Friday, March 27, 2015

Segura Viudas 2011 Gran Reserva

It is an absolute mystery to me how Champagne sales continue to soar in Australia, how prosecco is all the rage but classy cava is all but ignored. If you are looking for sparkling value there is plenty of it in this new release; which is lean, minerally and very dry with just a touch of mustiness about it adding character and interest. Extremely food friendly, this proved a most amiable companion for char-grilled octopus and sardines in olive oil. $25. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Erin Eyes 2013 Merlot

Steve Wiblin is closing in on four decades in the wine business, first on the marketing side for labels such as Wynns and the now sadly neglected Seaview, then for close on 15 years as a partner and co-owner of the Neagles Rock label. Now, after recovering from a period of ill health, he's sourcing premium Clare fruit for his own boutique label Erin Eyes, the name of which is a nod to to his Irish ancestry. This is one the better merlots to be found in Australia, rich and profound with plenty of length and palate weight. It's soft, as you'd expect, but also very interesting. $28.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Thistledown 2013 The Basket Case Shiraz

There is all the power and persistence you would expect from a young Barossa shiraz here, but also with a little elegance and swagger. There's the intense aromas and dark black fruit notes you would anticipate, but also a plush, relaxed attitude, perhaps due to the use of an old-style basket press in the winery. There are also some spicy elements in the background of this layered, textural wine and overall this is more a smart and savvy middleweight than some of the region's heavyweights. It would be superb matched with lamb cutlets and short-crust vegetable tarts. Lovey stuff. $35.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Hay Shed Hill 2012 Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon

 Tasting this is in a bracket containing several more expensive Margaret River cabernets, I made a note that this was probably in the $50+ bracket, offering all the elements required of a regional icon. The 40-year-old vines at Hay Shed Hill are doing their job, 2012 was an outstanding vintage and Michael Kerrigan a wise winemaker who is in touch with the region and its vines. This is a wine of impeccable balance with dark berry fruit allied to classy French oak producing a svelte, intense but stylish red with both complexity and accessibility. An absolute bargain at $28.