Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Winesmiths 2012 Tempranillo

I can already hear the wine snobs muttering into their beards. Cask wine? What is he thinking of? But the simple fact is this recent release from the Hill Smith/Yalumba stable offers darn good value for money - at less than $1 a glass in fact. The 2-litre box, a retro classic that is being rebranded, is both convenient and eco-friendly. I sampled the 2012 chardonnay and 2012 tempranillo from a range that also includes pinot grigio and shiraz and found both more than a match for a lot of the execrable cheaper bottled wines in the marketplace. The Winesmiths encourage drinkers to pour their wines into 500ml decanters, European style. As is always the case with casks look for ones that have been stored in a cool place, choose the most recent vintage available and consume the contents within three weeks. I reckon most drinkers will be surprised by the quality on offer here – this has plenty of juicy, spicy fruit, a little dustiness and great drinkability. $18-20.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cape Mentelle 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2011 vintage was a problematic one in many Australian vineyard regions but in Margaret River they enjoyed yet another stellar year, which resulted in wines like this stunning red, a cabernet sauvignon that's blended with a little cabernet franc and merlot. A long-time benchmark single-vineyard wine, this is a deliciously complex beast that will probably cellar for two decades or more. That said, it is already deliciously drinkable with dark cassis and herb notes and just a hint of toasty oak. There's plenty of drive here, real intensity and just enough softness to make it balanced and fun right now. $90. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Margan 2013 Verdelho

Verdelho is a Portuguese grape that is often used in the fortified wines of Madeira, but in Australia it has found a home away from home in the Hunter Valley, where is produces fruity dry white wines that are extremely refreshing. This is unoaked and has tropical fruit salad flavours along with a crisp, clean and zippy acid finish. A wine for enjoying in its youth, preferably when well chilled. A great summer choice. $16.