People in the wine industry are often asked: "What's the next big thing?" On the evidence of early efforts from Hahndorf Hill, K1 by Geoff Hardy, Lark Hill and others, my bet is the savoury Austrian white variety gruner veltliner - and this debut effort from Pike & Joyce in the Adelaide Hills is excellent. Made in tiny quantities, it has white pepper/talcum powder notes along with bright fresh pear and green apple characters on a palate that also has faint grapefruit notes. This is nicely vibrant, food-friendly, easy to drink and has impressive crispness. With only around 75 cases made it may pay to lay pedal to the metal if this sounds like your scene. $28. www.pikeandjoyce.com.au.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
If only all New Zealand sauvignon blancs were as compelling as this consistently brilliant offering from Dog Point in Marlborough. I could certainly drink a fair amount of this with its standout tropical fruit salad and Thai herbs on the nose, leading to a palate with textural interest, brisk, refreshing acidity, flinty minerality and citrus notes. Indigenous fermentation to a portion of the fruit has added interest, but this is certainly not one of those over-worked Kiwi savvys where it is all about how clever the winemaker is. Lovely drinking and a congenial companion for seafood and shellfish. $25. www.dogpoint.co.nz.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
What a beautifully precise cool-climate wine this is, but you'll need to move quickly to snap some up as only 150 cases were made. Winemaker Nick Spencer has everything in place with gorgeous bright fruit, hints of pepper and spice, structure and balance. While this is drinking superbly already (it will be released in March), I suspect it will also cellar well, and it is extremely food friendly with a sensible 13% alcohol. This is a wine at the cutting edge of new-wave Australian shiraz. Lovely stuff. $60. www.edenroadwines.com.au.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Australia's warmer regions produce some of the finest fortified wines in the world and this Riverland take on port is up there with the best. A blend of tinta roriz (tempranillo), touriga nacional and tinta cao (all Iberian grape varieties), along with durif and shiraz, this is dark and mysterious wine, with ripe berry fruit, spice and licorice and a soft, silky and sweet core. The vintage is made only in excellent years - the last was 2006 - and winemaker Eric Semmler reckons this can confidently be cellared for 20 years. This would be brilliant paired with a Pyengana cheddar from Tasmania, or indulgently poured over vanilla ice cream. $50. www.919wines.com.au/