Saturday, January 28, 2012

Highland Brae 2010 Pinot Noir

Richard Tyler's ultra-neat Highland Brae vineyard is tucked away at Braeside, in the hills above Franklin, overlooking the Huon River in southern Tasmania, where he also farms Highland cattle. This new-release wine offers almost comical value for money given the wine (made by talented Nick Glaetzer at Frogmore Creek) has delightfully clean fruit flavours, varietal savoury notes and some impressive textural elements. It has already collected a silver medal at the Royal Hobart Wine Show and is extremely food friendly; we paired it with a rich mushroom soup. It's equally impressive without food, a wine for sipping and contemplating. $20. Email: or (03) 6266 3411.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Louee 2011 Nullo Mountain Riesling

Mudgee-based David Lowe, vice-president of the Winemakers Federation of Australia, seems able to turn his talents to fruit from just about any region. Having made his reputation in the warmth of the Hunter Valley, he's now producing some of his best wines from the cool-climate, ultra-high altitude vineyards of Nullo Mountain, outside Rylstone, which stand at 1100 metres above sea level. This is a very lean, austere style of riesling, dry with some cracking natural acidity from a vineyard that is unlike any other within the Mudgee appellation. This is a wine of real character and intensity that weighs in at just 10% alcohol. Lowe predicts it will be potentially long-lived. I love it in its youth. We'll just have to agree to disagree. $25.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Derwent Estate 2010 Chardonnay

The chardonnay fruit from the Derwent Estate vineyard in southern Tasmania is second to none, much of it being used in Penfolds' ultra-premium Yattarna blend. This is a delightful new release with the quality and tension of that fruit shining though. Classic stone fruit and citrus flavours work harmoniously but the use of French oak by Julian Alsorso of Winemaking Tasmania hits the dial maybe one notch too hard for my taste. That said, I have no doubt the wine will become tighter-knit as time goes by. Wild yeast barrel ferments, lees stirring and malolactic fermentation all give poise and structure and it is already a lovely drink that can only get better over the next couple of years. $35.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Two Hands 2010 Gnarly Dudes Barossa Shiraz

Made from gnarled old shiraz vines, this is a quintessentially Barossa Valley wine that offers excellent drinking and great value. It's a powerful wine, no doubt, but it handles its 14.8% alcohol with aplomb. There are all the black plum and dark berry characters you'd expect but the volume knob has been turned down in terms of oak and it is the fruit that is singing. It's an elegant wine when compared to many of its contemporaries, soft, easy to drink and very nicely balanced. We drank the whole bottle, which is rarely the case with Barossa shiraz nowadays. $27.