Friday, May 23, 2014

Woods Crampton 2012 Frances Nicole Shiraz

A sticker on the sample bottle of this wine mistakenly priced it at $24.99 - which would have made it one of Australia's greatest wine bargains. The real price is $50; reflective of the quality, and it's still a good buy at that price point. Made by designer Aaron Woods and marketing guru Nicholas Crampton, and named in honour of their wives, this is made from fruit grown on 60-year-old vines in the Blenkiron Vineyard, a cool site in the Eden Valley. There is a nod to minimalist winemaking techniques here and the use of larger format French oak adds character without any overt oakiness. This is a big wine from a superb vintage but well-rounded and with plenty of length. A red for wine lovers who who value balance and do not want too much of a good thing. There is plenty of dark fruit and spice but the end result is well balanced with good structure. Great now; greater in a decade. Only 157 cases were made. $50.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Howard Park 2013 Great Southern Riesling

A recent visit to the Howard Park cellar door in Margaret River underlined what an impressive array of styles is produced by the Burch family under their many different labels; Howard Park, MadFish, Jete and Marchand and Burch among them. There is an attention to detail throughout, and while the range has grown exponentially over the past few years, this remains one of the standouts; a wine that sits comfortably among Australia's top rieslings. Crisp, clean, delicate, zesty, linear, refreshing.....the adjectives just go on and on.  A dry wine of length and balance that offers immense enjoyment and is wonderfully food friendly. Cellar-worthy, too. $33.     

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Derwent Estate 2012 Chardonnay

The vast majority of the fruit that goes into Penfolds' flagship Yattarna Chardonnay comes from one standout vineyard in Tasmania: Derwent Estate, overlooking the Derwent River at Granton, north of Hobart. And while the Yattarna sells at $100+ a bottle, Derwent Estate owners, the Hanigan family, also keep a small amount of fruit to release under their own label. And, of course, the Derwent Estate wine is just a tad more affordable than Yattarna. Vinified by Julian Alcorso at Winemaking Tasmania (although Derwent Estate has recently built its own winery), this is a thoroughly modern chardonnay with bright stone fruit and citrus flavours, bright acid, a judiciously judged oak regime, minerality and palate interest. Outstanding - and indicative of the quality wines Tasmania is producing. $37.   

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Greywacke 2013 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Reach for the thesaurus. This is about as good as it gets when it comes to sauvignon blanc. No one does the variety better in Marlborough than Kevin Judd, the man who made Cloudy Bay a global phenomenon and then set off of his own to create the Greywacke brand. This is no in-your-face passionfruit and gooseberry fruit fest. It's a whole lot more interesting than that; delicate but not subdued; funky but beautifully balanced with citrus and melon notes, slightly smoky oak, hints of fresh-cut grass and some crisp acid on the finish. Great with food; but just as good without it. Terrific work Mr Judd. $32.