Saturday, September 17, 2016

Samuel's Gorge 2015 Graciano





I'd been hearing great things about the wines being made by Justin McNamara at Samuel's Gorge in McLaren Vale and lo and behold a box of samples arrived on my doorstep completely unsolicited - and without tasting notes. All four wines were excellent (I now understand why there is such a buzz about Samuel's ) but for me, this juicy, savoury graciano just edged out more familiar varieties in shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. I love the mosaic label, which, just like the wine shows a lot of attention to detail. Graciano is a Spanish red wine grape that is grown primarily in Rioja and it thrives in warm climates. I loved the combination of sweet fruit and earthiness that this wine displays. $40. www.gorge.com.au.    

Tahbilk 2016 Marsanne


Tahbilk are the undisputed heavyweight champions of marsanne production in Australia, producing cellar-worthy examples vintage after vintage. What I liked most about this wine, however, was not how well it will age, but how brilliantly floral and appealing it is in its youth. Marsanne is grape from the Northern Rhone in France that is often blended, but here it shines as a stand-alone varietal. The grape was first planted in Victoria in the 1860s and Tahbilk has vines which date back to 1927 and are some of the oldest in the world. This is vibrant, citrusy, herbal and minerally and so drinkable right now that I would defy convention and drink it all this summer. $19. www.tahbilk.com.au.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Claymore 2015 Superstition Reserve Riesling


Claymore might not be one of the big names of the Clare Valley, but it is a rapidly-growing business that regularly over-delivers. This is the first reserve riesling that Claymore has produced and the clever touch of consultant winemaker Kerri Thompson is evident. It is a very attractive wine that shimmers in its youth. Think aromatics of fresh-cut flowers and citrus, fresh lemon, lime and green apple notes with flinty minerality and driving acid. It is a wine of great length, delicious right now but also a good cellaring prospect. A classic Watervale wine with delicacy but a strong core; imagine a vinous ballerina. A wine of this purity would pair well with a Vietnamese salad, or fresh seafood. $28. www.claymorewines.com.au.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Yalumba 2013 The Scribbler


A classic Australian red blend of 59% cabernet sauvignon and 41% shiraz that offers sophisticated David Jones drinking at a K-Mart price. Yalumba wines are generally outstanding value and this is no exception, with big and bold Barossa intensity allied to excellent balance. There's fruit power, sure, some quality oak, absolutely, hints of mocha and spice, as expected, but the whole package comes together brilliantly resulting in a wine that is at once powerful but controlled. You don't often find that in the 20 buck price range. Affordable quality. $22. www.yalumba.com 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Domaine Roche-Audran 2014 Cotes du Rhone

What a bargain this is: seriously good certified biodynamic Cotes du Rhone from a respected producer for under $30 a bottle. Made from a blend of grenache, carignan and syrah grown at Buisson, near Vaison la Romaine, by Vincent Rochette, this is wild-fermented and then spends six months in concrete tanks before bottling. The combination of red fruits, brambly characters and savoury notes makes it extremely food friendly. Take the beautiful balance, length and sheer drinkability and you have a wine of style and poise. $28. Imported by DiscoverVin. www.discovervin.com.au.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Oxford Landing Estates 2016 Chardonnay


Wine writers are often obsessed by what is new and exciting. We are looking for the next big thing; an unusual grape variety, undiscovered region or a winemaker doing something different. Consumers, however, are usually driven by price and value concerns, and are happy with a brand they have tried before and enjoyed. Oxford Landing's 2016 white wines fit the bill to a tee; they are bright, fresh, reliable and great value. I enjoyed both the sauvignon blanc and this stone-fruit flavoured, lightly-oaked chardy. Think wild yeast ferments, malolactic fermentation to add creaminess and winery practices that mean it is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Great drinking for under a tenner. $9. www.oxfordlanding.com

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sandalford 2015 Estate Reserve Chardonnay


This certainly has a wow! factor. It is a classic modern Australian chardonnay, beautifully balanced, that can sometimes be found around the traps for under $25 - remarkable value. It is unmistakably youthful chardonnay, but without all the arms and legs often found in such young wines. It is made from 100 % estate-grown, old-vine Margaret River fruit. Free-run juice was given full barrel fermentation in a mix of new and one-year-old Burgundian barriques and was left on its lees for eight months. The end result is a wine that is complex and nutty but with classy stone fruity characters and brisk citrusy acid on the finish leading the way. Delicious. $30. www.sandalford.com