The Riverina Winemakers' Association recently got in touch with wine writers to highlight the significant number of local producers who are succeeding with wines made from alternative grape varieties. From Saint Macaire to Lagrein, local producers are pushing the boundaries. This lovely wine from talented young winemaker Sam Brewer at Yarran Wines particularly caught my fancy. Petit Verdot is a Bordeaux variety often used in blends but performs well in the warmer local climate. Dark and structured with plenty of palate interest. Also look out for the Warburn Estate 1164 2014 Montepulciano and the McWilliam's Family Winemakers 1913 Touriga 2016, both of which also impressed. The Yarran wine is $24. www.yarranwines.com.au.
Monday, June 19, 2017
Looking for a red wine with a little bit of style and class that won't break the bank? This little number from Barossa winery Thorn-Clarke will do the business - and leave you with some change from a $20 note. Estate-grown fruit offers up varietal blackcurrant and dark chocolate notes with some well-integrated oak. With some plum and spice notes bringing support, along with some suppleness and length, this was a particular favourite with my wife, who preferred it to several more expensive Barossa offerings because of its astutely judged balance. Very nice indeed. $18. www.thornclarkewines.com.
Monday, May 29, 2017
Single-vineyard, or single-site chardonnays are all the rage right now, but two of Australia's benchmark chardonnays are blends of fruit from multiple regions. As is the case with Penfolds Yattarna, the Eileen Hardy draws on fruit from Tasmania, the Yarra Valley and Tumbarumba in New South Wales. The blend, which changes from year to year, worked a treat in the excellent 2015 vintage, producing a wine of both style and substance. There are ripe stonefruit characters, lean minerality, citrus crispness and cleverly judged oak. Named as a tribute to the family matriarch, this will probably cellar for well over a decade. An icon that merits 95/100. $95. www.hardyswines.com.
Monday, May 22, 2017
What's old is new again.Yelland and Papps' Second Take label is designed for wines that reflect Old World winemaking techniques rather than those of modern Australia, where cleanliness is next to Godliness. That means a bit of funk; a few rough edges; a bit of individuality. This is made from old vine grenache, a proven performer in the Barossa, with 61% whole bunch, 17 days on skins and wild barrel fermentation. The end result is fresh and youthful with bright red fruits to the fore. Unfiltered, unfined and vegan-friendly, this is a little bit punk, but more The Clash than the Sex Pistols. Not to everyone's taste, but well worth trying.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Global citizen Martin Krajewski is a man with his finger in many wine pies - and with a keen palate to boot. Krajewski, you may remember, worked in partnership with John Duval on an Australian range called Songlines. He recently sold his Chateau de Sours in Bordeaux to multi-millionaire Jack Ma but still owns Clos Cantenac in St Emilion as a well as a share of a new South African venture. This is his "second label" and an outstanding example of new wave Bordeaux. Imported by Robert Oatley Wines, this is a classic right bank blend of merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon that is singing sweetly at this stage of its evolution. Plump and juicy, long and soft with ripe tobacco hints, supple and plush with New World influences, this is excellent drinking and a good intro to affordable Bordeaux. $55. www.closcantenac.com.
Sunday, April 30, 2017
The Ten Minutes by Tractor range from the Mornington Peninsula always offers a choice of some of Australia's finest single-vineyard chardonnays; wines of style and substance that offer extreme drinking pleasure over both the short and medium term. The 2015 wines are no exception and while the Wallis vineyard wine is generally my favourite on this occasion it is pipped by the sublime Judd, a brilliantly poised wine with the flavours and complexity to match its composure. The Judd vines are now well over 20 years of age and delivering quality fruit. From a terrific vintage, this was hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed and naturally fermented in new and old French barrels. A style benchmark; but you shouldn't wait around too long before buying. $68. www.tenmimutesbytractor.com.au.
Friday, April 21, 2017
You don't get much for $10 in your local bottle shop nowadays, but this is a very welcome exception to that rule; a crisp, fresh and food-friendly riesling from the McGuigan family that is one of the best wine bargains to be found right now. The viticultural and winemaking teams have done a great job in turning fruit from broadacre vineyards in the Murray Darling and Riverland regions into a very attractive dry white that offers crisp textures, sweet tangerine/mandarine flavours and just the merest hint of attractive bitterness. Lovely with Asian dishes and exclusive to Dan Murphy's stores.