Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Backbencher 2011 Merlot

You won't find too many merlots reviewed in my wine columns, or on my blogs. I'm unashamedly of the opinion that most Australian merlots are dull, monochromatic beasts, soft and easy to drink without any hint of personality or interest. There are, fortunately, some exceptions; the wines of Irvine Wines in the Eden Valley and this delightful little number from Capital Wines outside Canberra. A lot of work has been done of the southern end of the Kyeema vineyard from which this is sourced and the fruit quality is blossoming. There's plenty of interest on the palate here, plummy fruit notes and hints of spice, along with the softness you'd expect from the variety. It's quite simply very drinkable. Pair this with a pastrami sandwich for a taste treat. $25.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Oakridge 864 A6 Block 2012 Willowlake Yarra Valley Chardonnay

This is one of my favourite chardonnays of the year - a wine that absolutely nails it in terms of weight, length, flavour and balance. Made using fruit from a different vineyard each year, 864 is well on its way to becoming Australia's premier single-vineyard chardonnay. This is a quintessential modern style; it has pristine, pinpoint clarity but also complexity on the palate with hints of smoky oak, white stone fruit, defined citrus and a refined, steely backbone. There is lots of intensity here, but the wine is approachable even as a youngster. Brilliant stuff. Treat yourself to a case for Christmas. You won't regret it. $75.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Pikes 2013 Traditionale Riesling

The 2013 vintage for was a cracker for rieslings across Australia and once again this Clare Valley classic was in fine fettle. Crisp and clean with pristine bright citrus flavours and zingy acidity this absolutely delightful in its youth and is refreshing without being simple. It offers plenty of length, is tangy and slatey and would be a charming companion with a seafood platter over the holiday period just as it was a lovely match for some pan-fried blue-eye trevalla. A reliably good wine that's easy to find - and even easier to drink. $22.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Vinaceous 2012 Red Right Hand

Nick Stacey and Michael Kerrigan, the marketer and winemaker behind the striking Vinaceous brand, source fruit from vineyards across Australia for their range - and the attractive labels make the wines easy to find on a bottle shop shelf. Previous incarnations of this shiraz, grenache, tempranillo blend were sourced from McLaren Valley but this new release hails from ever-reliable Margaret River, where they have enjoyed umpteen great vintages in a row. In keeping with the fun label, this is also fun to drink; a bright ripe, fleshy, juicy Aussie red, spicy and fruit driven but benefitting from judicious oak treatment. I like this a lot and I think you'll find their website pretty cool as well. $25.