Friday, July 22, 2016

d'Arenberg 2015 The Noble Prankster

Chester Osborn, the Prankster, and his winemaking team at d'Arenberg in McLaren Vale make no fewer than four dessert wines; all subtly different and great value for $20. And, as is always the case, Osborn is not afraid to ignore the usual winemaking parameters  Chardonnay, for instance, is rarely used to make dessert wines but here it has been blended with both semillon and viognier to produce a classic "sticky" with the ripe citrus nose of botrytis and a palate of florals, marmalade and sweet ginger. A delicious dessert in a glass on its own, this would also pair with anything from a lemon tart to tart blue cheese. $20.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

McGuigan 2014 The Shortlist GSM

A deft hand has created this very attractive blend of Barossa grenache, shiraz and mourvedre. It has, as you'd expect; generous, even bold, fruit, with a good splash of spice and well-integrated new and one-year-old French oak. There's some smart packaging here and a very smart wine, too; rich and mouth-filling but nicely controlled. I get the feeling that McGuigan wines of this calibre are more appreciated overseas than in Australia - which is a pity. This is well worth trying. $28.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Oakdene 2015 Ly Ly Pinot Gris

Over the past couple of years, the wines from Oakdene on the Bellarine Peninsula outside Geelong have been very much on my radar for their consistency of quality. This pinot gris, 100% barrel fermented and then matured for eight months in mainly older French barriques, is a case in point. It is offers a lot of pleasure for not a lot of money, is a very good take on the gris style and is extremely food friendly. It is a single vineyard wine with plenty of palate interest without obscuring the stone fruit/tropical characters. Elegant, lively and dry but essentially unchallenging, this would be a lovely drink on the back porch, served lightly chilled with hors d'oeuvres. $28.    

Friday, July 1, 2016

Vickery 2016 Eden Valley Riesling

There is no grape variety that offers better value for money in Australia than riesling; which particularly shines in the Clare and Eden valleys of South Australia. Phil Lehmann, talented son of the late Peter Lehmann, makes excellent examples in both regions under the Vickery label, which pays tribute to arguably Australia's greatest-ever riesling maker, John Vickery, who is a consultant in the making of these wines, The 2016 releases are both excellent, but for me the Eden Valley wine just edged out the Watervale example, although it was a photo finish. It is slightly rounder, maybe a little more adult, while retaining the essential citrus and acid elements. Just lovely. $23.  

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Amato Vino 2014 Teroldego

It would be easy to be flippant and say this is one of the best teroldegos in the country; it is also one of the only teroldegos, of course, with the Italian variety from Trentino and Alto Adige in northern Italy still very much a "new" variety in Australia. Teroldego is known for its savoury and tarry notes and this is on track stylistically; a very good wine in any company from the experimental label of Brad Wehr, the West Australian who is best known for his Wine by Brad releases. This Margaret River wine is a big step up in complexity and interest. It is a dark, intense wine full of mouthfeel: and it blossoms with food. $40.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Brokenwood 2014 Graveyard Shiraz

One of the Hunter's benchmark reds; this new release is arguably the finest Graveyard release over four decades. From a classic Hunter red vintage, it is is a wine of impeccable balance, medium-bodied in the regional style and made using older large-format French oak. Think suppleness, spice and structure. It is a wine that will cellar brilliantly. Great work from the winemaking team of Iain Riggs, Simon Steele and Stuart Hordern. And for those on more modest budgets, the 2014 Brokenwood Hunter Valley Shiraz retails for around $50 and is also a ripper. $250.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Comyns & Co 2016 Merlot Rosé

Inspired by talented winemaker Scott Comyns' time spent working in the south of France, this is one of four debut releases from the 2016 vintage under the new Comyns & Co label. Comyns has worked at Tempus Two, Pepper Tree and Briar Ridge but has branched out on his own for this range; which is made at the Andrew Thomas winery in the Hunter Valley, where Comyns also now works. The label designs - by Comyns' artist brother Angus - hint at the irreverent style of the wines; easy-to-drink and fun. This is made from merlot and is savoury and dry in the Provencal style. A label to watch out for. $28.