Saturday, January 15, 2022

Stoney Rise 2021 Gruner Veltliner


Joe Holyman is probably best known for his high-calibre Tamar Valley pinots noir and chardonnays, but he also makes a splash with less well-known varieties like trousseau and the Austrian white variety gruner veltliner - crafting the only example in Tasmania. The 2021 vintage has green apple and white pear flavours, hints of crushed almonds and a crisp, lively palate that makes it ideal for pairing with fresh local seafood. Textural, unfined, unfiltered and very appealing, Holyman says it is a perfect match for Patagonian toothfish. He loves a joke. Made in tiny quantities. $32.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Oakridge 2020 Over The Shouder Pinot Noir


There are very few "cheap" Australian pinot noirs that deliver. Some can be weak and insipid, others totally lacking in varietal character - soft dry reds with zero personality. Thanks heavens, then, for producers like Oakridge, De Bortoli and Hoddles Creek, who all deliver reliably good drink now pinots for under $25. This entry level Over The Shoulder wine is produced using fruit from several vineyards dotted across the Yarra and has charming intensity and purity. Given its raspberry and cranberry notes, this is particularly enjoyable paired with some Chinese roast duck. To be released any day now, so put yourself on the waiting list. $25.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Moss Wood 2020 Chardonnay

If you like your chardonnays bold and outspoken then you've come to the right place. An Australian classic, this is a complex, rich, chardonnay that can either be enjoyed in its voluptuous youth or cellared with confidence. Aged on lees in French barriques, this has a panoply of flavours from ripe stone fruits to nuts, brioche and toasty oak. There is some lively freshness to the fore but it is the complexity that is compelling in a wine that demands to be enjoyed with food; preferably roast pork with all the trimmings. Already sold out at cellar door, but still available in retail outlets. Be quick. $85. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Montalto 2020 Pennon Hill Pinot Noir


Wow! There's some serious cool-climate Mornington Peninsula pinot quality here at a very fair price. If you are looking for a few bottles of accessible pinot for Christmas enjoyment then look no further. It's been a couple of vintages since I took a look at the Pennon Hill, but the quality remains outstanding. This is an attractively perfumed wine, determinedly varietal with a lovely balance of fruit, herbal and mushroom/deli characters. There are hints of spice, too. Pair with chicken or duck dishes and be amazed by the softness and completeness for just $34.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Cullen 2020 Kevin John Chardonnay


One of my favourite wines of the year; predictably excellent. The 2020 Kevin John is made from fruit grown in a vineyard planted in 1976. The vines are certified biodynamic and the fruit was whole bunch basket pressed into 50% new puncheons. Naturally fermented, the wine spent six months in barrel and has had no fining, filtration or cold stabilisation. It is wonderfully complex, and decidedly delicious. 98 points from me. $150.

Monday, November 29, 2021

West Cape Howe 2018 Book Ends Cabernet Sauvignon


Here is a wine from one of the most reliable producers in the country that offers remarkable value for money. If you are looking for an excellent cabernet to pair with your turkey or goose over Christmas you won't go wrong with this one, made from grapes sourced some of the best blocks in Mount Barker in West Australia's Great Southern. There is delicious quality fruit to the fore here, with assistance from maturation in French oak barriques, 30% new, for 18 months. This is a deep, dark colour, with plum and dark berry characters, chocolate cake hints and more line and length than Dennis Lillee. This shone in a line-up containing several more expensive cabernets. $30. 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Levantine Hill 2018 Chardonnay


Elias and Colleen Jreissati, the owners of Levantine Hill, are friends of mine. I have the greatest respect for winemaker Paul Bridgeman, who combines technical excellence with serious flair. So, having declared my bias, I'd like to say that this is best Levantine Hill estate chardonnay I have sampled. It is a wine of balance and panache, French accented but defiantly Australian. Hand-picked, hand-sorted and whole-bunch pressed Yarra Valley fruit has been utilised alongside mainly older French oak and the juice has been aged on lees to add complexity. This is medium-bodied, full of personality and delightfully drinkable. If you enjoy Meursault then you need to try this. $80.