Friday, July 3, 2015

Schwarz Wine Co. 2014 Meta Grenache

An impressive range of wines in outstanding colour-coded packaging. Jason Schwarz defines Meta as “an abstraction from a well-known concept” and this fruit-driven, assertive grenache is certainly made in a different style to many of its Barossa siblings. Made from 80-year-old vines, this is the punk, naughty boy version of grape variety that has been somewhat moribund. Hand-picked, 70% whole-bunch fermented, wild yeasts, unfiltered and unfined, this is a raw (Schwarz calls it crunchy), but very appealing, expression of an under-rated variety. Ripe, juicy, spicy and maybe just a little gangly in its youth, this is a barrel load of fun. $35.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Flowstone 2010 Queen of the Earth Cabernet Sauvignon

Flowstone is the new venture of Margaret River winemaker Stuart Pym, who has over 30 years of experience at the likes of Devil's Lair and Stella Bella, and his friend and business partner Phil Giglia. This is an absolutely outstanding cabernet, made in tiny quantities. It has received 100% new oak, but such is quality of the fruit that the wine tastes absolutely seamless (and I hate over-oaked wines). This is a concentrated - but food-friendly - wine that is in the zone; like a McGrath fast ball, or a Federer forehand. There is plenty of flavour here, but the power is retrained. It comes for a very good vintage and has dark berry/chocolate and spice to the fore. There is soft mouthfeel, excellent tannin structure and intensity and it is drinking beautifully right now. I'll score this 96/100. $75. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Eden Hall 2015 Riesling

Either I've been asleep at the wheel, or the wines from Eden Hall have been flying under the radar a little. I was extremely impressed by their two new-release 2015 rieslings, a slightly more refined reserve version that's considerably more expensive (but probably worth it), and this everyday drinking version that's a fast bowler's dream. Think persistent line and length and you are on the right track. This is is very pure, refreshing; textbook Eden Valley riesling attributes to the fore. Lean but delicious, And who are Eden Hall? Well, David and Mardi Hall have been growing grapes at Avon Brae in the high country of the Eden Valley for almost two decades and sell most of their fruit to some of the biggest names in the game. Their limited-release wines are smartly packaged and colour coded. Their white wines are made by Christa Deans (of Rolf Binder) and the reds by Kym Teusner. Oh, and they badly need to update their website. $22. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Brokenwood 2013 Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz

To all those who question the appeal of Hunter Valley shiraz, I present Exhibit One; a superbly composed wine from Iain Riggs and his talented team at Brokenwood. In truth. though, this wine is not about the winemaking, it is about the vineyard, a patch of dirt that has proved itself over decades. Made from 45-year-old vines and coming from a stellar Hunter vintage, this is sharper than a banker's suit, smoother than a salesman's patter. Lifted and brambly, it offers a delightful melange of savoury notes, dark fruit, well-integrated oak and terrific tannin structure. Graveyard traditionally cellars for a couple of decades or more but this looks very smart on release. 95/100 for this one. $200.   

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Oakridge 2014 Meunier

Pinot Meunier is one of the most widely planted grapes in France, but you will rarely find its name on wine labels. Even in Champagne, where it is the most planted variety, it trails well behind pinot noir and chardonnay when it comes to recognition. Aromatic and fruity, and producing its best results in cool climates, here it is utilised as a stand-alone varietal table wine. Vibrant and fresh, pure and crisp with bright red berry flavours and limestone tannins this should be enjoyed as one would enjoy a good Beaujolais; lightly chilled and in its youth. Only 150 cases were made and you'll probably need to venture to the Oakridge cellar door to procure some. Another winner from David Bicknell; disarmingly easy to drink. $26.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Langmeil 2012 The Fifth Wave Grenache

The Lindner family has some of the oldest vines in the Barossa Valley and the name of this wine refers to fifth generation involvement. While grenache is certainly not a trendy variety (it is used mainly for fortifieds), wines like this - made from vines planted over 70 years ago - can only help re-elevate its status. This is a big, bold wine but without the jammy sweetness that many grenaches can display. Dark fruit flavours are to be found here alongside vanillin oak, mocha notes and some spice store characters. Long, sweet and textural, this has the structure to cellar for decades but is approachable right now. Pair it with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. $40.

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.