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. www.singlevineyards.com

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. www.hoddlescreekestate.com.au.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Segura Viudas 2011 Gran Reserva

It is an absolute mystery to me how Champagne sales continue to soar in Australia, how prosecco is all the rage but classy cava is all but ignored. If you are looking for sparkling value there is plenty of it in this new release; which is lean, minerally and very dry with just a touch of mustiness about it adding character and interest. Extremely food friendly, this proved a most amiable companion for char-grilled octopus and sardines in olive oil. $25. www.seguraviudas.com.au/ 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Erin Eyes 2013 Merlot


Steve Wiblin is closing in on four decades in the wine business, first on the marketing side for labels such as Wynns and the now sadly neglected Seaview, then for close on 15 years as a partner and co-owner of the Neagles Rock label. Now, after recovering from a period of ill health, he's sourcing premium Clare fruit for his own boutique label Erin Eyes, the name of which is a nod to to his Irish ancestry. This is one the better merlots to be found in Australia, rich and profound with plenty of length and palate weight. It's soft, as you'd expect, but also very interesting. $28. www.erineyes.com.au.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Thistledown 2013 The Basket Case Shiraz

There is all the power and persistence you would expect from a young Barossa shiraz here, but also with a little elegance and swagger. There's the intense aromas and dark black fruit notes you would anticipate, but also a plush, relaxed attitude, perhaps due to the use of an old-style basket press in the winery. There are also some spicy elements in the background of this layered, textural wine and overall this is more a smart and savvy middleweight than some of the region's heavyweights. It would be superb matched with lamb cutlets and short-crust vegetable tarts. Lovey stuff. $35. www.thistledown.com.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Hay Shed Hill 2012 Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon


 Tasting this is in a bracket containing several more expensive Margaret River cabernets, I made a note that this was probably in the $50+ bracket, offering all the elements required of a regional icon. The 40-year-old vines at Hay Shed Hill are doing their job, 2012 was an outstanding vintage and Michael Kerrigan a wise winemaker who is in touch with the region and its vines. This is a wine of impeccable balance with dark berry fruit allied to classy French oak producing a svelte, intense but stylish red with both complexity and accessibility. An absolute bargain at $28. www.hayshedhill.com.au.   


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Audrey Wilkinson 2014 Winemakers Selection Semillon

Crisp, fresh Hunter semillon is a quintessentially summer drink, full of vibrancy and intense citrus and green apple characters. There’s plenty of zesty mineral acidity here as well, making this a very refreshing drop whether you pair it with some freshly shucked oysters, fritto misto or some basic fish fingers and chips on a sunny lunchtime. Either way, this is a lovely wine from a cracker vintage made from fruit grown in one of the oldest vineyards in the Hunter Valley. $27. www.audreywilkinson.com.au/