Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Lane Black 10 Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

I'm out and proud this summer - happy to say that I'm drinking more sauvignon blanc than I have for several years. The reason is that excessive green/herbal characters are out, as are over-ripe tropical flavours. More Australian savvy blancs are being made with a deft touch like this one from the cool Adelaide Hills, where the fruit is grown in limestone vineyards, adding tangy minerality. It is unmistakeably varietal but with all the harsh edges removed. Think fresh citrus notes, fresh leafiness, some white stone fruit notes, and that vibrant line of acid minerality. One for enjoying well-chilled as an after-work pick-me-up, or paired with spicy Asian seafood dishes like sambal pink ling. Drinkability plus. $25. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Mesh 2017 Eden Valley Riesling

In these days of instant gratification, it is rewarding to come across a white wine that is constructed with longevity at least partially in mind. Mesh is a joint venture between Jeff Grosset and the Hill-Smith family of Yalumba and uses Eden Valley fruit to produce a wine that is certainly approachable now but will shine with time in the bottle. The 2012 vintage, available as a classic release, is stunning.Think lemon/lime notes, talcum powder and fresh acid on the finish. Classy and excellent value. $30.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Domaine Saint Etienne 2012 Rouge Barrique

The price of even village Burgundy has gone through the roof; while good Bordeaux can cost an arm and a leg but fortunately for lovers of French-accented wines there is still terrific value to be found in the wines of south-west France. This is one such wine, from the Quercy appellation near Cahors, fully mature and full of regional character. It is made by the Gisbert family, who have been growing grapes since 1778, and imported by Thomas Gisbert, born and raised on the family vineyard and who runs La Mosaique wine imports in Melbourne. Aged in mainly older oak and using fruit from 40-year-old vines, this is a blend of "sustainably farmed" cabernet franc, merlot and cot (malbec) that has delightful balance, cassis and savoury notes, and carries just 12.5% alcohol. Seriously characterful for $35    

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Ferngrove 2017 Dry-Style Riesling

The remote Frankland River region of Western Australia has become a "go to" region for riesling lovers with some excellent quality and value to be found across the board. This very good example from Ferngrove highlights the quality cool-climate fruit and bright natural acidity found in the area. Floral, refreshing and with a hint of spice from the addition of a tiny portion of gewurztraminer, this is disturbingly drinkable with citrus notes, some sweet fruit and a solid acid backbone. Pair with pan-fried whiting fillets or take it to a Vietnamese eatery. $20.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Levantine Hill 2014 Syrah

With ambitious owners in Elias Jreissati and his family and a world-class winemaker in Paul Bridgeman, few newer wine labels can match the fast upward trajectory of Levantine Hill in the Yarra Valley. This is a classic example of cool-climate shiraz: it is a beautifully poised wine, with the elegance and structure both hitting high notes. This plush but perky number is a blend of nine different parcels of fruit and was recently won the overall syrah/shiraz trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London - a serious heavyweight award. The judges there praised its "beautifully aromatic bouquet of lavender, musk, sweet spices and red berries" and described it as "full-bodied without being heavy: stunning". Well worth seeking out a bottle or two. Bugger anyone else; treat yourself to a bottle or two of this over the holidays. $85.   

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Cullen 2016 Kevin John Chardonnay

I tend to come over all gushy when I'm reviewing the high-end wines from Vanya Cullen and her talented Margaret River team of organic/biodynamic artists. Here I go again with a superbly calibrated chardonnay that ranks as world class. Unfined and unfiltered, this was wild-yeast fermented in barriques, puncheons and amphorae, underwent natural malo and was then matured for 10 months in French oak barrels (around one-third of which were new). The fruit used comes from 40+-year-old vines and was hand-picked and whole-bunch pressed. Think white peach, nectarine and some brioche/cream flavours that match with intense minerality and crispness on the finish. Pair with char-grilled king prawns for a Christmas treat. 96/100.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

All Saints 2017 Rosa Rosé

If you like a story behind your wine then this is named after the Brown family's maternal grandmother, Rosa, who used to enjoy a glass of rosé while playing cards. Light, crisp, delicate and refreshing, it is a blend of sangiovese (55%) and cabernet sauvignon (45%) that is more subtle than many North-East Victorian offerings. It's a food-friendly, drink-now style best enjoyed well chilled. Even better, the custom-made bottle is a cracker, with a schmicko Vin-O-Lok glass stopper. Remember the days when you stuck a candle is an empty bottle of Mateus Rosé or Chianti? Or maybe not. Those days could be back! $32.