Sunday, August 26, 2018

Shaw+Smith 2018 Sauvignon Blanc

The wine industry is constantly looking for the next big thing. A new style, a new variety. Back in 1989, when it was first released, Shaw+Smith sauvignon blanc was the next big thing. This wine helped pave the wave for sauvignon blanc's immense popularity over the past 30 years and remains a "go to" wine for many of the nation's leading sommeliers. A sustainably-produced Adelaide Hills benchmark, it is slightly tweaked each year by winemaker Adam Wadewitz, depending on the vintage, but it remains supremely stylish with zippy grapefruit characters on the palate. Outstanding with fresh seafood and best enjoyed in its youth, this remains is as fashionable as ever. $27.    

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Gemtree 2016 Ernest Allen Shiraz

You don't have to spend a motza to buy a McLaren Vale shiraz of real style and character. Mike Brown at Gemtree has the Midas touch with his premium organic fruit, producing a range of styles at various price points. This is both organic and biodynamic and immediately captured my affection with its intensity and superb balance. Brown says it is made "naturally" then spends 18 months in French oak. Ernest Allan was a market gardener and the grandfather of Melissa Buttery, viticulturist and co-owner at Gemtree. The wine has fruit sweetness, oak, tannins and acidity all perfectly in place. If someone told you it was twice the price you would not bat an eyelid. Bring on a fillet steak and French mustard. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Jim Barry 2018 Lodge Hill Riesling

There is a whole lot of pleasure to be found in the zesty, crispness of refreshing new-release Clare Valley rieslings. In most years I prefer the entry-level Jim Barry Watervale Riesling ($20) to its slightly more serious sibling, but in 2018 it is the Lodge Hill that is shining brightly in its youth, perhaps to celebrate its new-look label. In a very dry Clare vintage, drip irrigation paid a key role in keeping the fruit fresh and lively. The higher-altitude Lodge Hill vineyard's cool nights encourage slower ripening and the end result is a very vibrant, citrus-driven dry wine with terrific acid, balance and appeal. Match with a Thai green curry or stir-fried prawns for maximum gratification. $25.