Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ross Hill 2014 Pinnacle Sauvignon Blanc

Here is proof that not all sauvignon blancs have to be either tropical fruit bombs or herbaceous as hell. This is a really lovely wine from cool-climate Orange in the Central West of New South Wales, a region that is living up to its vinous promise. Winemaker Phil Kerney, who is on fine form, has hit the bullseye here, coaxing plenty of interest out of fruit grown on vines that are nearly 20 years old and sit at an altitude of 750 metres. The grapes were whole bunch pressed and naturally fermented using wild yeasts. There is zingy fruit intensity here, interesting texture and impressive line and length. Brilliant with sashimi or sushi. I'll give it a comfortable 93/100. $30. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Xanadu 2012 Stevens Road Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2011 vintage of the Xanadu Stevens Road Cabernet Sauvignon was James Halliday's Wine of the Year in 2014 - and was scored by him at 99/100. Predictably, it sold out. The good news, however, is that I honestly believe the new release from consistently excellent winemaker Glenn Goodall is every bit as good. I tasted this alongside the also impressive 2012 Xanadu Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($85) and only opted to review this wine on value. It is spectacular in terms of quality; a single vineyard wine from Margaret River that sees 40% new oak for 16 months and is wonderfully varietal, extremely stylish and complete on its release - although you'd love to have a few bottles in the cellar. Complex, elegant and dangerously drinkable with black berry and dark chocolate flavours to the fore. I'll give it 97/100. $65.  

Friday, May 1, 2015

Marchand and Burch 2014 Villages Chardonnay

Marchand and Burch is a joint venture between French-Canadian winemaker Pascal Marchand and the Burch family, owners of leading West Australian winery Howard Park, among others. Whether it is the winery impact of Burgundy-based Marchand, or the quality of the fruit from the Porongurups in the Great Southern, anyone tasting this wine blind could be forgiven for thinking it was Burgundian. There is a lively minerality and purity here (sorry, my notes were almost identical to the label notes). I love the structure and restraint. There is so much happening here it is like a novella in a bottle. A wine of elegance and structure that is under-priced at $37. I'll give it 94/100.       

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Yering Station 2012 Pinot Noir

Pinot noir is a most capricious grape, recalcitrant in the vineyard and sometime truculent in the winery. That is why the best examples, like this excellent new release, are so prized. There can be plenty of disappointments for pinotphiles, but this is one of the best releases from Yering Station in the Yarra Valley; aromatic and silky and bursting with bright fruit, allied to classy French oak. This is downright delicious right now and will almost certainly age gracefully. $40.   

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Plantagenet 2013 Chardonnay

Plantagenet's departing winemaker Cath Oates describes 2013 as a “great chardonnay vintage” in Western Australia's Great Southern and this wine underlines that with its seamless quality; bright citrus notes, hints of yeast from indigenous fermentation and classy French oak, which is beautifully integrated. There is an intensity and creaminess here that pinpoints this as a wine that will blossom when paired with food. $35. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

La Ferme du Mont 2012 Gigondas

A superb example of briary, juicy southern Rhone village red from Stephane Vedeau, one of the premier vignerons of this beautful region. A blend of 80% grenache and 20% syrah from organically farmed vineyards with old vines, this is bursting with dark red fruit flavours and spice notes. It is a big wine in the French scheme of things but very well balanced and drinkable even its youth. It is imported by Single Vineyard Sellers. $58.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

1er Yarra Valley 2013 Chardonnay

Franco d'Anna from Hoddles Creek is an extremely versatile winemaker. As well as producing wines that over-deliver in quality for both the Wickhams Road and Hoddles Creek labels, he also crafts small quantities of very classy boutique wines under the playful 1er Yarra Valley banner; poking of fun at the grandoise labels of the great wines of Burgundy. What is in the bottle here has certain parallels with Burgundy; it is lean at 13.2% alcohol, has classic vibrancy and intensity (think citrus and flint) and is made without fining, filtering or additions, letting the fruit write the narrative. If this was Burgundy, though, you'd be paying a substantial whack more than $40. Bargain.