Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Swan Bay 2017 Pinot Grigio

Scotchmans Hill's Swan Bay range has been given a lift by new colour-coded labelling that makes the wines stand out on crowded bottle shop shelves. There are several excellent wines crafted by winemaker Robin Brockett in the $20-ish range but this blend of Geelong region and Adelaide Hills fruit caught my fancy with its youthful joie de vivre. There is a plenty of summer refreshment here with pear, tropical fruit and citrus flavours jostling for attention on the lively palate. Enjoy the crispness and length and serve well-chilled. Deftly balanced and vegan friendly. Match with a chickpea salad. $22. www.scotchmans.com.au

Monday, January 22, 2018

Houghton 2016 Shiraz

Wines from Houghton in Western Australia (180 years in the business and counting) used to be all the rage when it came to value but you don't see them around as much as you used to, despite the label being owned by the Accolade behemoth. At a time of year when many of us are operating on tight wine budgets, this new release is one to keep an eye out for; a fruit-driven number that would grace any barbecue. It's soft, medium-bodied  and easy to drink with bright, juicy dark fruit flavours. Tannin structure and oak influence are secondary but it doesn't matter because the balance is there and this certainly won't break the bank. Look for it on special - it can be found for under a tenner. $12.99. www.houghton-wines.com.au

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Lane Block 10 Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

I'm out and proud this summer - happy to say that I'm drinking more sauvignon blanc than I have for several years. The reason is that excessive green/herbal characters are out, as are over-ripe tropical flavours. More Australian savvy blancs are being made with a deft touch like this one from the cool Adelaide Hills, where the fruit is grown in limestone vineyards, adding tangy minerality. It is unmistakeably varietal but with all the harsh edges removed. Think fresh citrus notes, fresh leafiness, some white stone fruit notes, and that vibrant line of acid minerality. One for enjoying well-chilled as an after-work pick-me-up, or paired with spicy Asian seafood dishes like sambal pink ling. Drinkability plus. $25. www.thelane.com.au. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Mesh 2017 Eden Valley Riesling

In these days of instant gratification, it is rewarding to come across a white wine that is constructed with longevity at least partially in mind. Mesh is a joint venture between Jeff Grosset and the Hill-Smith family of Yalumba and uses Eden Valley fruit to produce a wine that is certainly approachable now but will shine with time in the bottle. The 2012 vintage, available as a classic release, is stunning.Think lemon/lime notes, talcum powder and fresh acid on the finish. Classy and excellent value. $30.