Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Mount Horrocks 2021 Nero d'Avola

It is a complete mystery why we do not see more wines made from Nero d'Avola in Australia. The Sicilian grape variety is very compatible with Australian conditions and produces medium-bodied European-accented wines that are perfect for the local lifestyle. Stephanie Toole at Mount Horrocks planted Nero d'Avola in 2007 after trying a Sicilian wine in Italy. She's been leading the charge ever since with food-friendly wines that are made using older oak, adding texture. This has lip-smacking red and dark fruit notes allied to some black cherry flavours and is beautifully balanced. Pair with pasta with a game ragu, or maybe a cheese platter. Ready for immediate enjoyment. $45. https://www.mounthorrocks.com/

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

d'Soumah 2022 Tutto Bianco


An unusual white blend from the Yarra Valley - but also a very refreshing and vibrant drink perfect for enjoying with fritto misto, or fish and chips. It is a crisp and lively blend of savagnin, chardonnay, viognier and pinot grigio, all grown on the estate-owned Hexham Vineyard. All four varieties are picked and fermented separately with the chardonnay and viognier going into barrels and savagnin and pinot grigio in tanks. The parcels are later blended together to craft a quintessential summer wine. Very well priced. $28. www.soumah.com.au   

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Brokenwood 2019 Graveyard Shiraz

Oops. I messed up with this one. When it arrived I put it aside for a month or two to ensure it was in peak form when I tasted it. Graveyard is one of Australia's great red wines, and you don't want to risk it being suffering from bottle shock after travelling all the way from the Hunter Valley. Somehow it got shuffled back on the tasting bench, only be discovered last week. At four years of age it was drinking magnificently - but it is now sold out at the winery and in short supply in retail. Apologies to the Brokenwood team. For anyone able to source a bottle, or pluck one from their cellar, it is a classic, pulling off the difficult trick of combining power and elegance - like a prima ballerina. There is dark brambly fruit, spice and a supple palate with delightful balance and impeccable structure. Pair with a rabbit casserole. $350. https://www.brokenwood.com.au/

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Chateau Tanunda 2022 Grand Barossa Chardonnay


The Barossa is not normally where I would look for a chardonnay: the Yarra Valley, perhaps, the Mornington Peninsula, the Adelaide Hills, or Tasmania. That said, this is a well-priced and rather delicious chardonnay that has been picked early to retain fresh fruit flavours and some brisk acidity. Very stylish given its price point, this is surprisingly vital and elegant as well as being extremely food Very food friendly, this is largely unoaked, but a portion was matured in older French oak to add some palate interest and structure. Drink now, chilled, but not too chilled. Pair with some pork chops slathered in mushrooms. A well balanced wine from a good vintage. A solid 93 points from me. $25. https://www.chateautanundacellar.com/

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard 2018 Cabernet Shiraz


Here's a mature wine - ready to enjoy right now - that is also a current release from Brian Croser's excellent Tapanappa stable of wines. Fresh and juicy, but also stylish and sophisticated, it is a blend of Australia's two classic red varieties from two regions: the cabernet from the Whalebone Vineyard on the Limestone Coast and the shiraz grapes from Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills. It has dark mulberry and blackcurrant fruit flavours and savoury notes in impressive harmony. There is a lot happening on the palate but the end result is a wine of balance and structure, with impressive tannins. There is some cedary French oak on the scene, as well, but playing a support role. Pair with a lamb casserole and enjoy with good friends. $55. https://tapanappa.com.au/

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Moss Wood 2020 Ribbon Vale Cabernet Sauvignon

The Mugford family at Moss Wood rarely puts a foot wrong, regardless of the grape variety, or the vintage. This is a classic Margaret River cabernet from the Ribbon Vale vineyard; very stylish but with a hint of confident swagger. The dark cabernet fruit is aided and abetted by small amounts of cabernet franc, merlot and malbec in a classic Bordeaux blend. This is concentrated, but has an elegant tannin structure that makes it immediately accessible - while it is also a very solid cellaring bet. Enjoy with a roast lamb and all the trimmings. $76. www.mosswood.com.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Jean-Claude Mas 2021 Pay d'OC Le Rosé


Pale, dry and delightfully French - this would make lovely Valentine's Day gift. This Languedoc rosé is part of the new - and striking - Le Fleur collection from Jean-Claude Mas, a master of both winemaking and marketing. From vineyards planted on an old saltwater marsh, this savoury and saline drop is a blend of grenache gris, grenache noir, pinot gris, cinsaut and the rare caladoc hybrid. A very fresh and vibrant wine, it is perfect for picnics, or for supping on the back porch. The range also includes a n equally impressive 2021 pinot grigio. Both are $19.99 at Dan Murphy's stores. https://www.paulmas.com/     

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Kirrihill 2020 Partner Series Shiraz


Kirrihilll's Partner Series range not only offers some very good value, it also showcases some of the unsung heroes of the wine industry; the growers who nurture the grape vines. This one pays tribute to Clare Valley grower Matt Lawson and his family. Lawson also happens to be the Kirrihill CEO. It is a generously flavoured red with plenty of personality that would probably be best enjoyed with a juicy steak. Think dark currant fruit flavours, some smoky oak characters, a hint of pepper and lashings of fruit sweetness allied to plenty of length. Impressive value. $30. https://www.kirrihill.com.au

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Pikes 2022 The Merle Riesling


One of the great joys of classic Clare Valley rieslings is that they can either be enjoyed in their vibrant youth, or as mature wines full of personality. This one is drinking brilliantly right now - and was a star turn when matched with lobster rolls and perinaise sauce. This flagship wine is at a delightful stage of its development and has come together brilliantly while retaining its delicate and delicious zingy citrus flavours, alongside some slatey minerality and a lovely fresh acid core. It is named after the family matriarch and is made using selected parcels of fruit from the Pike family's Polish Hill River Estate. $55. https://www.pikeswines.com.au/

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Brand's Laira 2016 Stentiford's Old Vines Shiraz


This is an absolute pleasure to drink; a very classy, mature Coonawarra shiraz that's in the zone right now. It is made from grapes grown on the Laira vines that are over 120 years old and producing a wine that offers plenty of depth, lovely complexity on the palate and lots of drinking pleasure. Dark, with subtle hints of spice and an impressive tannin structure, it finishes satisfyingly soft and smooth. This one deserves to be enjoyed at a dinner party with friends, or family, preferable paired with a rare steak, or a mushroom fricasée. Very classy. $80. https://www.brandslaira.com/  

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Pommery Brut Rosé NV

A glass or two of Champagne is often enough for me, but not with this delicious wine, which was prodigiously potable. Currently available in an attractive Mandala gift box, this is a lovely aperitif-style bubbly with a Bouzy Grand Cru pinot noir added to the traditional blend of the Brut Royal. It is a delightfully pale pink in colour and very fresh and elegant on the palate, which offers strawberries and cream flavours alongside a delicate, lively finish. Perfect with canapes, or maybe some smoked salmon blinis. $110. www.champagnepommery.com

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Vinaceous 2022 Vaudeville Range Sirenya Pinot Grigio


Superb summer drinking here, best enjoyed chilled on a warm day. This ultra-refreshing white wine utilises fruit from Mount Barker in Western Australia's Great Southern Region. There is nothing too complicated here; just lip-smackingly delicious fresh fruit flavours. Fresh, lively, and bright, this has pear and green apple characters on a palate that has mineral elements but is most noteworthy for fresh, vibrant acidity. Pair this with a seafood platter or salt and pepper squid. One for enjoying while it is young and juicy. You certainly won't miss the label. $22. www.vinaceous.com.au/