Friday, October 21, 2011

Giant Steps 2010 Arthur's Creek Vineyard Chardonnay

I love the way Giant Steps releases a series of single vineyard chardonnays and pinots noir; demonstrating clearly the differences in terroir across the Yarra Valley. Winemaker Steve Flamsteed has done an excelllent job across the range but this was my favourite chardonnay, but only marginally ahead of Sexton and Tarraford vineyard releases. This is a delicate, modern chardonnay from a cool site planted in 1976. It's been through the gamut of modern winemaking techniques; whole bunch pressing, natural yeast, lees stirring, partial natural malo and 25% new oak. Despite, or perhaps because of, all that effort, the end result is a chalky, elegant wine with restrained stone fruit and delightful texture on the palate, finishing with vibrant acid. $45.

Grosset 2011 Polish Hill Riesling

Vintage after vintage Jeffrey Grosset produces a range of rieslings that are stunning in their purity and clarity – but this has to be one of his best ever; dry, tight and beautifully constructed, it has brilliant, pristine fruit characters with classic lime, lemon and grapefruit notes and some intense minerality. There's a lovely linear acid finish, concentration, persistence and a beguiling tang. I swear I had only had one glass, but my bottle was suddenly empty. Mysterious! A benchmark dy Clare Valley riesling. World class. $48.

Eden Road 2010 The Long Road Shiraz

Nick Spencer is making some very impressive wines at Eden Road and this shiraz underlines his talent. It's made from fruit grown at several vineyards down the road from Murrumbateman at Gundagai, which has soils that produce perfumed, gravelly and minerally wine styles. There's some lovely bright fruit here that has been matured in 3-4 year old French oak puncheons for 14 months prior. The oak is barely perceptible in the finished article, however, merely adding structure and interest to the palate. A delightful wine with delicate tannins and great value for the price. $22.

Dominique Portet 2011 Fontaine Rosé

Another impressively dry new-wave rosé from father and son team Dominique and Ben Portet in the Yarra Valley - the ninth and 10th generations of family winemakers. This is worthy wine for inclusion in the second Rosé Revolution, a blend of merlot, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon from the Yarra and Pyrenees. It's a disturbingly drinkable wine with intense red fruit aromas and flavours but with a dry and savoury finish. Chill this down, serve it with a picnic and watch it disappear at breakneck speed. $20.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lock & Key 2011 Hilltops Riesling

If you love classic dry riesling but are on a tight budget, this is a name well worth remembering. From the Moppity vineyard outside Young in New South Wales, it is an absolute bargain at a recommended retail price of around $16 - more so given it can sometimes be found discounted to considerably less. It has lemon zest fragrance, oodles of lime and grapefruit character on the quite austere palate and delightfully zingy racy acidity on the finish. A pristine and appealing partner for oysters, pan-fried seafood or Thai cuisine. $15.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

De Iuliis 2009 Steven Vineyard Shiraz

There is no doubt that Mike de Iuliis is among the brightest young winemaking talents in the Hunter Valley. His 2011 semillon was one of the standouts of a recent Twitter tasting and this is another excellent offering made from the Hunter's other key grape variety. Inky, with intense black pepper and wild berry aromas, it is full bodied on the palate with dark, rich fruit flavours, hints of earthiness and considerable poise and elegance (and only 13% alcohol). A singe-vineyard wine from one of the Hunter's best blocks, this will almost certainly cellar well for a decade or more. $40.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

DiGiorgio Family 2008 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon

The DiGiorgio family are unsung heroes of the Limestone Coast wine region, producing nicely balanced wines at very fair prices. This is a classic - and affordable - Coonawarra cabernet with ripe, supple and sweet dark fruit characters matched by black olives notes, soft tannins and unobtrusive toasty French oak. Made by veteran Coonawarra winemaker Peter Douglas in the historic former Rouge Homme winery, this ticks all the regional boxes and will probably cellar well for a decade or more. But my bet is most of it will be drunk relatively young - it's a hard wine to resist. $26.