Sunday, April 27, 2014

Rolf Binder 2012 Barossa Valley Shiraz

There are a number of Barossa Valley shirazes that are hulking monsters; all power, no finesse. But in a world of Wladimir Klitschko-style heavyweights this is more Muhammad Ali. Made from slow-ripening fruit in a very good year, the back label describes this as being "luscious" and "abundant". That's true, you would not mistake it for anything other than Barossa, but there is a certain style to its swagger. Made from fruit from five different vineyards, it also contains some grenache and mataro, adding some earthiness to the sweet, full-bodied shiraz. This is juicy with well considered use of French and American oak and has an immediate drinkability. $20.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Vela Blanca 2012 Albarino

The quality of the imported wines being brought into Australia by Fourth Wave Wines really is quite remarkable. From France, Italy and Spain, the Fourth Wave team have sourced terrific wines from unheralded growers at excellent prices. I particularly enjoyed this albarino from the Rias Baixas region of Spain. It is a wine of vitality and purity with a bright, intense palate, crisp acidity and a lovely  dry finish. It's a little bit different with citrus, green apple and flinty notes, and all the better for that. You can find it in the shops for around $20.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Crittenden Estate 2012 Peninsula Pinot Noir

There is a lot of pleasure to be had from this new-release pinot noir from Crittenden Estate on the Mornington Peninsula - and there's a new-look label too. This is no simple fruit bomb, or earthy mushroom compost remnant, but rather a beautifully balanced pinot with rather more textural interest than many of his its kin. Made with "minimal intervention" it was wild yeast fermented and bottled without fining or filtration. It has some brambly fruit notes, good acid structure and immediate appeal, although I suspect it will cellar well for several years. The 2012 Chardonnay and 2013 Fumé Blanc under the same label are also impressive. $34.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Ballandean Estate 2012 Messing About Saperavi

This was one of my favourites wines from Queensland Wine Week; the debut release of saperavi - a grape variety that originates in the former Soviet republic of Georgia and is made by one of the Granite Belt's longest established wineries. Despite being made from young vine fruit this has some impressive dark berry flavours, along with some well-balanced oak and tannin structure, too. This was the champion wine of the show at the Queensland Wine Awards (where I once judged) and it handles its 15% alcohol with consummate ease. One of the Queensland alternative varieties to keep an eye out for. $42.