I love the lip-smackingly drinkable fruit-driven reds that are produced by Hither & Yon in McLaren Vale - and I also enjoy the dramatic and artistic colour-coded labels from Estonian artist Eiko Ojala. This is a fabulously accessible blend of 60% grenache and 40% mataro – the ripe, sweet grenache fruit melding with the earthy funkiness of the mataro to produce a beautifully balanced red that is designed for immediate enjoyment. No need to cellar this one; just put some gourmet sausages on the barbecue and you have a wine/food match made in heaven. $24. www.hitherandyon.com.au
Friday, February 19, 2016
This is a little bit "out there" in terms of white blends, but veteran Yarra Valley winemaker Rob Dolan has got his formula spot on. This lovely wine combines flavour and texture and has drinkability with a capital D. It is an unoaked but lees-stirred blend of savagnin (the grape previously believed to be albarino), pinot gris, gewurztraminer and chardonnay from several different Yarra vineyards (meaning it is not a true field blend - but that is nitpicking). A melange of Jura, Alsace and Burgundy grapes, it somehow just works. It is delightfully floral, fresh and crisp, with hints of Turkish Delight alongside stone fruit vibrancy. I enjoyed more than a couple of glasses. Considerably more. $24. www.robdolanwines.com.au.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
There is a fascinating story behind this classy syrah from Flaxman's Valley, a sub-region of the Eden Valley. Winemaker Michael Hall is an English-born jewellery valuer who changed careers later in life to follow his passion. He describes it as "taking a leap into the unknown". He completed a wine science degree at Charles Sturt University and had stints at wineries ranging from Cullen, Giaconda, Henschke, Shaw+Smith, Coldstream Hills and Veritas; along with Domaine Leflaive, Meo-Camuzet, Vieux Telegraphe and Trevallon, before releasing the first wine under his own label in 2008. He now sources fruit from vineyards across South Australia to produce wines like this beautifully crafted cooler-climate syrah, alive with dark fruit and spice, impressive structure and chalky tannins. Only 4060 bottles were made. $48. www.michaelhallwines.com.
Saturday, February 6, 2016
From vintage to vintage this is one of Australia's finest premium rieslings, rivalling the best from the Clare and Eden valleys. From memory, I also recommended the 2014 vintage. This is an assertive wine made using fruit from Mount Barker in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, which is producing several top-notch rieslings nowadays. This is dry and firm with floral and white pear/green apple and citrus notes with a solid backbone of brisk acidity. An each-way bet that can either be enjoyed now or cellared confidently. $33. www.burchfamilywines.com.au.