Friday, July 29, 2011

Majella 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

There are certain small producers whose wines have the X-Factor that makes them stand out from the crowd. Cullen, Clonakilla and Grosset are among those that come to mind and to that list I am tempted to add Majella, whose Coonawarra range, right from its budget The Musician release to the high-end Malleea blend, are beautifully constructed wines, always a pleasure to drink. This has plenty of ripe, juicy berry fruit characters but it is also beautifully knitted together with complexity and elegance. Despite being a young wine it has some very attractive softness on the long. lingering palate with French oak very much in the background. It's a bargain for the price and I'd be ashamed to admit just how quickly this bottle was emptied. $36.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Curly Flat 2008 Pinot Noir

Curly Flat winemaker Philip Moraghan is an avid pinotphile - a student of the grape variety in all its many guises and styles. So when he says he considers this to be the best pinot noir he has produced that's a pretty bold statement. This is certainly a wonderful wine; indisputably varietal, with impressive length and textural elements on the palate. It's surprisingly complex, too, for a wine made from fruit grown on vines in the Macedon Ranges that only have an average age of 12 years. The vineyard is treated biodynamically, which might explain the quality. You'll find cherry/plum characters on the nose and palate, spice, forest floor earthiness, hints of stalks but most of all terrific balance given the low alcohol levels (12.6%). Delightful drinking. $54.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hewitson 2009 Old Garden Mourvedre

Dean Hewitson always makes wines that perk interest, whether they be fresh-as-a-daisy sauvignons blanc, or far more serious wines like this extraordinary mourvedre (or mataro) made from grapevines planted in 1853 - the oldest mourvedre vines in the world. Where you might expect some density and concentration, this is a medium-bodied wine, lithe and athletic. There are dark fruit notes, hints of chocolate and earthiness, more than a hint of assertive oak but the finish is silky and long with plenty of potential for ageing. An elegant, graceful wine, even in its youth; if this were an actress it would probably be a classic beauty like Catherine Deneuve. $120.

Domaine Bellegarde 2008 Cuvee Tradition Jurancon

If you love wines with that sweet/savoury combination that Jurancon does so well, you'll enjoy this classy little number that offers sensational value for money. The balance between sugar and acid is spot on here, so that while the initial impression is of ripe pineapple, the finish offers some surprising dryness, roundness and length. A blend of petit manseng and gros manseng, this would be superb paired with calves' liver, pates and terrines or blue cheeses, as an aperitif or as a dessert wine. Imported by $10.99 for 375mls.