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
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
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. www.comynsandco.com.au.
Sunday, June 5, 2016
I am an unashamed admirer of the success that Elias Jreissati, winemaker Paul Bridgeman and the team at Levantine Hill have enjoyed in such a short period of time. They hit the ground running in a bid to make benchmark wines and this, the inaugural release of the single-site Colleen's Paddock Pinot Noir, is a definite sign they are on the right track. It is, quite simply, a delicious cool-climate Yarra Valley pinot noir. Named after Jreissati's wife, it is an almost impossibly silky, superbly savoury pinot that just oozes class. There is a lot going on here, but it also has immediate drinkability. Try a bottle to mark a special occasion. $200. www.levantinehill.com.au.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
The Vasse Felix cabernets are Australian classics, benchmark Margaret River wines at the very pinnacle of what Australia can do. Now the Vasse Felix Heytesbury and Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon, current release 2013, have a baby brother in the 2014 Filius Cabernet Sauvignon. Designed as a more approachable, less-demanding sibling this offers immediate drinking pleasure at a very reasonable price. It still has the great fruit and savoury notes but without the structure that sometimes demands years in the cellar. I loved this wine, which also has a smidgen of malbec and petit verdot in the mix, for its fruit forwardness (nearly all the oak used is older barrels) inkiness, balance and value. The recommended retail price seems ludicrously low. Great work from winemaker Virginia Willcock.
Friday, May 20, 2016
There was an almighty fuss a few years back when it was discovered that the "albarino" planted in Australia (and being marketed as such), was, in fact, a totally unrelated grape called savagnin from the Jura region of France. Now a few albarino vines (the real thing from Spain) are actually producing fruit and this debut offering is a very good example, released as part of Hunter Valley winery Margan's 20th-birthday Breaking Ground releases. This has lively, bright acid, spice notes and bright tropical fruit flavours. It is looking good as a new release and should probably be enjoyed as a young 'un.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
The name Torbreck may immediately conjure up images of dense red wines that need decades in the cellar - but not all wines from this Barossa producer are made in the same vein. The Cuvée Juveniles is always fresh and juicy and this impressive shiraz combines fruit from both the Barossa and Eden valleys - with the higher-altitude fruit adding elegance and grace to marry with the Barossa power. Expect an appealing, lifted bouquet, dark fruit with spice and deli notes, restrained French oak and great persistence on the palate. This is drinking well in its youth but will, like all Torbrecks, mature impressively. Unfined, unfiltered and extremely good drinking. $49. www.torbreck.com.