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
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.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
The durif grape, also sometimes known as petite syrah, has a cult following among aficionados of bigger-style reds, and thrives in warm climes of Rutherglen in north-east Victoria. This is a more elegant durif than many of its counterparts, the result of a cooler vintage. It has plenty of intense fruit flavours but rather less weight than is the case in warmer years. Medium-bodied and spicy, this is a soft and approachable red that offers something just a little bit different. Try pairing it with a venison goulash. $35. www.stantonandkilleenwines.com.au.
Friday, July 4, 2014
Sometimes you come across a wine and food matching so sublime that it takes your breath away. So it was with this delightful sauvignon blanc crafted by Geraldine McFaul paired with some Will Studd Brillat Savarin cheese. Sauvignon blanc thrives in the cool maritime climate of the Mornington Peninsula and this one hits all the right notes. It's had all the wine-making bells and whistles; whole bunch pressing and barrel ferment, adding texture and palate interest without impinging on the fruit purity. Lovely stuff. $35. www.willow-creek.com.au.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Former Domaine Chandon winemaker Matt Steel is doing some excellent work at Medhurst in the Yarra Valley. First planted by owners Ross and Robyn Wilson in 2000, the vineyard is now producing some excellent red wines, with the 2012 shiraz and pinot noir also outstanding. This is delightful cool-climate cabernet, intensely purple in colour with a panoply of red and black fruit characters on the palate, hints of Asian spice mix and some judicious oak. Well-balanced and with plenty of power, this is well worth seeking out for those who prefer finesse in their reds rather than brute force. $30. www.medhurstwines.com.au.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Michael Kerrigan is the vastly experienced winemaker at Hay Shed Hill in Margaret River and his friend Gavin Berry is the long-time winemaker at West Cape Howe. Both have decades of experience and make the K+B wines as a diversion. This wine is made from fruit grown on 40+ year-old vines on the Langton Vineyard at Mount Barker in the Great Southern region, which is fast becoming one of Australia's best sources of riesling. This is a classic Australian dry riesling; intense with lashings of citrus and minerality, along with some impressive precision and a great acid backbone. It is wonderfully thirst-quenching and will probably age well, too, although my guess is most of it will be consumed young. It would be a delight with a Thai banquet. $30. www.kerriganandberry.com.au.
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Take a pair of high-flying legal eagles who turned wine from a hobby to a mini industry and quickly built a reputation for high-class Mornington Peninsula pinot and you have Hurley Vineyard. The brainchild of judge Kevin Bell and solicitor Tricia Byrnes, Hurley Vineyard has over the past decade emerged as a beacon of quality single-site pinots made with tremendous care and affection. In 2012, a cracking vintage, all three vineyards; Garamond, Lodestone and Hommage, shone. While the Garamond and the Hommage will cellar brilliantly, the Lodestone stood out for me for current drinking with a its bright dark fruit, judicious oak and smooth lusciousness on the palate. I'm not afraid to admit that my bottle simply evaporated. Be quick, because there are only 300 cases of each wine made. $70. www.hurleyvineyard.com.au.