Friday, December 30, 2011

Hahndorf Hill 2011 GRU Gruner Veltliner

I'm a little late out of the blocks reviewing what is arguably Australia's finest example of the Austrian grape variety gruner veltliner, known as Gru Vee to aficionados. This Adelaide Hills offering is a wonderfully aromatic wine with fresh greengage, nectarine and nashi pear notes notes and a silky texture on the palate which finishes with Granny Smith crispness and oyster shell minerality. It's a hugely food-friendly wine and would pair spectacularly well with spicy Asian cuisine. I understand it quickly sold out at cellar door, but you might find a bottle or two in up-market wine stores. $28.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hungerford Hill 2009 Hilltops Cabernet Sauvignon

The high-altitude Hilltops region, in regional New South Wales near the town of Young, is rapidly building a reputation for quality cool-climate fruit and Hungerford Hill winemaker Michael Hatcher has certainly created a very classy wine here; inky in colour with tremendous depth of dark berry/blackcurrant fruit flavours and a hint of chocolate, this is also a wine of considerable elegance and finesse, weighing in at just 13% alcohol. A beautifully textured red, it has plenty of length and is silky, suave and beguiling; a vinous James Bond. $35.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Capital Wines 2011 The Whip Riesling

A stunning little wine from a fast-rising producer well worth keeping an eye out for. Mark and Jennie Mooney (well known for being perhaps the most prolific Tweeter in the wine industry) grow the grapes in the Canberra region and Andrew McEwin is the the winemaker. They are a proving quite a team and this is a downright delicious and zesty riesling; cooler than a mountain stream and just as refreshing. This is floral, minerally, citrusy and has great acid - and excellent length. While Jennie Mooney says this a great wine for cellaring, I say phooey. Its zesty lime sherbert characters make it just too drinkable right now to even consider putting any away. $19.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hurley Vineyard 2009 Hommage Pinot Noir

Kevin Bell and Tricia Byrnes make only pinot noir from their boutique vineyards (there are three distinct sites on their property; all producing individual vineyard wines) at Balnarring on the Mornington Peninsula. The wines are made in tiny quantities; there are only 150 cases of this wine, 150 of the equally impressive Garamond ($70) and just 50 of the Lodestone ($60). All three wines are individually impressive but this was my favourite - just. It is a bright colour, with juicy dark plum fruit. It's supple but muscular, like a teenage gymnast, with notes of redcurrants and Asian spices and some earthy, mushroomy hints. A beautifully balanced wine with great length and structure on the palate, silkiness and bright acidity. Really lovely. $60.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Chrismont 2011 La Zona Arneis

Arnie Pizzini and his team at Christmont in Victoria's King Valley turn out an excellent range of wines, all at emininently reasonable prices, but this one leapt out at me. It's a delightfully different style, made from the northern Italian grape arneis, that is beautfully fresh in its youth with crisp green apple and pear notes, the merest hint of honey and some some attractive crispness and minerality on the finish. A lovely understated wine for enjoying chilled, it's one for sipping and savouring. From a winery that has a reputation for "alternative" varieties, this is one of the most impressive Australian versions of arneis I have seen; from a grape that can sometimes be a little nondescript it is nice to see a wine offering such interest. $22.