The sample bottle, from which I was just pouring occasional sips, is mysteriously empty. "How the hell did that happen?" I ask myself. Only one answer; it was so darn delicious that I drank the entire bottle without noticing. I don't advise anyone to follow my lead, but I can assure you this rarely happens at Chez Dobbin. A couple of glasses of most wines are more than enough. It is a tribute to the winemaking skills of Stephanie Toole that it happened. This is an estate-grown, single-vineyard riesling from riesling heartland in Watervale, Clare Valley. Certified organic, it is a classic Clare riesling, aromatic with vibrant lemon and grapefruit pithiness, linear, slatey and with brilliant acid. It is also delicate and ethereal. No wonder it evaporated. Grab a case for Christmas drinking pleasure. I'll give it 96 points. $35. www.mounthorrocks.com.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Looking for a terrific midweek wine, or something inexpensive to accompany the weekend barbecue? This is one well worth looking out for. Soft and full of flavour, it is widely available for under $20. For the 2015 vintage, winemaker Hook has blended fruit from his own Pothana vineyard in the Hunter Valley with grapes from the Central Ranges (outside Mudgee). He's onto a winner with a medium-bodied, fruit-driven red that has only a smidgen of oak character. Think sweet berries and hints of Asian spice. Drink now and pair with gourmet sausages or hamburgers. A bargain for $18. www.davidhookwines.com.au.
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Take arguably Australia's best region for cabernet sauvignon, throw in one of the best winemakers in the west in Janice McDonald, and add the mighty resources of the Howard Park label and you have one of the best sub-$30 cabernets in the land. Made from fruit grown in the warmer northern reaches of Margaret River, this has traditional cabernet characteristics of dark berry and intense currant flavours, some mild herbal hints and has impressive chewy tannin structure after 18 months maturing in quality French oak. All in all, rather scrumptious and one for lovers of classic styles. I'd pair this with a lamb en croute, or maybe some mature English cheddar. A winner at $28. www.burchfamilywines.com.au.
Thursday, November 3, 2016
What a pleasant surprise this wine was. First, I had no idea that Mount Avoca had any sangiovese planted in its vineyards in the Victorian Pyrenees, and I certainly had no idea it would produce a wine as impressive as this. This is a very good take on the classic red grape of Tuscany, impressively balanced with medium-bodied savoury fruit and soft tannin structure. The fruit is impressive and the oak treatment, using older barrels only, adds structure without being intrusive. This is extremely food friendly and would pair with a chicken casserole or with rich tomato-based dishes. Just lovely. $45. www.mountavoca.com.