Monday, June 25, 2018

Yangarra 2015 Ironheart Shiraz

Winemaker Peter Fraser and his team are really getting the best out their certified organic and biodynamic vines at Kangarilla in McLaren Vale. This is Yangarra flagship and the fruit comes from a 20-year-old single vineyard which produces reds of both power and elegance. This is a delicious wine of superb balance that speaks of its sense of place. It is a wine with intensity and complexity but it never tips over into being over-powering. There is 25% whole bunch here, open fermenters, wild yeast ferment and lees treatment. Almost 50% new oak for 15 months, but the fruit soaks it up. If you like bigger reds with a sense of style and swagger this dark and inky number will be a winner. 96/100. $105.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

d'Arenberg 2017 The Hermit Crab

If this isn't one of the best-value white wines out there, then I walk like an Egyptian. Often overlooked given the massive range of wines produced by d'Arenberg in McLaren Vale, this blend of viognier and marsanne, two varieties originally from the Rhone Valley in France, shines when matched with food. The fruit is basket-pressed with a small proportion matured in older oak and the end result is a wine that manages to be both refreshing and texturally interesting - all for the bargain basement cost of $15. Think candied fruit and nut characters with a dry finish and crisp acid. Impressive.    

Monday, June 11, 2018

Ten Minutes by Tractor 2016 Coolart Road Pinot Noir

Depending on the vintage, my favourite Ten Minutes by Tractor pinot has generally been the McCutcheon, then the Judd and then the Wallis. All are among the Mornington Peninsula's finest expressions of pinot noir. This time around, to my surprise, it is the younger vines of the Coolart Road vineyard that shone brightly (all are superb and we are talking stylistic hair-splitting here). First planted in 2000, and now 100% pinot noir, the site is a relative warm one, with fruit ripening two weeks earlier that the other 10X vineyards. It is much darker and more savoury than we have seen in the past; and that earthy substance makes it more of a cellaring prospect than previously. Pair with rare duck breast, or a platter of salumi. FYI, the Judd was my second favourite this time around. $78.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Artwine 2018 The Real Thing Albarino

One of the first 2018 vintage wines to his the market is this debut albarino from Artwine in the Adelaide Hills, grown on the Woodside vineyard. Like many in Australia, owners Judy and Glen Kelly initially planned to plant albarino in 2009. It was then discovered the "albarino" rootlings in Australia were actually savagnin. This really is albarino - and it is a lovely young wine, deliciously vibrant. It is made in a fresh, drink-young style, like a lot of alvarinho in Portugal, with vibrant grapefruit and apricot flavours to the fore, along with some flinty minerality. Well worth checking out for $30.