Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Taylors 2016 Sauvignon Blanc

I really couldn't care less what the bearded hipster habitues of oh so funky inner-city wine bars have to say. They can keep their 100% full-bunch wines from the slopes of Mt Etna that have been matured in amphorae. On a hot summer day in Australia, with the sun beating down, a lot of wine drinkers want refreshment, flavour and some crisp acid. This new-release sauvignon blanc from Taylors, which sources fruit from the Adelaide Hills, delivers drinkability in spades - but it won''t be getting too many sommelier recommendations. It is fruity, zesty and fun - everything you'd want in a young sub-$20 white. Chill it, get it in ya. $19. www.taylorswines.com.au.     

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Shingleback 2015 Aficionado Shiraz


Family-owned and -operated Shingleback in McLaren Vale produces a wide range of mainly red wines, including several that are sold exclusively in various supermarket chains. This is one of those; a very drinkable young shiraz at a price that is particularly attractive when cash is tight at this time of the year. Winemaker John Davey, a former JImmy Watson Trophy winner, has hit the bullseye with this richly flavoured wine with well-balanced oak. It's young, vibrant and an excellent barbecue or midweek choice; powerful but not overwhelming. You won't find too many better quaffing reds for $15.  Exclusive to Vintage Cellars. www.shingleback.com.au.  

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Cloudy Bay 2016 Sauvignon Blanc


What future for Marlborough sauvignon blanc? Is it losing its caché? Does it need to change its style, or is it in danger of discounting itself out of the premium market? In the case of brand leader Cloudy Bay, the wine that began the global savalanche almost 30 years ago, the answers are "no", "no" and "no". Ignore sommeliers who turn up their noses at the variety. Good wine is good wine regardless of fashion. There is a reason why the world loved Kiwi savvy blanc; it was bright, different, vivacious and fun. This remains a terrific wine - one that I paired the other day with some turkey. Winner. Give this another whirl, you may just be surprised at how much you enjoy it. $36. www.cloudybay.co.nz 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Xanadu 2015 Chardonnay

One of the finest chardonnays I have tasted this year - and very reasonably priced given several excellent vintages in a row. Everything here is beautifully balanced, perfectly poised. Premium Margaret River fruit has been given whole-bunch treatment, wild ferment and lees stirring in quality French oak by consistent winemaker Glenn Goodall, but no malo, so it maintains shiny acid along with stone fruit allied to lively citrus notes. It is an impressively structured wine, elegant and fine with just the merest nutty hints. I'm happy to score this 95/100. $37. www.xanaduwines.com

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Kooyong 2014 Pinot Noir


World-class pinot noir for under $50? Snap it up. Much better than most entry-level village Burgundies and Central Otago stars and certainly more affordable. This is a stunning wine that ticks all the pinot boxes with intense red berry fruit, forest floor earthiness, gamey/mushroom notes and a sinewy tannin structure. I am a bit late getting to this one and you may need to search around but I note it is still for sale on the Kooyong website so I'd get on board asap. I was going to give this 93/100 on tasting but upped that to 94 after drinking. Excellent. $48. www.kooyongwines.com.au. 
  

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Even Keel 2016 Pinot Gris

Winemaker Sam Coverdale is producing some excellent Mornington Peninsula wines under both the Polperro and Even Keel labels. While this is labelled as gris, rather than grigio, I found the 2015 Polperro release much more in the gris spectrum than this younger wine, which has an appealing vibrancy and freshness with a crisp acid finish in the Italian grigio style. Wild yeast ferment, malo and barrel ageing add complexity but the bright natural acid and ripe pear and zingy citrus zest notes make this extremely refreshing. Well worth 93/100. $29. www.polperrowines.com.au   

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Bremerton 2014 Lagrein


We sample an awful lof wines each week, but this one struck a chord with its drinkability; my wife opted to sip on this three nights in succession. While a lot of wine drinkers might not be familiar with the Italian wine variety lagrein it is growing in popularity in Australia and this Langhorne Creek version has plummy, chocolate and earthy notes along with exemplary balance. It is extremely food friendly. Lagrein is a grape variety native to the South Tyrol in northern Italy and is a descendant of teroldego, syrah and pinot noir, among other varieties. It dates back to the 17th century. This new release is quite powerful but with the structure to match. Well worth seeking out, but you might need to contact the Bremerton cellar door. $24. www.bremerton.com.au