Sunday, February 21, 2021

Robert Stein 2020 Riesling


The Stein family is fast approaching its half century of making outstanding wines across a range of styles at Mudgee in the Central West of New South Wales. Third-generation winemaker Jacob Stein is now at the helm and quality continues to soar. The 2020 vintage was hugely difficult given the dreadful drought and bush fires of 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic. This was handpicked from a vineyard unaffected by smoke taint and the end result is a fresh and lively young wine with a lovely balance. $35.


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Dog Point 2020 Sauvignon Blanc


It is not that long ago that Marlborough sauvignon blanc was all the rage. But wine fashion can be fickle and other grape varieties are enjoying their day in the sun. What that means, however, is the best Marlborough savvys offer excellent value for money - and this organically farmed wine always among the very best of the region, vintage after vintage. The recent-release 2020 has power and intensity with classic varietal tropical fruit characters, refreshing acidity and a long finish. Absolutely lovely and a perfect excuse to buck the trend. $30.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Heirloom Vineyards 2018 McLaren Vale Shiraz


From the formidable team of wife and husband Elena and Zar Brooks, the Heirloom Vineyards range features grapes from five different regions of South Australia, all sourced from quality sites and clones. This is a bold, expressive McLaren Vale red, slightly less muscular than its Barossa counterpart but equally delicious. Think dark berries, white pepper, chocolate hints and plenty of length and depth of flavour. Unfined and unfiltered; and just a little raffish. $40

Friday, January 29, 2021

Marcus Hill 2019 Pinot Gris

I knew so little about Marcus Hill that I wasn't sure if he was a person or a place. Now, having worked my way through a pinot noir, a pinot meunier and a riesling I can recommend the Marcus Hill Vineyard on the cool Bellarine Peninsula as a label to watch out for. The vineyard is a short drive from Geelong towards the coastal townships of Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale and was planted in 1999. Richard and Margot Harrison handcraft wines with minimal intervention - and all that I have tried so far have impressed. This is barrel fermented, dry with sweet pear and Fuji apple flavours, hints of caramel and a long, impressively dry finish. Very drinkable. Pair with salt and pepper calamari. $25.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Vasse Felix 2018 Filius Cabernet Sauvignon

A powerful, structured cabernet from one of the best producers in Margaret River for under $30? It sounds too good to be true but Filius "son of" delivers in a big way with  intensity allied to a supple, easy-drinking framework. This is a classic Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, malbec, petit verdot and merlot, matured in mainly older French oak barriques. Deliciously drinkable with blackcurrant, delicatessen and spicy oak notes. The vinous equivalent of a Phil Spector hit. $29.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Hay Shed Hill 2019 Margaret River Chardonnay


Hay Shed Hill wines are a byword for value for those in the know but can tend to fly a little under the radar in the eastern states. When it comes to price-quality ratio, this chardonnay is outstanding; modern and restrained but with plenty of palate interest. The RRP for this is probably a tenner below what the wine is really worth. Think citrus and white pear notes to the fore, relatively low alcohol at 12.5%, and a fresh, clean palate where French oak merely adds interest but does not intrude on the star attraction, the delicious fruit. Very dry, very bright, very drinkable. $28.   

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Kilikanoon 2020 Killerman's Run Riesling


This is one of the most impressive Clare Valley rieslings I have seen from 2020 - and it comes at a bargain price, too.  Cool-fermented juice was given a dose of natural grape sugar to provide additional flavour and complexity. A floral nose leads on to traditional lime, lemon and grapefruit flavours here, along with some very refreshing crisp acidity and some archetypal Clare slatey minerality. Enjoy a glass or two on the back veranda or pair with some whiting fillets. $22.