Thursday, February 14, 2019

Clonakilla 2018 Riesling


While Tim Kirk and his team at Clonakilla are best-known for their shiraz-viognier blends and other world-class reds, the riesling is, for me, the best-value wine in the entire range. Riesling thrives in the granite soils and cool climate of Murrumbateman, outside Canberra. This is fine and lean and immediately appealing with lemon, lime and grapefruit notes, spiky acidity and lots of length. Pair this with Thai or Vietnamese dishes. While I was sipping and savouring my usually restrained wife devoured the rest of the bottle. 
$32. www.clonakilla.com.au.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Tar & Roses 2017 Sangiovese


A beautifully savoury red from Heathcote at a very reasonable price. Sangiovese is to the "go to" Italian grape for wine lovers looking for medium-weight earthiness and balance and this offers those attractive deli notes along with bright, sweet fruit flavours, including dark cherry notes. There are some chewy tannins here, too. Older oak has added herbal palate interest and texture. This would pair brilliantly with calves liver and onions, or a pan-fried fillet steak. $24. www.tarandroses.com.au.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Stonier 2017 Chardonnay

This is the enttry-level chardonnay from Mornington Peninsula pioneer Stonier and my good goodness it is drinking well. If you are looking for a serious "drink now" chardonnay that offers terrific value for money then you won't go wrong here. The 2017 Stonier Chardonnay was fermented in a mix of French oak barriques and puncheons (15% new), for a total of 10 months. Several batches from cooler vineyards were allowed to undergo the acid-softening malo-lactic fermentation with the rest retaining their bright acidity. There are peach and citrus notes here, nuts and nougat, along with vibrant acidity and lots of length. If you share my palate this a real winner. $25. www.stonier.com.au.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Lake Breeze 2014 Arthur's Reserve

Langhorne Creek is one of the least appreciated quality wine regions of Australia; producing impressively nuanced fruit that is widely sought-after by the big boys of the industry. The Follett family from Lake Breeze are among the best producers in the region; and their wines always offer good value. This is an impressive Bordeaux-style blend of cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot and malbec that is right in the zone, although it will comfortably cellar for several more years. Produced in tiny amounts, matured for 20 months in new French oak, this is shining example of Langhorne Creek quality. Stylish enough to take to dinner at the boss's place.$45. www.lakebreeze.com.au.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Pikes 2018 Traditionale Riesling


I left it several weeks before getting to my sample of the new Pikes riesling - because I knew exactly what I would be tasting. You simply cannot beat this Clare Valley classic for consistency and value for money. As 2018 was an outstanding riesling vintage, I expected this to be vibrant, zesty and delicious with lime/lime bite to the fore. I was right, of course. This is one of those wines where it is hard to go wrong. Pair it with barbecued prawns. $26. www.pikeswines.com.au

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Yalumba Y Series 2018 Sangiovese Rosé

Wow! There's some serious rosé fun to be had here at a bargain basement price. This outshone several more expensive rosés in a blind tasting, and is the perfect for choice for summer refreshment with salads, picnics or Middle Eastern cuisine. It's pale and dry with some savoury sangio notes and wonderfully crisp and vibrant on the the finish. This was wild fermented and is out and proud as being vegan friendly. Aromatic, pleasingly fruity and great value for $15. www.yalumba.com.  

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Lillydale Vineyard 2018 Gewurztraminer


Lillydale Estate in the heart of the Yarra Valley has undergone a couple of ownership changes - and several years of neglect - so this is its first gewurztraminer release for a decade. Talented winemaker Nicole Esdaile and Wine Network Consulting are assisting the Chinese owners with the restoration of their Yarra Valley vineyard and brand - and this is an impressive start. It is fresh, vibrant and unmistakably gewurz; with Turkish Delight, pear drop and lychee notes to the fore. There's plenty of length here, and oodles of Asian spice, along with a dry finish. Traditional wisdom says to pair gewurz with spicy Asian dishes, but I reckon this would also work well with cold turkey and stuffing on Boxing Day. Taste this at the Yarra Valley Cellar Door. $35.