Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hahndorf Hill 2014 GRU Gruner Veltliner

Take two South Africans who settled in the Adelaide Hills and developed a love of Austrian wine styles - particularly the savoury white variety gruner veltliner - and you have the back story to a wine that has established a big reputation over just a handful of vintages. This is a brand-new release (I believe I am the first journalist to get a peek) that is remarkably pretty and delicate - "like a young girl in a summer dress". It is an aromatic and textural wine with 30% of the fruit having seen older oak, some going straight to stainless steel and some being given skin contact. With the pioneering vines now nine years of age this wine is hitting its straps and offers a very chic, food-friendly option to sauvignon blanc and pinot gris. Just delightful. $30. 
www.hahndorfhillwinery.com.au.         

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Kooyong 2012 Meres Pinot Noir

I am an unashamed fan of the wines of Sandro Mosele, chief winemaker at Kooyong and Port Phillip Estate on the Mornington Peninsula. He has the midas touch with both chardonnay and pinot noir with his wines always standing out in blind tastings. This is aromatic and bright, silky smooth and savoury at the same time; some European sensibilities shining through despite the fruit's origins. It is brambly and complex, elegant and completely beguiling. I was sipping on this after a tasting, savouring not swigging, but the bottle was soon empty. One of three single vineyard pinots in the collection and the most immediately inviting, this is downright delicious and I wouldn't begrudge the price given the stellar quality. I'd have no hesitation giving it 97/100. $75. www.kooyongwines.com.au.     

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Oliver's Taranga 2014 Fiano

I am extremely impressed by the consistency of the wines being produced by Corrina Wright (a sixth-generation family member) and her team at small McLaren Vale producer Oliver's Taranga. This wine, made from a grape that derives from the Campania region of Italy, ticks all the boxes for modern white wines. It is medium-bodied with plenty of textural palate interest, fresh and citrusy with nutty nuances, low in alcohol at 12.5% and punches well above its weight when it comes to price-quality ratio. $24. www.oliverstaranga.com.    


Friday, August 8, 2014

Terre a Terre 2012 Wrattonbully Cabernet Sauvignon

Talented young couple Xavier and Lucy Bizot, both blessed with impeccable wine industry credentials, are making some stunning wines from the under-rated Wrattonbully region of South Australia. Their complex and intense 2013 Terre a Terre sauvignon blanc is among the best in the country and this cabernet sauvignon, made in tiny quantities, could confidently be put up against any label from nearby Coonawarra. From an outstanding vintage, this is just the third cabernet release and it packs plenty of persistence for a wine from such young vines. There is depth of flavour with cassis and spice notes matched by excellent tannin structure. Beautifully poised; very elegant; extremely drinkable. $40. www.terreaterre.com.au

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Toolangi 2011 Estate Chardonnay

Forget any bias you may have against wines from the 2011 vintage; this is an absolutely terrific Yarra Valley chardonnay that sits comfortably midway on the style spectrum and offers superb drinking. Made from hand-picked fruit grown on the Hounsell family's estate at Dixons Creek and vinified at Oakridge by chardonnay maestro David Bicknell this underwent natural yeast ferment and no malo and spent 10 months in larger format French oak, including 40% new barrels. There is some exciting classic stone fruit character here, but also some subtle nuttiness and palate complexity. Classically appealing with an Errol Flynn swagger. $35-40. www.toolangi.com. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ocean Eight 2012 Verve Chardonnay

Mike Aylward is crafting some impressive wines from Ocean Eight on the cool-climate Mornington Peninsula in Victoria and this one in particularly blew me away - an Australian take on village Chablis that is early picked, high in acid and low in alcohol at 12.2%. This is a very clean, linear and refreshing chardonnay with treatment in old oak barrels adding some textural complexity without impacting on the palate, which is long and refreshing. Pale, citrusy, minerally and bloody good drinking when lightly chilled. Great stuff. $48. www.oceaneight.com.au   

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fowles Wines 2013 Stone Dwellers Arneis

Vermentino, fiano, arneis; the wine world is full of aromatic Italian white varieties that were virtually unknown a decade ago, but all three look to hold immense promise in Australia. This is the first arneis release from Fowles Wines in Victoria's Strathbogie Ranges; and it is an offering for those who like their whites with plenty of fruity punch. There's a tropical fruit salad nose with the tropical theme leading on to a palate where it is allied to a strong citrus backbone. This is long, lively and fresh and a very good introduction to a variety that originates in Piedmont and is known for producing floral and crisp wines; although the style can also be rich and textural. $22. www.fowleswines.com.