Friday, November 20, 2015

Shadowfax 2015 Riesling

There are at least half a dozen wine regions of Australia where you'd look for quality riesling before Geelong; the Clare and Eden valleys, the Great Southern, Canberra and Tasmania among them. But winemaker Matt Harrop has come up trumps with this wine; a riesling that features hand-picked fruit from Sutherlands Creek that ticks all the varietal boxes. It is fragrant and fresh, with intense lime/grapefruit flavours on the palate, and it finishes long and very dry with some attractive green apple crispness. A delightful wine for summer enjoyment, with or without food (although it would pair brilliantly with shellfish). Our bottle was empty inexplicably quickly. $26.  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Eldridge Estate 2014 Gamay

Gamay is the grape of Beaujolais, the region of France that produces lip-smackingly juicy red wines that invariably offer immediate enjoyment without any need for cellaring. Gamay is an ideal style for the Australian lifestyle - it is fresh and enjoyable chilled - but only a handful of local producers, Sorrenberg and Two Bud Spur among them, make it successfully. David Lloyd at Eldridge Estate on the Mornington Peninsula, is one of the leading lights in the Australian gamay movement, and this is an absolute ripper; vivacious and vibrant with dark cherry notes, hints of pepper and herbs, and really zingy cranberry acidity that dances a tango on your tongue. Lloyd says it will cellar for up five years but I can't for the life of me see why you'd want to. $40. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Deviation Road 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc is derided by the wine snobs, sneered at by wine wankers and ignored by wine trendoids. But the reality is that a good savvy blanc, crisp, fresh and lively, is a perfect choice for an after-work tipple or summer treat on the terrace. And they don't come much better than this excellent little number from an Adelaide Hills winery that is probably best known for its stellar bubblies. There is plenty of intensity to be enjoyed here with a good balance between tropical fruit salad flavours, lean citrus notes and herbaceous crispness. The finish is lean and clean with refreshing flinty minerality and brisk acid. Forget what the hipsters say and enjoy a well-chilled glass or two. Available nationally and distributed by Negociants. $24.   

Friday, October 30, 2015

Artwine 2014 Grumpy Old Man Grenache

As a grumpy old man myself it comes as no surprise that I loved this lip-smackingly good Clare Valley grenache from Artwine. It is made using fruit from gnarly, century-old bush vines that still produce outstanding fruit in their dotage. This has all the bright, lively fruit you'd expect from classy grenache with dark berry and black cherry flavours to the fore, along with dark spice notes. This is a very impressive wine in its youth, but it should also cellar impressively. Smart packaging. Smart wine. $30. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Paradigm Hill 2015 Transition Rosé

It is the time of year when rosé comes to find; pale, crisp, dry and refreshing rosé for al fresco enjoyment like they do in Provence. From being all but ignored a few years ago, rosé wines are enjoying a new wave of popularity thanks to standouts like this delicious estate-grown and -made wine from the Mihali family at Merricks on the Mornington Peninsula. Made from 100% shiraz grapes, it weighs in at just 12% alcohol and is more interesting than many of its counterparts, having been both oak fermented and spent six months maturing in barrels. It finishes bone dry, as is the current fashion, and would be marvellous with a picnic or paired with Lebanese dishes. It is vibrant and savoury with a crisp acid finish. The complete package. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Zema Estate 2012 Cluny

You never see a bad wine under the Zema Estate label - and this classic Coonawarra blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot offers formidable value for money at under $25 retail. The Zema family are fastidious about their vineyards and winemaker Greg Clayfield has decades of regional experience. Put those factors together and you have wines of real personality. This has seen plummy, spicy fruit spend 14 months in both French and American oak and is a very attractive, easy-drinking style that has enough palate interest and balance to please most red drinkers. $25.   

Friday, October 9, 2015

Clonakilla 2015 Riesling

Tim Kirk has largely built his reputation on shiraz in various guises, and particularly his shiraz-viognier blend, a cult wine that was first a trendsetter and is now a benchmark. The awesome 2014 now fetches well over $100 a bottle. But there is more to the Clonakilla range than just stellar shirazes. Kirk and fellow winemaker Bryan Martin last year released an outstanding pinot noir, and also do good things with viognier as a stand-alone varietal. But for me the star win of the new Clonakilla releases is a riesling - and 2015 was a cracking riesling year in the Canberra region with Helm and Lark Hill, among others, also producing very fine wines. This is the 40th Clonakilla riesling, and also a candidate for the best. Kirk describes it as "a wondrous year" and this is beautifully brisk and flavoursome. He suggests cellaring; I disagree. This is just too appealing in its youth not to enjoy over summer. $30.