Monday, May 22, 2017

Yelland & Papps 2016 Second Take Grenache

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. 
$40. www.yellandandpapps.com.au.  

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Clos Cantenac 2012 Petit Cantenac St Emilion Grand Cru

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

Ten Minutes by Tractor 2015 Judd Vineyard Chardonnay

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

McGuigan 2016 The Plan Riesling

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. 
$10. www.mcguiganwines.com.au.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Casillero del Diablo 2015 Riserva Cabernet Sauvignon


Take a look at supermarket shelves in England or the US and you'll find an increasing number of high quality, but affordable, red wines from both Chile and Argentina. Wines like this one are fast taking over the former role of Australia at the lower price points; producing flavoursome, uncomplicated value for money. This is one of a range of well-priced wines from Casillero del Diablo, the Chilean offshoot of the massive Spanish wine conglomerate Concha Y Toro. It is soft and smooth, a great barbecue wine, and can be found at Dan Murphy's stores for a silly $13.99. A warning shot local producers should heed.   

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Yard 2016 Riversdale Riesling


This week marks the 10th birthday of Larry Cherubino Wines as a stand-alone entity. If you are not familiar with the name you should be. Cherubino produces several ranges of wines at various price points that share two things in common: extreme quality and outstanding value. It was hard to choose which of several Cherubino wines to feature here; the 2015 The Yard Shiraz from the same Frankland River vineyard is also a standout, as is the Cherubino 2015 Pemberton Sauvignon Blanc. Cherubino has access to some of the finest fruit across Western Australia and makes the best possible use of it. This is an absolutely outstanding dry riesling that has great purity and a most appealing nose. Citrus flavours lead the charge here with rapier-like acidity, limestone minerality and gentle hints of Asian herbs. Simply delicious right now. Try pairing it with some fresh salmon. 
$25. www.larrycherubino.com.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Heartland 2015 First Release Malbec


A new small-batch release from Ben Glaetzer and his talented Heartland team who hope that long-time underachiever malbec is about to strike a chord with Australian drinkers. Wines from Cahors and Argentina have enjoyed some success here, but very few home-grown malbecs have enjoyed sales success. This is 100% malbec from Langhorne Creek, made in a style midway between Cahors and Mendoza, using only new oak. It is inky and black (think vibrant fresh blackberries plucked from a hedgerow), but softer than a baby's bottom on the palate. It is on the bigger side of the spectrum at 14.5% alcohol and would be seen to best advantage paired with roasted red meats; a hearty steak or some lamb chops, perhaps. 
$50. www.heartlandwines.com.au.