The 2016 vintage was remarkable at Oliver's Taranga in McLaren Vale because it was the year Rosemary the sheep had triplets. It was also the year that sixth-generation vigneron Corinna Wright absolutely nailed all three of her wines made from "new" varieties; fiano, vermentino and a rosé made from the Spanish grape mencia. It has generally be thought that fiano is superior to vermentino on this terroir, but 2016 was the vintage vermentino shone. This is fresh, vibrant and crisp with citrus and faint Asian herb notes. Worth putting away until the warmer months when it will star alongside King George whiting or any seafood or poultry dishes with a hint of spice. Dangerously drinkable. $25. www.oliverstaranga.com.
Friday, July 22, 2016
Chester Osborn, the Prankster, and his winemaking team at d'Arenberg in McLaren Vale make no fewer than four dessert wines; all subtly different and great value for $20. And, as is always the case, Osborn is not afraid to ignore the usual winemaking parameters Chardonnay, for instance, is rarely used to make dessert wines but here it has been blended with both semillon and viognier to produce a classic "sticky" with the ripe citrus nose of botrytis and a palate of florals, marmalade and sweet ginger. A delicious dessert in a glass on its own, this would also pair with anything from a lemon tart to tart blue cheese. $20. www.darenberg.com.au.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
A deft hand has created this very attractive blend of Barossa grenache, shiraz and mourvedre. It has, as you'd expect; generous, even bold, fruit, with a good splash of spice and well-integrated new and one-year-old French oak. There's some smart packaging here and a very smart wine, too; rich and mouth-filling but nicely controlled. I get the feeling that McGuigan wines of this calibre are more appreciated overseas than in Australia - which is a pity. This is well worth trying. $28. www.mcguiganwines.com.au.
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Over the past couple of years, the wines from Oakdene on the Bellarine Peninsula outside Geelong have been very much on my radar for their consistency of quality. This pinot gris, 100% barrel fermented and then matured for eight months in mainly older French barriques, is a case in point. It is offers a lot of pleasure for not a lot of money, is a very good take on the gris style and is extremely food friendly. It is a single vineyard wine with plenty of palate interest without obscuring the stone fruit/tropical characters. Elegant, lively and dry but essentially unchallenging, this would be a lovely drink on the back porch, served lightly chilled with hors d'oeuvres. $28. www.oakdene.com.au.
Friday, July 1, 2016
There is no grape variety that offers better value for money in Australia than riesling; which particularly shines in the Clare and Eden valleys of South Australia. Phil Lehmann, talented son of the late Peter Lehmann, makes excellent examples in both regions under the Vickery label, which pays tribute to arguably Australia's greatest-ever riesling maker, John Vickery, who is a consultant in the making of these wines, The 2016 releases are both excellent, but for me the Eden Valley wine just edged out the Watervale example, although it was a photo finish. It is slightly rounder, maybe a little more adult, while retaining the essential citrus and acid elements. Just lovely. $23. www.wdwines.com.au.