I first came across Kevin Bell and Tricia Byrnes a decade and a half ago when they were trying to find a retail outlet in Sydney to sell their wines. I was blown away with the quality they were producing as part-timers (Kevin is a Supreme Court judge and his wife a lawyer), and was, fortunately, able to assist. Their wines have only improved since then, and the Hurley pinots are among the finest on the Mornington Peninsula. This is a few months down the track from release and looks spectacular, with everything you'd want in a high-quality pinot. It looks, to use a cliche, distinctly Burgundian, with a bright red fruit bouquet, and an impressive balance between fruit, savoury/sous bois notes and quality oak. Superb - and cellar worthy. I'm edging towards 97/100. $85. www.hurleyvineyard.com.au.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
As the rosé revolution grows and grows, this is one of the styles that is proving most popular; dry, savoury and cheeky in the European mould. This one from Sam Scott in the Adelaide Hills is made from the Italian grape variety aglianico, which originated in Greece but is now popular in southern parts of Italy. This is a delightfully poised rosé, perfect for pairing with picnics or Middle Eastern cuisine. It's vivacious and cheeky; desperately drinkable with some interesting textures. The kind of wine you'd like to take to a party. $25.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
I really couldn't care less what the bearded hipster habitues of oh so funky inner-city wine bars have to say. They can keep their 100% full-bunch wines from the slopes of Mt Etna that have been matured in amphorae. On a hot summer day in Australia, with the sun beating down, a lot of wine drinkers want refreshment, flavour and some crisp acid. This new-release sauvignon blanc from Taylors, which sources fruit from the Adelaide Hills, delivers drinkability in spades - but it won''t be getting too many sommelier recommendations. It is fruity, zesty and fun - everything you'd want in a young sub-$20 white. Chill it, get it in ya. $19. www.taylorswines.com.au.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Family-owned and -operated Shingleback in McLaren Vale produces a wide range of mainly red wines, including several that are sold exclusively in various supermarket chains. This is one of those; a very drinkable young shiraz at a price that is particularly attractive when cash is tight at this time of the year. Winemaker John Davey, a former JImmy Watson Trophy winner, has hit the bullseye with this richly flavoured wine with well-balanced oak. It's young, vibrant and an excellent barbecue or midweek choice; powerful but not overwhelming. You won't find too many better quaffing reds for $15. Exclusive to Vintage Cellars. www.shingleback.com.au.