Sunday, October 22, 2017

Vasse Felix 2016 Filius Chardonnay

Filius (son of in Latin) may be the entry-level chardonnay in the impressive Vasse Felix line-up but for immediate drinking pleasure, it is hard to beat. The first winery to be planted in Margaret River remains a national treasure with winemaker Virginia Willcock very much at the top of her game. This has vibrant but elegant fruit characters (think citrus and finger limes), and tight acid backbone. There is a certain willfulness here thanks to nine months of maturation in older oak and battonage treatment. The more expensive estate chardonnay and the flagship Heytesbury also shine from this vintage, but this is the one to enjoy right. $28.  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Elderton 2015 Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon

I was all set to review the very impressive Elderton 2015 Shiraz when I came across this cabernet in a different tasting bracket a couple of days later. If you enjoy bold but brilliantly balanced cabernets then you won't want to miss this. Estate-grown and made, it is full-bodied but 47% of higher-altitude Eden Valley fruit married to Nuriootpa and Greenock grapes ensures it also has some impressive elegance. Second- and third-year larger format French oak add palate interest and structure without overwhelming the quality fruit. Think briary blackcurrants, plums, cassis, dark chocolate and brisk tannins. This is delicious right now and will cellar for a decade or two. Pair this with a roast lamb en croute, or perhaps a rabbit casserole. $34.   

Friday, October 6, 2017

Angullong A Range 2017 Sauvignon Blanc

If anyone was in need of a reminder just how refreshing young sauvignon blanc can be, this new-release from outstanding Orange region winery Angullong comes in to land an impressive left-right combination of freshness and natural acidity. It is an excellent example of unoaked cool-climate sauvignon, with a vibrant floral nose and a melange of citrus and stone fruit flavours on the palate. There is plenty of length and a crisp, bone dry finish. Excellent drinking chilled on a warm afternoon and an amiable companion for seafood and shellfish. I'll give this one 92/100. $20.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Schild Estate 2015 GMS

During the week I had the good fortune to meet with some of the members of the Schild family - and to sample several of their remarkable Moorroooo shirazes, icons that contain fruit from vines that are 170 years old. But the Schild family also makes some cracking, and more affordable, wines like this super-impressive blend of three red grape varieties from the Rhone that thrive in the southern Barossa Valley: grenache (52%), mataro (24% )and shiraz (24%). What I like most about this is its sheer drinkablility. It is a wine with personality but doesn't demand too much attention; it just slips down nice and easy. Look out for vibrant ripe red fruit flavours, softness on the palate and a solid tannin backbone, along with some white pepper spice notes. Match this with a gourmet cheeseburger or perhaps a spring backyard barbecue. $18.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Lane 2016 Beginnings Chardonnay

This is one of those wines with what we describe at home as "an evaporation problem". A couple of us started sipping on this and it wasn't long before the bottle was completely empty. Mysterious. If you weren't paying attention you could easily mistake this for a Macon Villages. Close-planted Dijon clones have produced plenty of flavour and the quality fruit has sucked up new and seasoned French oak that adds structure but imparts minimal flavour. Think bright citrus flavours, white peach, nectarine, racy acidity and flinty minerality. Downright delicious. A luxury Adelaide Hills wine without the luxury price tag. $39.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Yarra Yering 2016 Malbec

So there I was, tasting a range of different wines from the Yarra Valley over a casual dinner at Giant Steps, when this one detonated in my mouth. Boom! Something special; the first 100% malbec produced by this iconic Yarra vineyard and a triumph from winemaker Sarah Crowe, who is producing an outstanding range of wines using fruit from unirrigated vines that were planted in 1969. It is Yarra Yering's boast that they produce "elegant, complex and powerful wines". That's all true here with a wow factor wine that won't be released to the public until May 2018 - and then in tiny quantities. This brambly benefaction showcases malbec that was previously used for blending with cabernet sauvignon and the end result is a bold, assertive package of dark flavours that is at once powerful and charming. If you want some of this rarity I'd contact the winery to be put on a waiting list. Amazeballs. $92.      

Monday, September 11, 2017

Sandalford 2017 Reserve Verdelho

Warmer days are on their way and I can't think of many better wines for enjoying al fresco over summer. Made from a Portuguese grape that plays a key role in the fortified wines of Madeira, this is a fresh and vibrant dry white youngster full of the joys of spring. There are floral and fruit salad aromas on the nose, leading to fresh, zingy palate with tropical fruit notes and zingy acid. Serve this well chilled with maybe a paella, some chorizo or char-grilled squid or oysters. Uncomplicated but affordable and downright delicious. $20.