Monday, May 30, 2022

Cullen 2019 Vanya Full Moon Cabernet Sauvignon

Here is something a bit special that you'll need to move swiftly to acquire, as only 768 bottles were made. Crafted from vines planted in 1971, this is winemaker Vanya Cullen's pride and joy: a cabernet of remarkable purity and energy that underlines the benefits of biodynamic and organic agriculture and minimal additions. Made from 100% cabernet sauvignon that was harvested "under the full Moon on a fruit day" that has wonderful balance and poise. Every sip offers a different nuance of flavours including chocolate and Asian spices. Minerally, with dark fruits, impeccable balance and a panoply of subtle flavour notes, it finishes plush and full. 96/100 from me. On tasting at the Cullen cellar door in Margaret River later this week. Priced for a special occasion. $650.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Xanadu 2020 Reserve Chardonnay


Margaret River's Xanadu winery is renowned for its consistent excellence and this new-release reserve chardonnay is right on target. This is 10th consecutive release of the reserve chardonnay with 100% of the fruit from the Lagan estate vineyard. Medium-bodied, textural, minerally and barrel fermented but with a definite feminine side, this has a classic amalgam of citrus and white stone fruit flavours, with restrained quality oak and some sea spray on the rocks character lurking in the background. Drink now, or cellar for a few years. Pair with maybe roast spatchcock or other poultry dishes. $110 but seriously delicious and 97/100 from me. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Payne's Rise 2019 Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon


If you enjoy your cabernet on the leaner, cool-climate elegance side of the red wine spectrum then this nifty tribute to Bordeaux will be right up your alley. There is nothing wine reviewers like less than being nudged about why a wine has not been reviewed, but this little gem truly had slipped through the cracks. This was released to mark 20 years of Upper Yarra Valley winery Payne's Rise, and is notable for its style and structure, although ideally it should be cellared for a few more years. Think restrained dark berry, slight herbal and minty characters. A lovely drink now or later. $55.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Petaluma 2019 Yellow Label Coonawarra Merlot

Seriously good merlot is not always easy to find in Australia, but this one shines. Petaluma makes wines across the Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley and Coonawarra, and this underlines how impressively shiny merlot can be when handled well. The talented Teresa Heuzenroeder recently took over as winemaker, but this was crafted by Mike Mudge. This smooth operator can either be enjoyed in its youth, or cellared medium term. It is savoury with impressive structure from maturation in larger format French oak. but has delightful immediate approachability, Pair with a steak and kidney casserole. $68.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Thorne Clark Varietal Collection 2020 Grenache

The Varietal Collection is a new range of well-priced individual varietal wines from reliable Barossa producer Thorne Clarke, which boasts six generations of viticultural history. This is a lovely medium-bodied wine that proved a major hit with my tasting group and was an admirable foil for a cheese platter. There are juicy strawberry and red cherry fruit characters, along with earthy and savoury notes. Nicely balanced, even at 14.5% alcohol, this would pair with a wide range of red and white meat dishes. It is unfined, unfiltered and very Australian with its robust charm. $30.