Thursday, August 31, 2023

Wickhams Road 2023 Yea Valley Riesling


This is just the second release of what is arguably the best sub-$20 dry riesling in Australia. The d'Anna family of Hoddles Creek fame in the Yarra Valley are sourcing fruit for some of their entry-level Wickhams Road wines from the unheralded Yea Valley, around 100km north of Melbourne. They've struck gold with this little parcel of deliciousness, and a similarly impressive cabernet franc. This is perfumed, bright and juicy with really zingy acid and lip-smacking citrus flavours to the fore. A portion has seen oak foudre treatment for added complexity but it is zippy, youthful appeal that is the selling point. $20.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Gundog Estate 2023 Wild Semillon


Youthful Hunter semillon can often be challenging when first released given its high acidity, which can dominate the palate. Matt Burton from Gundog Estate produces a range of semillons in various styles, and this one pushes the boundaries a little by fermenting a portion of the wine on skins (like a red wine) using indigenous yeasts. This results in a more complex and interesting style with just a hint of residual sugar (10gl). There are more fleshy stone fruit and herbal notes than in most Hunter semillons, and this would pair well with everything from Thai stir fries to our choice, which was a crumbed veal schnitzel. $35.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Clonakilla 2022 Shiraz Viognier


Red wine blended with some white? It sounded absurd when it was first mooted. But the folk in the Rhone Valley know a bit about wine - and the Kirk family were happy to follow in the footsteps of their experience when they launched what was to become an Australian wine benchmark back in 1992. Dr John Kirk planted a small amount of viognier at his Murrumbateman vineyard near Canberra in the mid 1980s and in 1992 his son, Tim, co-fermented a small batch of the viognier fruit with shiraz. An Australian benchmark wine was born. The new-release 2022 is one of the finest over the 30-year period. From a cool vintage in a cool region this is intense, spicy, beautifully balanced at just 13% alcohol. Complex, pretty and completely satisfying. Think a professional dancer: core strength but lightness of foot. $120 - and worth it. Perhaps a Father's Day gift. 97 points.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Terrre a Terre 2021 Crayeres Cabernet Franc

Cabernet franc is often used, usually in small amounts, as a blending component in Bordeaux-influenced red wines. Here it is the star of the show - a headliner well worth sampling. This is the seventh vintage of this wine, which comprises 91% cab franc and 9% shiraz in 2021 from the chalky/limestone Crayeres vineyard in Wrattonbully. Floral, soft and appealing, this is a welcome option to some of the bigger wines emanating from South Australia. It's just a little bit floral, a tad sassy, and a beguiling drink where less is much more. Drink now with a mushroom casserole, or pork and eggplant stir-fry, or cellar for up to decade. A lovely drink. $35.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Grosset 2021 Gaia

Jeffrey Grosset is best known for his stellar range of precise rieslings, made in a diverse range of styles. His Clare Valley rieslings are an Australian benchmark. What is less well known is that Grosset also makes a selection of other wines - all organic and biodynamic - that are equally excellent, but often produced in tiny quantities. This beguiling blend of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc is a case in point, with just 250 cases made. It is quite dark and inky with classic dark currant flavours to the fore but it also has a certain style to it - of particular note is the intense but silky palate. One you can drink now, or cellar with confidence. Indisputably delicious. $110.