Friday, October 30, 2015

Artwine 2014 Grumpy Old Man Grenache

As a grumpy old man myself it comes as no surprise that I loved this lip-smackingly good Clare Valley grenache from Artwine. It is made using fruit from gnarly, century-old bush vines that still produce outstanding fruit in their dotage. This has all the bright, lively fruit you'd expect from classy grenache with dark berry and black cherry flavours to the fore, along with dark spice notes. This is a very impressive wine in its youth, but it should also cellar impressively. Smart packaging. Smart wine. $30. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Paradigm Hill 2015 Transition Rosé

It is the time of year when rosé comes to find; pale, crisp, dry and refreshing rosé for al fresco enjoyment like they do in Provence. From being all but ignored a few years ago, rosé wines are enjoying a new wave of popularity thanks to standouts like this delicious estate-grown and -made wine from the Mihali family at Merricks on the Mornington Peninsula. Made from 100% shiraz grapes, it weighs in at just 12% alcohol and is more interesting than many of its counterparts, having been both oak fermented and spent six months maturing in barrels. It finishes bone dry, as is the current fashion, and would be marvellous with a picnic or paired with Lebanese dishes. It is vibrant and savoury with a crisp acid finish. The complete package. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Zema Estate 2012 Cluny

You never see a bad wine under the Zema Estate label - and this classic Coonawarra blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot offers formidable value for money at under $25 retail. The Zema family are fastidious about their vineyards and winemaker Greg Clayfield has decades of regional experience. Put those factors together and you have wines of real personality. This has seen plummy, spicy fruit spend 14 months in both French and American oak and is a very attractive, easy-drinking style that has enough palate interest and balance to please most red drinkers. $25.   

Friday, October 9, 2015

Clonakilla 2015 Riesling

Tim Kirk has largely built his reputation on shiraz in various guises, and particularly his shiraz-viognier blend, a cult wine that was first a trendsetter and is now a benchmark. The awesome 2014 now fetches well over $100 a bottle. But there is more to the Clonakilla range than just stellar shirazes. Kirk and fellow winemaker Bryan Martin last year released an outstanding pinot noir, and also do good things with viognier as a stand-alone varietal. But for me the star win of the new Clonakilla releases is a riesling - and 2015 was a cracking riesling year in the Canberra region with Helm and Lark Hill, among others, also producing very fine wines. This is the 40th Clonakilla riesling, and also a candidate for the best. Kirk describes it as "a wondrous year" and this is beautifully brisk and flavoursome. He suggests cellaring; I disagree. This is just too appealing in its youth not to enjoy over summer. $30.    

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Oakdene 2013 Peta's Pinot Noir

The Bellarine Peninsula is one of Australia's most under-rated wine producing regions with the best wines among the finest cool-climate offerings to be found anywhere. With 100 % pinot noir from the Geelong region, this is a wine that leaps out of the glass with its drinkability; it has all the appeal of young Labrador puppy and just wants to be loved. This has undergone wild yeast fermentation and a small portion of whole bunch material has been used to add structure. Everything is nicely in balance; there is a perfumed bouquet with red berry and Asian spice notes followed up by a palate with bright fruit along with savoury hints and plenty of length. Fruit-driven, and all the better for that, I'm happy to score it 93/100. $35.