Friday, May 29, 2015

Langmeil 2012 The Fifth Wave Grenache

The Lindner family has some of the oldest vines in the Barossa Valley and the name of this wine refers to fifth generation involvement. While grenache is certainly not a trendy variety (it is used mainly for fortifieds), wines like this - made from vines planted over 70 years ago - can only help re-elevate its status. This is a big, bold wine but without the jammy sweetness that many grenaches can display. Dark fruit flavours are to be found here alongside vanillin oak, mocha notes and some spice store characters. Long, sweet and textural, this has the structure to cellar for decades but is approachable right now. Pair it with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. $40.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ross Hill 2014 Pinnacle Sauvignon Blanc

Here is proof that not all sauvignon blancs have to be either tropical fruit bombs or herbaceous as hell. This is a really lovely wine from cool-climate Orange in the Central West of New South Wales, a region that is living up to its vinous promise. Winemaker Phil Kerney, who is on fine form, has hit the bullseye here, coaxing plenty of interest out of fruit grown on vines that are nearly 20 years old and sit at an altitude of 750 metres. The grapes were whole bunch pressed and naturally fermented using wild yeasts. There is zingy fruit intensity here, interesting texture and impressive line and length. Brilliant with sashimi or sushi. I'll give it a comfortable 93/100. $30. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Xanadu 2012 Stevens Road Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2011 vintage of the Xanadu Stevens Road Cabernet Sauvignon was James Halliday's Wine of the Year in 2014 - and was scored by him at 99/100. Predictably, it sold out. The good news, however, is that I honestly believe the new release from consistently excellent winemaker Glenn Goodall is every bit as good. I tasted this alongside the also impressive 2012 Xanadu Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($85) and only opted to review this wine on value. It is spectacular in terms of quality; a single vineyard wine from Margaret River that sees 40% new oak for 16 months and is wonderfully varietal, extremely stylish and complete on its release - although you'd love to have a few bottles in the cellar. Complex, elegant and dangerously drinkable with black berry and dark chocolate flavours to the fore. I'll give it 97/100. $65.  

Friday, May 1, 2015

Marchand and Burch 2014 Villages Chardonnay

Marchand and Burch is a joint venture between French-Canadian winemaker Pascal Marchand and the Burch family, owners of leading West Australian winery Howard Park, among others. Whether it is the winery impact of Burgundy-based Marchand, or the quality of the fruit from the Porongurups in the Great Southern, anyone tasting this wine blind could be forgiven for thinking it was Burgundian. There is a lively minerality and purity here (sorry, my notes were almost identical to the label notes). I love the structure and restraint. There is so much happening here it is like a novella in a bottle. A wine of elegance and structure that is under-priced at $37. I'll give it 94/100.