Thursday, June 29, 2023

Mercer 2023 Picpoul Blanc

You don't find a lot of picpoul in Australia. The white grape, sometimes called piquepoul blanc, or folle blanche, or gros plant, is one of the older varieties in the far south of the Languedoc, adjacent to the Mediterranean. This is very good take on the variety from Hunter Valley-based winemaker Aaron Mercer using fruit from the cooler Central Ranges of NSW. It is a vibrant wine that is alive with the joys of youth and would pair brilliantly - as does the French original - with freshly shucked oysters. This has some vibrant citrus notes, bright, crunchy structure, lively acid and immediate drinkability. Don't both waiting for this one - enjoy it as soon as possible, well chilled, either with shellfish or dishes with some spice. $30.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Yalumba 2019 The Signature

The Signature is one of Yalumba's benchmark wines, a classic South Australian blend of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz that since 1962 has borne the signature/s and story of individuals who have made a significant contribution to the culture and traditions of the family-owned winery. For 2019, veteran winemaker Kevin Glastonbury and viticulturist Robin Nettelbeck are honoured and they will be very proud of the wine. It is inky and precocious but finishes immensely soft and smooth on the palate. Dark berry flavours, fine tannin structure, hints of minerality, freshness and astutely judged oak combine to produce a wine with both immediate appeal and cellaring potential. This is both serious and stylish.  $65.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Snake + Herring 2022 Bizarre Love Triangle


You've got to love this one for its name alone. The Snake + Herring winery may be only just over a decade old, but the Margaret River-based producer has made a big impact for both quality and value, sourcing fruit from vineyards across Western Australia. This is a very tasty blend of pinot gris, gewurztraminer and riesling made using fruit from the Great Southern. It's a wine with a lively palate, mineral and spice hints, and plenty of palate interest while also delivering a lot of dry, fruity but textural refreshment. A perfect choice for daytime quaffing on the back deck, or pairing with spicy Asian flavours. But maybe not a BLT. $27.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Cullen 2022 Kevin John Chardonnay

 It is a strange anomaly that Australia's finest white wines are far more affordable than our top reds. This is one of our star chardonnays, named in honour of the Cullen family patriarch. Made from fruit farmed organically and biodynamically from the family's Wilyabrup estate in Margaret River, it is absolutely luminescent with intense fruit but impeccable balance. The juice spent six months in 50% new French oak puncheons and was bottled without fining or filtration, retaining as many vineyard elements as possible. Impressively varietal, but with a special something. If this was a song it would have been produced by Phil Spector - and was even better after having been opened for 24 hours. Length, concentration and drive. 97 points from me. $180.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Vintage Logbottom 2021 H Adelaide Hills Syrah


There are so many choices when you enter a bottle shop these days. It is often easier to opt for a familiar brand. But there are so many small, family-owned businesses who offer something a little bit different and deserve support. I've been tasting through some excellent recent releases from Adelaide Hills-based Vintage Longbottom in recent weeks and they are a case in point. A mother/daughter operation, Margo and Kim Longbottom are crafting delicious - and affordable - wines under their H label. This is a very savoury shiraz, released under the French name syrah, with elegant red fruit flavours, astutely judged older French oak and hints of cool-climate pepper. Impressively retrained, this is a versatile food wine, and it offers terrific drinking for around $30.