Thursday, September 28, 2023

St Hallett 2019 Old Block Shiraz


St Hallett Old Block Shiraz has been an Australian classic for over four decades: a wine of power and poise; palate weight and precision. With fruit from some seriously old vines in play, this is an outstanding red from a contrary dry vintage that resulted in Barossa wines that are seriously rich and concentrated. This has a plenty of dark and spicy flavours but also finishes soft and smooth. It could be paired with rare roast beef and Yorkshire pudding right now, but will certainly cellar for a decade or two for those who prefer their reds more mature. $160.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

El Nino de Campillo 2021 Rioja

ALDI stores offer a good range of imported bargains, many only available for a short term, but  perfect for anyone who wants to push their wine boundaries a little without spending too much. This is one well worth keeping an eye out for next month; a deliciously fresh and lively Spanish red for summer enjoyment. Made from tempranillo grapes grown in the renowned Rioja region, it is light bright and fresh, with some delightfully rustic savoury notes. Perfect for pairing with a barbecue, or perhaps a salami pizza. It could easily be chilled a little and is charming, fun and juicy. Terrific value for $15.    

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Bremerton 2023 Molly and Merle Verdelho

The verdelho grape originally comes from the Portuguese island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean, where it is a key component of a fortified wine called Madeira. In Australia, particularly in the Hunter Valley, it is used to produce fresh, drink-young summer white wines. This excellent example comes from Langhorne Creek in South Australia and is named in honour of family grandmothers Mollie and Merle. Verdelho has apparently been grown in Langhorne Creek for over 150 years and produces vibrant whites with tropical fruit flavours that are perfect for immediate enjoyment, preferably well chilled. This finishes fresh, dry and crisp and is a perfect "midweek" wine at a very fair price. $19.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Woodstock 2023 Fiano

The southern Italian white grape variety fiano is proving very successfully in the warmer grape growing regions of Australia, producing white wines with fresh, natural acidity and plenty of flavour. The Collett family at Woodstock in McLaren Vale has just released its first wine made from the variety - and it is an immediate success. A great choice for pairing with seafood dishes over the spring and summer, the wine finishes crisp and clean with tropical fruit salad flavours to the fore, but also has some textural elements thanks to part of the fruit being fermented in oak hogsheads. Fresh, crisp and dry and ready to be enjoyed with dishes ranging from fresh oysters to fish fingers. Made in very small quantities so be quick. $28.      

 Australian family-owned McLaren Vale winery Woodstock are welcoming their first vintage of

Fiano to the portfolio in 2023, in a move inspired by our adapting climate and Australian

consumer tastes.

Driven by a strong belief in the potential of the ancient Italian white variety, the Collett

winemaking family have planted Fiano on their Estate straddling the Blewitt Springs

subregion of McLaren Vale.

“McLaren Vale has always been a champion of local food with wine, something Woodstock

embraced back in the 1980s when we opened the region’s first winery restaurant, the

Coterie,” explains third generation winemaker, Peter Collett.

“It feels fitting that a variety so suited to pairing with a huge range of foods thrives in our

corner of the region – Fiano is perfectly suited to our warm, Mediterranean conditions, deep

sandy soils and presents a lot of versatility when it comes to vinification.

“Fiano grapes manage to retain great natural acidity despite the fact that they are relatively

late-ripening – that is exciting from a winemaking perspective as it allows us to create a

modern, complex white wine well-suited to Australian lifestyles”, Peter adds.

For the inaugural 2023 vintage, Woodstock’s viticulture and winemaking team partnered with

renowned McLaren Vale grower, Vicky Vasarelli, with future vintages to be made with Estate-

grown Fiano planted in 2022.

Handpicked at optimal flavour ripeness, the Fiano was pressed into a combination of

stainless-steel and oak hogsheads for fermentation.

“While the tank component creates a clean, crisp and aromatic wine where the acid and

minerality shine, retaining the lees in the barrel fermented component for toasty characters

allows us to build textural complexity in the finished blend,” Peter says.

The resulting wine boasts tropical notes of pineapple and guava on the nose, with a lively

palate brimming with mouth-filling fruit characters and a subtle creamy texture. The wine

finishes dry and crisp, exhibiting hints of citrus and minerality.Tropical fruits of pineapple and guava on the nose with hints of passionfruit. The palate is full of life, brimming with mouth filling fruit sweetness and subtle creamy texture. The wine finishes dry and crisp exhibiting hints of citrus and minerality.


Thursday, August 31, 2023

Wickhams Road 2023 Yea Valley Riesling


This is just the second release of what is arguably the best sub-$20 dry riesling in Australia. The d'Anna family of Hoddles Creek fame in the Yarra Valley are sourcing fruit for some of their entry-level Wickhams Road wines from the unheralded Yea Valley, around 100km north of Melbourne. They've struck gold with this little parcel of deliciousness, and a similarly impressive cabernet franc. This is perfumed, bright and juicy with really zingy acid and lip-smacking citrus flavours to the fore. A portion has seen oak foudre treatment for added complexity but it is zippy, youthful appeal that is the selling point. $20.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Gundog Estate 2023 Wild Semillon


Youthful Hunter semillon can often be challenging when first released given its high acidity, which can dominate the palate. Matt Burton from Gundog Estate produces a range of semillons in various styles, and this one pushes the boundaries a little by fermenting a portion of the wine on skins (like a red wine) using indigenous yeasts. This results in a more complex and interesting style with just a hint of residual sugar (10gl). There are more fleshy stone fruit and herbal notes than in most Hunter semillons, and this would pair well with everything from Thai stir fries to our choice, which was a crumbed veal schnitzel. $35.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Clonakilla 2022 Shiraz Viognier


Red wine blended with some white? It sounded absurd when it was first mooted. But the folk in the Rhone Valley know a bit about wine - and the Kirk family were happy to follow in the footsteps of their experience when they launched what was to become an Australian wine benchmark back in 1992. Dr John Kirk planted a small amount of viognier at his Murrumbateman vineyard near Canberra in the mid 1980s and in 1992 his son, Tim, co-fermented a small batch of the viognier fruit with shiraz. An Australian benchmark wine was born. The new-release 2022 is one of the finest over the 30-year period. From a cool vintage in a cool region this is intense, spicy, beautifully balanced at just 13% alcohol. Complex, pretty and completely satisfying. Think a professional dancer: core strength but lightness of foot. $120 - and worth it. Perhaps a Father's Day gift. 97 points.