The Bellarine Peninsula is one of Australia's most under-rated wine producing regions with the best wines among the finest cool-climate offerings to be found anywhere. With 100 % pinot noir from the Geelong region, this is a wine that leaps out of the glass with its drinkability; it has all the appeal of young Labrador puppy and just wants to be loved. This has undergone wild yeast fermentation and a small portion of whole bunch material has been used to add structure. Everything is nicely in balance; there is a perfumed bouquet with red berry and Asian spice notes followed up by a palate with bright fruit along with savoury hints and plenty of length. Fruit-driven, and all the better for that, I'm happy to score it 93/100. $35. www.oakdene.com.au
Friday, September 25, 2015
It is not so long ago that chardonnay/semillon blends were all the rage. Somewhat strangely they appear to have fallen from favour, but wines like this underline how well the combination can work. This is one of a number of cracking 2015 whites from Hunter Valley family winery Tyrrell's; a blend of 60% chardonnay and 40% semillon that is both aromatic and textural. A delight to drink. There is bright, sweet fruit here, French oak playing a support role and some crisp, fresh acid on the finish. This wine is mainly available to the winery's Private Bin club members but if you can't track some down there is a very good alternative in the 2015 Part & Parcel blend, a mix of semillon, chardonnay, gewurztraminer and verdehlo has that immediate aromatic appeal. $30. www.tyrrells.com.au
Friday, September 18, 2015
Negroamaro is a red wine grape variety native to Puglia in southern Italy, where it is usually used in red blends. The wines can often by rustic in nature but here the deep inkiness and earthiness have been tamed by winemaker Phil Lehmann and his team, resulting in a slinky smooth and disarmingly easy-to-drink wine. The fruit is grown by the Kalleske family and the wine has been aged in older French hogsheads, which add texture without any overt oak flavours. The end result is a fruit-driven, medium-bodied red offering immediate enjoyment without being particularly challenging. Great midweek drinking with or without food. $25. www.heskethwinecompany.com.au.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
This was a stand out at a tasting in Mendoza a few months ago, and it also leapt out of the glass with its elegance and class at a recent importers tasting by Untapped Wines at CoolWine in Hobart. It is wines like this that underline why Argentine malbec has become so popular. It is dark and juicy, smooth and supple, and the perfect companion for a medium-rare fllet steak. Achaval-Ferrer is one of the leading Argentine producers and this is one of the simpler wines in its impressive portfolio. Medium-bodied with some mineral freshness, this is extremely enjoyable in its youth. $66. www.untappedwines.com.au/
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Philip Rich is known as wine retailer, wine writer and show judge, but now he is also a wine producer. The Rich family has been farming at Walkerville, in South Gippsland (about 190 kilometres south-east of Melbourne), for over 45 years, mainly producing lamb and beef. They planted a vineyard in 2006 and have just released their first wine, this idiosyncratic and interesting 2013 Pinot Noir made by ex Kooyong winemaker Sando Mosele. It is very fragrant with spicy and minerally elements to the fore, along with red cherry fruit and freshness. Only 220 dozen bottles were made. $55. Available through the Prince Wine Store.
Sunday, August 30, 2015
What a lot of vinous fun for a minimal financial outlay. This is a 2015 Yarra Valley red; a rarity in that it is made from the cabernet franc grape. It is crafted using just a hint of seasoned oak but is fruit driven and charming, aromatic and supple. There were minimal additions and no fining and this is chock-full of juvenile charm. Enjoy this as you would a vin de soif like Beaujolais. A really lovely wine from the team at Punt Road that would be a pleasure to quaff over summer. $20. www.puntroadwines.com.au.
Friday, August 21, 2015
If you like your chardonnay young, vibrant and uncomplicated then this delivers in spades. From one of the pioneering wineries in Frankland River, in Western Australia's Great Southern region, this wine is all about bright, fresh fruit flavours (think stone fruits with hints of citrus). Really nicely balanced with some brisk acidity, this is a versatile food wine and would pair well with poultry dishes, quiches and salads. And take a look at the price. It is an absolute bargain. $16. www.alkoomiwines.com.au/