bodied savoury fruit and soft tannin structure. The fruit is impressive and the oak treatment, using older barrels only, adds structure without being intrusive. This is extremely food friendly and would pair with a chicken casserole or with rich tomato-based dishes. Just lovely. $45. www.mountavoca.com

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Freeman 2016 Rondo Rondinella Rosé


Brian Freeman grows a wide number of grape varieties on his property outside Young, in the New South Wales Hilltops region, but his passion is Italian grapes, particularly rondinella (a northern Italian grape used in the wines of Valpolicella), which he blends with corvina in a red table wine he calls Secco, as well as for this wine, one of Australia's best savoury rosés. Freeman describes this as "salmon-hued, spicy and refreshing". It is certainly deliciously drinkable in the style of the Veneto, and extremely food friendly. A very good choice for an early-evening tipple on the back porch, or for serving, lightly chilled, with an antipasti plate. $20. www.freemanvineyards.com.au

Friday, October 21, 2016

Bremerton 2016 Betty&Lu Sauvignon Blanc

There is a lot of disdain for sauvignon blanc among wine industry insiders, but it is easy to see why it is such an appealing variety for members of the public. This is a very good example of fresh, zingy and affordable savvy blanc - made by the Willson sisters, Rebecca and Lucy (aka Betty and Lu) at Langhorne Creek in South Australia. If you enjoy wines with bright, tropical fruit salad freshness, lively acidity and plenty of length, then this is an ideal summer quaffer for you. Pure and refreshing, this can be partnered with everything from a chicken sandwich to a seafood platter. Great value, too. $17. www.bremerton.com.au