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Red Wine Tastings

On a monthly basis this website will feature a small selection of recommended, highly recommended and outstanding wines that I taste as part of my ongoing research to produce future guide.

Ratings Key

Ratings Score range Description
Outstanding

 95 - 100

Often an internationally recognised, leading brand or winery - but not always! Produces a classic wine that is a faultless representation of the style/variety. Complexity on the nose and a seamless palate are an example of the hallmarks of an outstanding wine.
Highly Recommended

92 - 94

A quality focused wine that has plenty of style. Length of palate and intensity are often key characteristics of highly recommended wines. These producers could be the ones to watch in the future.
Recommended

89  - 91

An above average well-made, reflection of the style/variety, which often represents good value for money. 

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Rose and Red Wines

2016/2017 Tasting Notes

Peter Lehmann Stonewall Shiraz 2012, Barossa Valley, SA. 14.5%. deep inky appearance. The nose opens with lashings of blackberry, cassis, mochal and dark chocolate. Full bodied intense rich palate finishing with a nice tannic grip. Outstanding $100.00

d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz, McLaren Vale, SA. 14.6%. Black fruit and enticing cooked meat and salami notes. Well balanced palate with black cherry fruit. Well structured quality wine. Highly recommended $65.00

De Bortoli Vinoque Nebbiolo Rose, Yarra Valley, Victoria. 13%. Nebbiolo makes good rose and this wine proves it. Lovely textured palate with bags of flavour. Fleshy, redcurrant and cherry fruit. Long finish. Highly Recommended $25.00

Kalleske Clarry's GSM 2016, 14.5% Barossa Valley, SA. Lovely, rich fruitcake, vanilla and sweet spice nose. Ripe stewed fruits on the palate. Full bodied, finishing dry and slightly tannic. $21.00 Well priced. Recommended.

Robert Oatley Signature Series GSM. 2015, Barossa Valley, SA. Redcurrant and floral hints on the nose. Seamless palate with sweet red fruit grenache dominating. medium bodied and extremely drnkable. Highly Recommended.

Henschke Henry's Seven 2015. Barossa Valley. 14.5%. Hint of white pepper and violets in this Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro and Viognier blend. Smooth velvet palate. Well integrated cherry flavours with a powdery tanninc finish. Very complex and very elegant. Outstanding RRP 37.00

Riorret Pinot Noir, Lusatia Park, 2015, Yarra Valley, Victoria. Spice and oak drive nose. redcurrant flavours, lovely depth of fruit and lush middle palate. Medium plus finish. Highly recommended.

Water Wheel Memsie Shiraz 2014, Bendigo Victoria. Probably the best value for money wine I tasted whilst composing the 6th edition, Peppery nose, bags of sweet red fruit. Jammy, full bodied. Recommended RRP $13.00

Vinea Marson Nebbiolo,Heathcote. 2012 14%. Mushroom, earthy and peaty. elegant well balanced acidity and tannin. nice cherry fruit on the palate, practically Barolo like. Highly Recommended

Robert Oatley " The Pennant' Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 13.5%. Herbaceous leafy nose. Sweet fruit cassis driven palate. Full bodied. long elegant finish. Beautifully balanced. Highly Recommended

Thorn Clarke Sandpiper Barossa Shiraz 2015. 14% cooking spice and pencil shaving nose with ripe jammy fruit. Dry full bodied palate with a well balanced palate. Great value for money. Recommended $19.00

De Bortoli Woodfired Heathcote Shiraz 2015. 14.5%. Deep sweet vanilla driven palate. Full bodied, round and rich. Soft if any tannins. Recommended RRP $24.85

Water Wheel Bendigo Shiraz 2014. Suprising strong white pepper on the nose. Soft sweet fruit, a hint cooked but has enough style to finish dry. Great value for money. RRP $18 Recommended

Robert Oatley Heathcote Shiraz 2015, 14%. Hint of cedar oak. Full bodied by restrained and well balanced. Blackberry sweet fruit with a warm satisfying fniish. Highly Recommended

Primo Estate Shale Stone Shiraz 2015, McLaren Vale. Spicy and soft ripe blackberry fruit. Dry, rich full bodied and slightly tannic. Well made. Recommended RRP $33

Montrose Black Shiraz, Mudgee 2014. Blackberry fruit driven wine. Powerful and full bodied. Silky tannins. Highly Recommended.

Home Hill Estate Landslide Pinot Noir 2015 13.5% red cherry and redcurrant focused wine. light and finely balanced palate. Recommended $25 rrp

Home Hill Estate Pinot Noir 2015 13.6%. Firm but flavoursome pinot with cherry and oak expertly matched. Textured palate but retaining its pinosity. Long finish. Outstanding rrp $42

Home Hill Estate Kelly's Reserve Pinot Noir 2015 13.9% More intense and robust than the estate Pinot as you'd expect. Slightly more oak driven palate and raised acid and tannin levels indicating a wine to keep. Needs another 5 years. Outstanding RRP $75

Taylors' Merlot Clare Valley 2015. Plum and herbal aromas with cedar and leaf. Rich full bodied palate with a dry tannic finish. Big for a merlot. Recommended.

Nicholson River Estate Merlot 2014, East Gippsland. Herbal and leafy nose. Plum palate with velvet medium bodied elegance. Long finish so Highly Recommended

Primo Estate Merlesco, 2016 McLaren Vale, 13%. Merlot based wine showing perfumed violet, cherry and fruitcake. Rich soft fruits medium plus body. Well priced. Recommended. RRP $18

Nicholson River Estate Syrah 2014 13%, East Gippsland. Lovely cooler climate shiraz displaying white pepper notes. Sweet plum driven palate, medium bodied soft with hardly any tannins. Recommended

Henry's Drive Shiraz, Padthaway, 14.5% Rich black fruit driven nose. Intense fruit driven plalate with some graphite pencil oak notes, dry long tannic finish. Hightly Recommended

Lowe Mudgee Blue Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. 13.8%, Mudgee. rustic old cedar oak nose with some warm raspberry and cranberry fruits. Dry medium bodied elegant palate with a fine dusty tannic finish. Well balanced. rrp $30 Recommended.

Henry's Drive Magnus Shiraz 2012, Padthaway. 15.5%Intense powerful wine with rich cassis and blackberry. Licorice and dark chocolate palate with a tannic kick on the finish. Recommended

Byrne Shiraz Reserve 2013, Clare Valley.Sweet mullberry and stewed fruits. Rich and ripe palate with a dry savoury finish. Recommended

Thorn Clarke Single Vineyard Ron Thorn 2014, Barossa Valley,14.5%. intense black cherry and cedar oak aromas. Licorice and dark chocolate with a hint of sweet leather on the palate. Full bodied, dry well structured. Complex flavours with the oak underpinning the wine. rrp$95.Outstanding

Lowe Block 8 Organic Shiraz 2013, Mudgee. Herbal and anise with slight fennel and cedar oak. A dry medium bodied wine with round palate but finishing dry and tannic. RRP $35 Receommended

Lowe Zinfandel 2013, Mudgee. Plum cake and raisin notes, Ripe red cherry palate with a velvety slipper texture. Tannins build to a firm dry finish. You dont notice the alcohol showing good integration. RRP $75. Highly Recommended

Jasper Hill Nebbiolo 2015, Heathcote,Victoria, Concentrated nose displaying red cherry, redcurrants and floral notes. Savoury palate with powerful tannins, licorice and aniseed flavours. Long long finish. Bang on for the grape variety. One of the best Australian Nebbiolo's I've ever tasted. Outstanding.

Curly Flat White Pinot 2015, Macedon, Victoria. A lovely rose with a floral nose and fresh cherries. Crisp palate, dry with medium plus length. Firm and a slight hint of warmth on the back palate but all this makes it into a serious rose. Well priced $25. Outstanding

Curly Flat Pinot Noir 2013, Macedon, Victoria. attractive highly aromatic nose with vanilla and red cherry. Dry, light bodied, lelegant palate with medium acidity and a slightly grainy tannic finish. $50 Highly Recommended

Craiglee Shiraz 2013, Sunbury, Victoria. black fruit driven nose with some cedar oak. Lovely medium bodied wine with a subtle tannin finish. Cool climate shiraz. Recommended.

Paringa Estate Peniinsula Shiraz 2015, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. Lovely cooking spice notes with a hint of white pepper. Medium bodied wine, elegant and supple. Contains 5% Viognier. Highly Recommended $28

Paringa Estate Peninsula Pinot Noir 2015, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. Lovely redcurrant nose. Juicy fruit driven palate with hints of cedar and new oak. Easy immediate drinking Pinot. Recommended $27

Freycinet Vineyards Pinot Noir 2014, East Coast, Tasmania. Ripe redcurrant focused nose. Savoury palate with cherry skins, dry tannic structure, long length. Highly Recommended.

Freycinet Vineyards Cabernet Merlot 2013, East Coast, Tasmania. Black cherry, blackberry fruits. Juicy palate indicating lovely acidity for a change. The wine finishes with dry powdery tannins and hints of licorice. Highly Recommend

Innocent Bystanders Mia Culpa Syrah 2013. complex, lots of spice and lovely tannin structure, Full bodied dry chewy tannic finish. Outstanding $75.00

Leconfield Shiraz 2014, McLaren Vale, SA. deep and inky appearance. Strong ripe plums with lashings of vanilla oak. Smooth, dry and full bodied. Soft supple powdery tannins, rich palate, a little warm on the finish. Recommended.

Clairault Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Margaret River, WA. cooking spice and new oak nose. Ripe blackberry fruits with hints of plum. Medium bodied with dry tannins, well structured and varietally spot on the palate with an herbaceous edge to it. Recommended. $27.00

Singlefile Shiraz 2013, Riversdale Vineyard, Frankland River, Great Southern, WA. Very Rhone like with struck match, earth and cedar. Hint medicinal and farm yard - very un-Australian. Smooth dry and silky palate brings me back to the New World. Well integrated and savoury with a long finish. Highly Recommended $37.00

2015 Tasting Notes

d’Arenberg 2012 The Conscious Biosphere Aglianico Petit Sirah. McLaren Vale, SA. A lovely (85/15) blend showing earthy, leathery notes from aglianico with some complimentary black fruits from petit sirah (AKA durif) Soft fruit driven, medium bodied palate with a dry tannic finish. $28.00 Recommended

d’Arenberg 2010 The Cenosilicaphobic Cat Sangrantino Cinsault. McLaren Vale, SA.  85/15 blend again. This is a lovely wine with red cherries and cedar oak, earthy nose. The palate is more fruit driven with some clove and cedar. The tannins are there (this is one of the worlds most tannic varieties) but well managed. $28.00 Highly recommended   

d’Arenberg 2012 Ironstone Pressings, McLaren Vale, SA GSM blend 70/25/5. Stunning wine full of dark chocolate, cinnamon and cedar oak aromas. Dry, medium plus body with sweet cherry fruits and an herbal edge. Mouth filling grainy tannins, medium plus finish.  $65.00 Outstanding


d’Arenberg 2012 The Coppermine Road, McLaren Vale, SA. Cassis and black fruit driven with a leafy herbaceous edge. Black cherry fruit on the palate with an amazing tannin profile described by Chester as “Barolo like” $65.00 Highly Recommended

d’Arenberg 2012 The Dead Arm Shiraz, McLaren Vale, SA. Cooked meat, salami notes, also some stewed fruits. Well balanced palate with black fruit flavours producing medium plus finish. Slightly closed, it needed more time in the glass. $65.00 Recommended

KT Churinga Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Watervale, Clare Valley SA. Nice depth of black fruit but with a slightly herbaceous edge. Full bodied with well integrated stylish tannins. Solid wine well made. $36.00 Highly Recommended

Rosemount Estate GSM 2013, McLaren Vale,SA. Rich chocolate and vanilla oak nose. Powerful full bodied wine driven by black fruits and mint. Crowd pleaser. RRP 36.00 Highly Recommended

Longview Boats Shed Nebbiolo Rose 2014. Adelaide Hills, SA Cherry with perfumed scented roses on the nose. Fleshy and intense palate with some degree of confectionary. Powerful rose. RRP $18.99 Highly Recommended

Briar Ridge Karl Stockhausen Shiraz 2011. Although turning 80 soon legendary Hunter winemaker Karl Stockhausen is still consulted on the make up of this wine. Powerful red fruits with plum and redcurrants to the fore. Some well handled new oak. Dry lifted fruit as well as spice and savoury notes. Medium tannins, well balanced with some astutely handled but noticeable tannins adding structure. Well priced. Hightly Recommended RRP $28 to members

Briar Ridge HRB Shiraz Pinot Noir 2013, Hunter Valley, NSW. 52 to 48% split with the Pinot coming off the Briar Ridge block. It is surprising the amount of Pinot that pops up in the Hunter. HRB denotes the old Hunter River Burgundy name that was used in the Hunter for many years and this wine harks back to the days when they field blended their wines. Perfumed, clove black cherry nose that is more pinot than shiraz. Medium bodied at the most with a fruit forward palate and well balanced acid and gentle tannins. Lovely wine RRP $60

Topper's Mountain Nebbiolo 2011. New England Australia. Lovely nose, a mixture of cedar, sweet leather and ripe raspberries. Medium bodied, slightly stewed red fruit (strawberry) flavours, dry with silky tannins. Lacks the tannins of Nebbiolo but drinks very well. Recommended

Brothers in Arms Side by Side Shiraz 2012, McLaren Vale SA. rich blackfruit and chocolate driven wine with hints of sweet cinnamon spice. Full bodied fruit driven with soft integrated tannins. Typical rich Mclaren Vale. RRP $27.00 Recommended

Mount Majura Graciano 2012. 12%. red cherry colour. Herbal and floral with thyme and black pepper notes. Sofy silk tannins and at the most medium bodied. Attractive easy drinking wine with 12% alcohol. Highly Recommended.

Mount Majura Touriga 2013. This is the first vintage of this famous Port variety for Mt Majura. As expected it appears deep and inky. The nost has intense plum and slightly stewed. but there is a touch of leaf and some blueberry fruit on the palate. Intense and dry. Recommended.

Mount Majura Tempranillo 2013. Fresh ripe blackcurrant fruit with some oaky earthyness. Dry medium plus body that is elegant with well integrated tannins. The wine has a sweet middle palate fruit. This is their flagship wine and is one of Australia's leading Tempranillos. Outstanding

Helm Premium Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. Herbal and slightly medicinal 'traditional' nose. Elegant palate akin to Bordeaux. Dry and savoury lovely well balanced wine. Highly Recommended

Clonakilla Ceoltoiri GSM 2013. 14% alc Very Rhone like with a blend of ripe red berries and savoury spice notes from some cooler climate fruit. Elegant palate, medium bodied but still persistent and attention grabbing. Highly Recommended

Eden Road The Long Road Shiraz 2012. Fruit driven nose with plums and licorice. Medium plus body with lovely fine dry tannic finish. Gundagai GI. Good value wine at RRP$24.00 Recommended

Eden Road Hilltops Syrah 2013 13.5% Pretty nose displaying herbs, pepper and floral notes. Sweet fruit elegant round and silky, hints of warm climate licorice. Excellent. RRP $45.00 Highly Recommended

Eden Road Gundagai Shiraz 2012 13.1%. Deep and inky. Rich mulberry and plums on the nose. Deep fruit driven wine on the palate with a nice dry tanninc finish. Highly Recommended

Eden Road Gundagai Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 13%. Whilst this wine does not see any newoak, the nose is oak driven together with chocolate, mint as well as blackcurrant. Dry, powerful on the palate with mouth puckering tannins. Definately varietal driven. RRP $38.00. Highly Recommended

Lark Hill Pinot Noir 2013. All MV6 made pinot with bright redcurrant fruits. The palate is light and elegant with savoury firm tannins. A lovely well balanced and structured Pinot. Highly Recommended

Lark Hill Shiraz Viognier 2013. 4% viognier as a field blend. Redcurrant and raspberry fruits with some white pepper and sweet spice. All in all an attractive nose. Warm, medium bodied wine with lovely balance of acid and tannins. Extremely easy drinking. 13% alc RRP $30.00 Highly Recommended

 

Review of Australian Pinot Noir

Some quick notes in a Drinks Trade panel tasting Thursday 17th July 2014. A suprising number of sub $20 Pinots have been recommended. All prices are RRP.

De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2013, Yarra Valley, Vic. Refreshing pinot with redcurrant and bramble fruits. Well structured pinot with well balanced acidity and tannins producing a firm palate. Recommended $25.00

Tamar Ridge Pinot Noir 2012, Tasmania. Lovely redcurrant and cranberry fruit on the nose. Sligtly herbal palate with stalky hints. Savoury dried herbs finish. Pleasant Pinot. Recommended $30.00

Handpicked Collection Pinot Noir 2013, Tasmania. Herbal bouquet garni nose. Powerful sweet red cherry fruit on the palate with medium plus length. Highly Recommended $50.00

Holm Oak Pinot Noir 2013, Tasmania. Maraschino cherry and mint aromas on the nose. Hints of macerated fruit on the front palate as well as smoked meats.Well balanced with a slightly dry tannic finish. Recommended $29.00

Balgownie Estate Black Label Pinot Noir 2013, Yarra Valley, Vic. Well balanced between new oak and cherry fruit aromas. Elegant light palate with red cherry. Acidt driven front palate with a very fine tannic finish. Recommended. $25.00

De Bortoli Gulf Station Pinot Noir 2012, Yarra Valley, Vic. Pale colour. Elegant fruit driven wine with cherry and raspberry aromas. Lively well balanced palate with slightly savoury notes. Dry tanninc finish. Great value for money Pinot. Highly Recommended $20.00

Eileen Hardy Pinot Noir 2012, Tasmania. Deeply coloured for Pinot Noir. Slightly minty and minerally driven nose. Firm palate, powdery dry tannins, good length. Well structured Pinot. Highly Recommended. $94.99

Domaine Chandon Pinot Noir 2013, Yarra Valley, Vic. Delicate spice aromas. Slightly fleshy and savoury on the palate with drying tannins but a well balance finish. Recommended. $30.95

Eddystone Point Pinot Noir 2011, Tasmania. Very pale colour. Minerally driven nose. Hint of vanilla new oak. Smooth mature palate. Red fruit flavours. Well crafted. Highly Recommended $29.99

Nepenthe Altitude Pinot Noir 2012, Adelaide Hills, SA. Well structured pinot with poise and balance. Oak, mineral and slightly meaty nose. Palate displays intense black cherry as well as spice. Long finish. Best value for money Pinot on the market Outstanding $19.99

Loom Wine Long Yarn Pinot Noir 2012, Adelaide Hills, SA. A hint stalk but well worked pinot with redcurrant fruit. Savoury and intense palate with dry tannic finish. Another value for money Pinot. Highly Recommended $17.00

Stonier Pinot Noir 2012, Mornington Peninsula, Vic. Lovely sweet cherry fruit. Gentle and berbal with jucy elegant palate. Delicate but has an underlying strength. Classic Pinot, some iron fist in a velvet glove here. My favourite wine of the tasting. A steal at the price. Outstanding $28.00

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Singlefile Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Riversdale Vineyard, Frankland River, WA, 14.5%. Deep intense ruby. Strong new oak with plums and a hint of fruitcake on the nose. Smooth and rich on the palate. Full bodied round with well integrated tannins a flavours that match the nose. Stylish wine. Recommended $37.00

Brothers in Arms Side by Side Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Langhorne Creek, SA. 14.5%. Deep intense ruby colour. Slightly herbaceous nose as well as smokey, savoury oak aromas. Full bodied, dry, well integrated tannins and intense flavours licorice, mocha and new oak on the palate. Nice drop. Recommended $27.00

Yangarra Old Vine Grenache 2012, McLaren Vale, SA. Vibrant purple colour. Strong aromas of violets, red maraschino cherries and blueberries. Full bodied dry spicy wine with mouth puckering grainy tannins. Intense wine from 50 plus year old vines. Highly Recommended. $32.00

Paradigm Hill Pinot Noir L'ami sage Pinot Noir 2012, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. 13.3%. A savoury toasty new oak nose with supporting redcurrant fruits. Dry and firm, the wine shines on the palate, with savoury umani flavours, fine dry tannins and enough warmth of alcohol to be well balanced. Satisfying Pinot Noir. Highly Recommended RRP $66.00

Mayer Close Planted Pinot Noir 2013, Yarr Valley, Victoria. Complex pinot with meaty notes as well as a hint of new oak. The palate display some juicy redcurrant and slight cherry notes. Medium plus length. Highly Recommended

By Farr Shiraz 2011, Geelong, Victoria. Big on cool climate character with pepper and herbal notes. Medium bodied, dry with fresh acidity for a red. Medium plus length and finish. Highly Recommended

Houghton CW Ferguson Cabernet Malbec 2008, Great Southern, WA. Superb drinking now. Lovely earthy, cedar nose with touches of violets. Full bodied with smooth velvet tannins, sweet vanilla and blackberry fruit. Elegant palate with a long savoury finish. Outstanding. RRP $55.00


Brand's Laira One Seven One Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Coonawarra, SA. Complex leafy nose with surpisingly a touch of liqueured black fruits. Big and rich on the palate with noticable alcohol. Full throttle wine meant to age. Recommended. RRP $59.00

Lobethal Road Wines Shiraz 2012, Adealide Hills, SA. Cool climate characteristics including mealy, grain, nutmeg spice and black pepper aromas. Full bodied palate with juicy black cherry fruits and some more of that French oak spice character. Well balanced with fine tannin structure and supporting acid. Long palate. Great value at $25.00 cellar door Outstanding

Rosemount Estate GSM 2012 McLaren Vale, SA. Strong sweet jammy confectionary notes with cherry, vanilla and cooking spice thrown in for good measure. Rich full bodied but a hint reserved compared to the nose. The palate is more refined and well balanced, which is pleasing. $36.95 Highly Recommended

De Bortoli Windy Peak Shiraz 2013, Heathcote, Victoria. Stong toasty,sweet vanilla nose with also a degree of red fruit confectionary. Rich dense fruit driven palate with plum, cinnamon spice, vamilla and hints of chocolate. Medium length, little tannin. At anywhere from $11 to $14 it represents value for money. Recommoended

Leconfield Petit Verdot 2012, Coonawarra, SA. 14% Aromas of black cherry and vanilla oak on the nose. Cherry and licorice flavours on the fruit driven, full bodied rich palate. Recommended $30.00

Lerida Estate Shiraz Viognier 2012, Lake George Canberra District 12.5%. Floral, vanilla and new oak nose with cinnamon and nutmeg spice. Medium bodied dry and juicy black cherry and red fruit driven palate. Powdery tannins. Nice to see a red at 12.5%. Recommended. $49.50

Clairault Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Margaret River, WA 14%. Plum with a hint of leafy, herbal cabernet supported by cedar oak. Soft, medium bodied palate with gentle tannins and pronounced black cherry flavours. A touch warm on the finish. Well priced. Recommended $22.00

Leconfield Cabernet Merlot 2012, Coonawarrra SA. 14%. Pleasant black fruit driven wine. Blackcurrant and blackberry aromas and flavours, full-bodied dry and soft with low tannins. Ready to drink. Recommended RRP $24.95.

Review of Australian Nebbiolo

All wines were decanted and given up to 3 hours  aeration during assessment. The Protero wines definitely need time to open up.


Freeman Altura Vineyard Nebbiolo 2012, Hilltops, NSW, 13.5% RRP $35.00
Lovely complex nose.  Alluring floral, menthol, red cherry and strong herbal notes. Juicy, lively front palate with sour cherry flavours. Silky middle palate with a firm, chalky tannic finish.  Recommended.

Freeman Altura Vineyard Nebbiolo 2010, Hilltops, NSW  13.5% RRP $35.00
The wine displays aromas of redcurrant, hints of stewed fruits as well as meaty notes. On the palate there are dried herbs, mint and maraschino cherry flavours. Medium bodied, Juicy with well integrated tannins producing a silky texture.  Attractive softer style Nebbiolo. Highly Recommended

Primo Estate Joseph Nebbiolo 2007, McLaren Vale SA. 13.5%
Red cherry and stewed fruits on the nose. Warm medium bodied savoury wine on the palate with sage, herbs and plum flavours. A distinct dry tannic finish. Highly Recommended

Protero Nebbiolo 2005, Adelaide Hills, SA.  14.5%
Earthy, leather and meaty nose with some dried floral notes. Dry silky textured palate, but surprising sweet cherry fruit on the palate with powerful mouth puckering tannins. Recommended

Protero Nebbiolo 2006, Adelaide Hills, SA. 14%
Liquorice and red cherry fruit aromas. Meaty as well as redcurrant flavours with juicy acidity. Dry, medium bodied. Rich with a dry tannic finish.  Recommended

Protero Nebbiolo 2008, Adelaide Hills, SA 14.5%
Classic floral, rose petal and slightly confectionary aromas. Rich silky, vibrant palate with powerful dry tannins. Medium bodied. Flavours on the red fruit herbal side similar. Attractive wine with distinct varietal characteristics. Highly Recommended

Overall Protero displays the classic Nebbiolo characteristics and would satisfy the Barolo lover looking for an Australian example. Whilst Freeman is more softer and round and would be more approachable.

Jacob's Creek Centenary Hill 2010, Barossa Valley, SA. New American oak nose with hints of chocolate and licorice aromas.. Rich and powerful palate, well integrated tannins with a hint of sweetness from the alcohol. Recommended

St Hugo Shiraz 2010, Barossa Valley, SA A new traditionally associated with Coonawarra Cabernet is now also A BV Shiraz. Powerful black fruit with a savoury edge and nice cedar oak notes. Elegant medium plus body with more cedar and spice on the palate. slightly tannic finish which is pleasing demonstrating a structured palate rather than relying on fruit weight alone. $35.00 Highly Recommended

Hirsch Hill Estate Pinot Noir 2012, Yarra Valley Strong pithy slightly stalky redcurrant and raspberry aromas. Fruit driven palate with cherry flavours. Dry firm slightly tannic middle palate with medium plus length. Recommended

De Bortoli La Boheme Act Four Syrah Gamay, 2011 14% Up front sweet red fruit with hints of confectionary carbonic macerated fruit. Light bodied, dry with some gentle savoury flavours as well as red cherry. No noticable tannins, soft wine and a cross between a Beaujolais Village and Cote du Rhone which makes it an ideal lunch time or summer red. Nice to see Australia making this style of approachable wine. Recommended

Brand's Laira Shiraz 2005, Cooonawarra, SA 15%. Medium intense nose showing definate age. Stewy plums and licorice. Full bodied with liqueured cherry, licorice and slight leather flavours. Warm but well balanced. Rich and supple with soft earthy tannins. Recommended

Singlefile Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2011, Margaret River, WA. 14.4%. Ripe vintage with blackcurrant and hints of raisin fruits on the nose. High vanillan oak notes as well. Fresh black cherry flavours, dry grainy tannins with an elegant balance on the palate of fruit, oak and acid. Medium plus body. Youthful and classy Margaret River Cabernet and priced accordingly. A notch up in quality from the 2010. Highly Recommended RRP $37.00

Rymill Shiraz 2010, Coonawarra SA. 14.5%. Sourced from 39 year old vines this wine spends 2 years in oak before release. Fairly complexed nose displaying plum, black cherry, cassis as well as vanillan oak and cinnamon spice. Savoury firm palate with black fruits and black cherry flavours. Soft slightly powdery tannins. The wine has a moderate, slightly warm finish. Recommended. RRP $30.00

Plantagenet Omrah Cabernet Merlot, Great Southern, WA 14.2%. Blackberry and blackcurrant driven nose. Some vanilla notes as well. Full bodied, dry with soft tannins and warm alcohol. Chalky tannins and stewy fruit flavours. Pleasant fruit driven wine that is satisfying, Well priced. Recommended. RRP $18.99

Leconfield Merlot 2012, Coonawarra, SA. Juicy fruit driven wine with blackberry and blackcurrant aromas turning to black cherry, prune and dried fruits on the palate. Grainy tannins and hint warm but supple medium plus body giving this wine a satisfying finish. Well priced Highly Recommended RRP $21.00

Paradigm Hill, Pinot Noir L'ami sage 2011, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria 13.9%. lovely savoury nose with highly seasoned toasty oak as well as meaty notes, more spice than fruit driven. Delicate, light bodied wine . Round, well balanced with cedar, nutmeg flavours on the palate. Highly Recommended. RRP $66.00

Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Margaret River, WA 14.5% Aromas of mint, leaf and vanilla oak with some hints of dried fruits thrown in for good measure. Powerful full bodied palate with soft tannins, black cherry and licorice flavours. Some warmer alcohol notes but is balanced by a well timed shot of acidity. Displays some nice Margaret River herbal notes. RRP $35.99. Recommended.

Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz 2010, Barossa Valley, SA. deep inky in appearance. Strong vanilla oak and stewed black fruit aromas, cooking spice and a hint confectionary. Full bodied, dry with more spice on the palate. Gently tannins, fruit driven with a warm finish. Great value for money. Recommended RRP $9.75

Plantagenet Omrah Pinot Noir 2012, Great Southern, WA 13.5% light and fresh red cherry driven Pinot. Soft and savoury palate, light bodied and slightly warm. Juicy and good value (it's hard to find a good Pinot under $20) Recommended RRP 18.99

The Lane Block 14 Basket Press Shiraz, 2012, Adelaide Hills, SA. Whole berry fermentation gives this wine a soft and supple mouthfeel. Sweet jammy fruit with blackberry at the top of the list of aromas. Hints of cedar and pencil shavings then dark chocolate takes over. Sweet fruit drive palate overall. Round with medium plus length. Recommended RRP $39.00

Robert Oatley Finisterre Syrah 2011, Great Southern, WA. Lovely complex nose with violets, pepper, herbaceous and smoky aromas. Elegant palate, savoury with licorice and black cherry notes. More medium bodied rather than full bodied. Drinks well. Highly Recommended

Plantagenet Shiraz 2010, Mount Barker,WA 14% A silky textured shiraz with strong blackberry, cassis aromas with lashings of vanilla oak. Dry full bodied palate with soft powdery tannins. Oak, black cherry and plum flavours which brings out the taste of roast lamb loin pleasantly. Hard to knock, perhaps it needs more tannin structrure. Highly Recommended RRP $46.00

Hungerford Hill Classic Tumbarumba Shiraz 2010, 13.5% Medium intense aromas of red fruits, cherry and hints of white pepper and cinnamon indicating its cool climate origins. On the whole plesantly fruit driven. Dry, medium bodied and juicy on the palate with cranberry,cherry and redcurrant flavours. 'Spot on' as the type of Shiraz that could be labelled as Syrah - to tell the consumers it's a slightly ligher style. Tannins are light and soft contributing to the elegance of this wine. Highly Recommended RRP $40

De Bortoli Syrah 2010, Yarra Valley, Vic. 13% Winemaker Steve Webber uses some whole bunches in the fermentation of this wine which probably explains the savoury and slight herbaceous notes to this wine. This is definately Syrah rather than a Shiraz in style reminding me more of Crozes Hermitage than Coldstream. Medium bodied at best with distinct white pepper, mineral and nutty flavours. Fine grainy tannins with medium plus length. "the most interesting wine I've made since being in the Yarra Valley" comments Steve Webber at the Sydne Wine Academy 27.5.13

Highly Recommended. RRP $32.00

De Bortoli Pinot Noir 2011, Yarra Valley, Vic. Very pale Pinot with delicate aromatic red fruits and perfumed oak on the nose. Dry savoury palate with lovely fine velvet, powdery tannins -"tea-like' according to winemaker Steve Webber. Slight minerally notes but elegant and well integrated on the palate which is the highlight of this wine. Highly Recommended. RRP $36.00

Pepperilly Rose 2012, Ferguson Valley, WA. 12%. This year's Rose from Pepperilly is an fabulous blend of Grenache Shiraz and Mourvedre (80,10,10%). Fermented in French oak barriques that gives the wine a fleshy, creamy palate but balanced with zesty acidity. Delicate floral aromas on the nose and a slight hint of confection from the Grenache. Juicy redcurrant driven palate and medium plus length pushes this wine into requiring food such as paella. Overall this wine over delivers on quality for the price. Highly Recommended. RRP $18.00

Lowe Zinfandel 2009, Mudgee, NSW 15.3% Rich primary red fruit aromas with a splash of fruit cake and liquorice. Lovely vibrant rich flavours of faise du bois, raspberry and plums coat the palate and provide the balance to medium plus ripe tannins, warm alcohol and a long finish. First vintage in 3 years, now sold out, which might restrict this from becoming Mudgee's icon wine? Highly Recommended. RRP 75.00

Richard Hamilton Lot 148 Merlot 2011, McLaren Vale, SA. 13%. Strong cinnamon, vanilla and sweet ripe blackcurrant aromas spring out of the glass. These aromas, especially vanilla, transfer onto the palate but are restrained in a medium body, dry well balanced wine. Good ndedvarietal example from a warm climate. Enjoyable. Highly Recommended

Cumulus Shiraz 2010, Orange, NSW. 14%. Floral & red fruit driven nose with red cherry, raspberry and hints of leafy fraise des bois. Similar in style to a Shiraz/Viognier nose. Dry, slightly acid driven palate which I don't mind. Black cherry flavours. Medium bodied at best,very much a cool climate wine, serving as a foil to mainstream Shiraz. Slightly warm finish with fine powdery tannins. Recommended RRP 35.00

Pepperilly Purple Patch 2011, Ferguson Valley, WA. 14.2% A blend of Mourvedre (50%) Grenache (35%) and Shiraz (15%) Mid ruby colour. Strong oak influence on the nose but also displays floral, blueberry and blackcurrant leaf aromas. Dry, medium plus alcohol which is slightly warming. Savoury palate with dry grainy tannins. Overall well-balanced attractive wine with a medium length. Great value for money at $18.00 a bottle. I hope Grenache blends becomes a regional style for this part of the Geographe.Highly Recommended.

Rockford Rifle Range Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Barossa Valley 14.5%. Well integrated crushed blackberries, and blackcurrant leaf on the nose with lashings of sweet cinnamon spice and vanilla oak. Dry, smooth palate, fruit driven but restrained and elegant. Well integrated tannins, full bodied and a hint of warming alcohol but well managed with a good length of palate. Herbal and fresh black fruit flavours. A very drinkable wine that will improve but hard not to drink now. Outstanding.

Report on NSW top 40 Tasting MCA November 2012- red wines

Logan Cabernet Merlot (94 pts) from Orange topped my tasting last week at the MCA in Sydney. A lovely elegant Bordeaux style red displaying cool climate Cabernet touches. A surprise came next -a NSW Pinot Noir for the Southern Highlands (90pts) – Tertini 2010 was all red fruit and floral, with a juicy palate. Well-made and shows the continued promise of this region, after saying that the Highlands have been around a while now and the region is still awaiting an iconic wine to emerge – could this be the one? Grove Estate 2010 Nebbiolo showed enough varietal character to be pleasant and worthy of note (89pts) they have made this their speciality and it is paying off – Vive la différence. Back to Orange and a wine from one of the leading wineries – Angullong. Their 2009 Shiraz Viognier (92pts) has lovely floral and blackberry notes with a rich palate, full bodied and concentrated with subtle tannic finish. Who said Orange cannot make red wines? 

Hunter was well represented with De Iuliis making two in the top 40. Their 2011 Steven Vineyard Shiraz (93pts) slightly outpointed the 2011 Shiraz.  Both had bright, fragrant, red fruit driven aromas, powdery tannins, and black cherry flavours. The Steven has a more tannic kick showing slightly more concentrated fruit from this classic old Hunter Valley vineyard. Yum, mental note – must visit cellar door in the Hunter on my next visit and get to know them better. Pepper Tree Wines 2011 Coquun Reserve Shiraz comes from a vineyard planted in 1920 and made by reclusive winemaker Jim Chatto. It’s savoury and elegant with some floral spice/pepper notes. A dry savoury palate with medium plus length and a mouth puckering tannins.  This scored highly (94pts). Hungerford Hill 2007 Hh Epic Shiraz  (92pts) was more traditional hunter with some new leather, cedar and earthy notes.

Finally, how good is this – Deen De Bortoli Vat 4 Petit Verdot 2009 retailing for around $13.00 in the top 40. I didn't’t taste it as at Ryde College we always knew it was a good value for money wine and continue to use it as our function wine. Congratulations De Bortoli. Looking around the room you could say NSW has all bases covered for wine lovers, without the need of any other state. Now we simply have to convince the general public, if that fails impose a border tax.

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Logan Cabernet Merlot, Orange NSW. Unmistakable varietal characteristics with leafy herbal aromas. But sweet red fruit palate with a touch of mint. Dry and savoury, medium plus body with well balanced grainy tannins. Nice alternative to heavier South Australian wines. Highly Recommended

Singlefile Cabernet Merlot 2010, Margaret River, WA. 14.2%. Deep inky colour, Strong black fruit -blackberry & black cherry. No Margaret River herbaceous notes here. Full bodied, dry, medium length with liquorice, blackberry fruit flavours with medium minus tannins and a slightly hot finish. A ripe vintage. Recommended $37.00

Lot 333 Shiraz 2010, McLaren Vale, SA 15%. Deep inky colour. The nose is dominated by black fruits, some confectionery and stewed fruits laced with vanillan oak hints. Robust full bodied fruit driven palate with soft low tannins and medium length. High alcohol but not hot on the palate. Plums and blackberry fruit flavours on the palate. This is excellent value for money, it over-delivers at this price point.. Recommended   $10.00

Wynns Coonawarra Estate  'black label' Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 S.A 14%.  Deep inky core. Rich deep aromas of blackberry fruit mixed with some earthy, cedar and peppery spice notes. Intense black fruit, blood plums and liquorice flavours with a touch of mint. Full bodied with sticky dry tannins on the finish which is long and satisfying. Comfort wine on a winters night. Highly Recommended   $30.00 (discounted) 

Leconfield Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Coonawarra, SA. 14.5% Inviting rich cedar oak driven nose with supporting back fruit, mostly blackberry. Full bodied savoury rather than sweet fruit on the palate with soft well integrated fine grain tannins. Medium length but enjoyable dry savoury finish. Highly Recommended RRP/ cellar door $33.50    

Leasingham Classic Clare Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. Clare Valley. Earthy nose with some leather and medicinal hints. Developing nicely but with still some primary fruit evident. Soft leafy notes, subtle tannins with medium plus length. Drinking well. Highly Recommended  

Hahndorf Hill Blueblood Blaufrankisch, Adelaide Hills, SA Deep inky core- inviting appearance. Rich ripe fruit on the nose with black cherry, sweet spice and vanilla oak. Dry velvet palate, round and supple. Medium bodied with lovely powdery tannins and flavours of cinnamon, plums and cherries. Improvement from past vintages, attractive and worth trying for something completely different. Currently this is the only commercial Australian example of this Austrian grape. Highly Recommended RRP $35.00 

RVIC Alternative Riverland Montepulciano 2011, Riverland SA.This wine is made by the Riverland Vine Improvement Committee, a not for profit organisation. In Italy this grape (Montepulciano) makes fruity medium to full bodied wines for immediate consumption, normally it is found in Abruzzo, Puglia and Marche. This Australian version bumps up the intensity and is probably one of the most fruit driven wines on the Australian market. Deep inky in appearance and pungent jammy, confectionery, black cherry and plum driven nose. On the palate the wine has strong licorice, cherry and vanilla oak. Soft and quaffable. True to style. Yet to be released. See website for details. Recommended   

Andrew Peace Kentish Lane Tempranillo 2007, Swan Hill, Victoria. Sweet cinnamon spice with pleasant raspberry confectionary hints. Dry, medium bodied wine with fine low level powdery tannins. Soft palate with medium plus alcohol, it leaves the palate with a savoury finish. Recommended  

Urlar Pinot Noir 2009, Gladstone, New Zealand. Punchy vibrant Pinot with strong redcurrant and vanilla notes. Youthful vibrant palate with medium acidity, soft velvet tannins and robust but balanced alcohol. Nice to drink now but I can see this wine developing all types of intriguing tertiary characters such as game, cook meats and forest floor. Highly Recommended

Paradigm Hill Pinot Noir L'ami Sage 2010, Mornington Peninsula, Vic. Redcurrant, spice, floral with hints of vanilla on the nose. Dry medium intensity with subtle cherry, sweet cinnamon spice and vanilla flavours, overall fruit driven. Well balanced, medium acid, medium length. Recommended RRP $60.00 

 

Some views on regional styles of South Australian Shiraz

During a recent tasting of over 90 South Australian Shiraz for Drinks Trade Magazine it made me reflect on whether you could clearly detect any regional style in SA, or was Shiraz resigned to a Chardonnay profile where more often than not the winemaker decides the style? The wines at the tasting were from the 5 main regions of production Clare Valley, Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek.

I came to the conclusion that whilst it would be extremely hard to blind taste and pick the region there was some common themes running through the tasting. See below:

Clare Valley - One comment coming from all panel members, myself included, was how ‘pretty’ Clare Shiraz was. Clare seems to give seemless, well integrated, elegance and continuity on the palate. Definitely ripe fruit driven wines, but lacking the ‘power’ or brute force (depending on your point of view) of other SA regions.

Barossa Valley - As expected Barossa wines, when on song, provides rich powerful wines displaying chocolate, sweet vanilla, liquorice, sweet ripe black fruit, black cherry and plums (sometimes over ripe). Higher alcohol was part of the course but not as dominant as I had expected.   

Coonawarra - Shiraz from Coonawarra often seems to pick up aromas and flavours from its rival Cabernet Sauvignon. It was probably the easiest to pick in a blind tasting, displaying mint, eucalypt, herbal, earthy notes. The wines are more restrained and display good acidity levels. Coonawarra - keep making them please.

McLaren Vale - I didn’t expect to see much difference between McLaren Vale and Barossa wines but there was. McLaren Vale seems to display more spice, with cinnamon and nutmeg coming out of wines. These are still powerful reds, and some had too much oak, but there was a savoury edge to them.

Langhorne Creek

There was only a smattering of wines from this region so hard to analyse and define. A couple had some distinctly spicy notes but also a touch of herbaceousness & leafy nuances.  

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Polperro Landividdy Lane Pinot Noir 2010, Mornington Peninsula. Focused red fruits -redcurrants- with well integrated savoury oak. Fruit driven palate showing all the attributes of a sheltered warmer vineyard site. Firm yet smooth with velvet tannins, well knitted together.  Attractive, well made Pinot from Sam Coverdale. Highly Recommended RRP 48.00  

Peel Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Peel, WA. 14% Lovely earthy, leafy nose with a hint of cigar box.  Supple, well balanced wine with fine powdery tannins and sweet berry fruit on the palate. Delightful wine, showing some hints of age but also primary fruit. Current release aged for 2 years in French oak and held back for 2 years.Highly Recommended

Sandalford Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Margaret River, WA. Elegant and well balanced wines with leafy, forest floor herbal rosemary aromas. Savoury palate with classic Cabernet structure - acid, tannin and fruit all well balanced producing a wine with outstanding length. Outstanding

Mount Langi Ghiran Cliff Edge Shiraz 2010, Grampians, Vic. Strong ripe cherry fruit with floral and violet notes. Dry medium plus acid producing a juicy palate that is medium bodied, elegant and substantial  in length. Highly recommended and deserves the Best Wine of Show Trophy in the 2012 Sydney Royal Wine Show. Highly Recommended

De Bortoli Pinot Noir 2010, Yarra Valley, Vic 13%. Complex nose with game, cooked meats, savoury and a touch of herbs all playing a part. This transposes to red berry fruits on the palate. but the real joy of the wine is the fine supple powdery tannins and velvet mouth-feel.  Highly Recommended

Bellbird Spring The Pruners Reward, Pinot Noir 2009, Waipara N.Z.  13.5%.   The nose displays  lively red cheery and redcurrant fruits with a sappy slightly herbaceous hint. On the dry, well balanced palate the wine has gentle cranberry and redcurrant flavours, subtle oak in the background. Nice powdery tannins, medium length. Conclusion - a well made fruit driven Pinot. Recommended  

Dowie Doole G&T Garnacha Tempranillo 2011, McLaren Vale, SA 14.5%. Fruit driven with confectionary and vanilla oak notes. Nice red berries aromas. Silky, soft juicy fruit driven wine. Medium bodied, extremely well balanced designed for early consumption in a Crianza style. Highly Recommended RRP $25.00

Tenafeate Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Basket Press 2004. 14.5%. Medium deep red with a hint of garnet. Strong plum with some slight stewed fruits. Earthy and cedar oak compliment the fruit. Full bodied ripe fruit and supple on the palate. Slight herbaceous, leafy cabernet edge to the wine. Represents good value for money. Recommended $20.00

Lowe Wines Zinfandel 2009 , Mudgee, NSW. Perfumed complex nose with floral, sweet cooking spices, nutmeg and cinnamon. Velvet, full bodied, dry, silky palate with well integrated tannins. Leading Australian example of this grape variety. Outstanding   

Kay Borther Amery Vineyard Block 6 Shiraz 2008, Mc. Laren Vale, SA. 14.5%.  Resounding black fruit, Strong liquorice and vanilla oak support this wine made from the famous 116 year old vines. A full bodied wine which maintains its elegance and is well balanced, with integrated, smooth tannins. Attractive warm climate flavours of sweet cooking spices and liquorice. Thankfully the alcohol is kept in check. A great old label. Highly Recommended RRP $80.00 

Golden Ball Merlot 2008, Beechworth, Vic 14.5%. Deep red. Redcurrant and cedar notes with herbaceous and earthy touches adding complexity. Supple velvet tannins support the medium bodied palate. Flavours include maraschino cherry, redcurrants, mint and cedar. Refined and classy with lovely length of palate. Oustanding

Richard Hamilton Hut Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, McLaren Vale, SA. 14.2% A restrained value for money Cabernet from McLaren Vale that is a refreshing change and approachable on a Summers evening. Lovely fruit driven nose of cassis and blackberry with noticable  menthol and a hint of cabernet franc style herbaceousness. Medium plus body-just. Dry with juicy acidity, soft ripe fruit flavours and barely noticeable tannins makes this wine easy drinking. Traditional, clean and simple presented bottle. Recommended $18.95

Belebula Tempranillo 2009, Hunter Valley, NSW. 13.5%  This wine displays all the good attributes of the Tempranillo grape making it an appealing easy drinking style that is a welcome change from heavier wines such as Shiraz. On pouring you are greeted with a cedar and cooking spice nose with a hint of dusty barrel work. Dry, soft red fruit driven flavours on the palate. Medium bodied wine with a persistent, supple, soft powdery tannins. Well presented, stylish wine from Pokolbin Estate.  Highly Recommended

Pfeiffer Merlot, Rutherglen, Victoria. Pungent red cherry, floral and vanilla aromas hit the nose. Somehow there is also a slight herbal edge. Medium plus bodied supple and rich palate. Yum. Highly Recommended.  $25.00

Grant Burge Corryton Park 2008, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Barossa Valley SA. Black inky appearance with strong aromatics of blackberry fruits, cedar and vanilla. Dry. full-bodied wine with strong sweet blackcurrant, vanilla and medium plus alcohol. Bold but pleasant Barossa wine, well balanced. Highly Recommended. 

Golden Ball Egalitaire Rouge 2008, Beechworth, Victoria. This 80% Merlot 15% Shiraz and 5% Malbec is an attractive medium bodied wine with a savoury herbal and white pepper nose. You can detect the funky wild yeast and new oak influence on the palate that makes this fruit driven, soft tannin wine to be enjoyed now, but made in a quality artisan style by this tiny producer. Well worth discovering. Highly Recommended.   

Lerida Estate Cullerin Pinot Noir 2009, Canberra District, NSW. A sturdy Lake George Pinot with redcurrants, cedar oak an overlay of sweet cinnamon spice. Full throttle 13.9% alcohol contributes to the wines rich texture, well integrated fruit and oak producing a satisfying medium plus length. Highly Recommended RRP $35

Centennial Vineyards  Pinot Noir Reserve 2010, Southern Highlands, NSW. Vibrant cherry and redcurrant aromas with well balanced cedar oak nuances greet the nose. The balance continues on the palate with fine handle oak and fruit producing a silky textured palate. This grape continuously show promise in the Southern Highlands. Highly Recommended RRP $30

Mount Majura Tempranillo 2010, Canberra District, NSW.  Cedar and toasty oak with a dash of red cherry aromas greets the nose. A soft supple red with fine dry tannins and medium acidity producing a juicy palate redolent of red fruits. Long linear palate and lasting flavours wrap up the wine. Well made, one of Australia's leading example of this variety. Highly Recommended RRP $40

De Iuliis Steven Shiraz 2009, Hunter Valley, NSW . Lovely white pepper and spice dominant nose producing a Rhone like impression. Medium bodied dry with very supple soft tannins. Elegant easy drinking style, I'd would have liked more tannin structure but that is a minor quibble. Highly Recommended RRP 40.00  

Forester Estate Shiraz 2008, Margaret River WA 13.5%. Cedar driven nose with plum and cinnamon spice notes. Soft, red-fruit dominant palate with powdery tannins, medium bodied and very gentle acidity. The wine has moderate length and is ready to drink providing a lovely alternative to strong Central Victorian and South Australian examples. Highly Recommended

Kalleske Merchant Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Barossa Valley, SA 14.5%. Deep inky appearance with pungent aromas of vanillan oak, sweet spice and chocolate, typical Barossa intensity. Rich full bodied wine with black cherry and lavish black-forest chocolate flavours. Supple soft tannins make this wine instantly appealing. Recommended RRP 28.00

Curly Flat Pinot Noir 2008, Macedon Ranges, Vic.  Top drawer Australian Pinot Noir. Complex nose with gentle nutmeg, floral and cedar notes. Dry savoury palate with fine grain sandy textured tannins. Perfectly balanced, seamless with medium plus length. Only 12% alcohol proves you dont need high level to make fine wines. Outstanding RRP $54.00

Tyrrell's Vat 8 Shiraz 2010, Hunter Valley, NSW.  Classic Hunter nose- game, earthy and leathery notes with herbal hints. Medium plus intensity with bright red fruits on the palate provides a contrast to the nose. Dry with juicy acidity and and elegant medium bodied length. This style provides an alternative to the more robust SA styles of Shiraz. Highly Receommended

Ben Potts Lenny's Block Cabernet Sauvignon2006, Langhorne Creek, SA Deep and inviting inky colour with lashings of black fruit, cherry and liquorice. There is some varietal nuances including a touch of leafiness as well as cedar oak. Full bodied dry fruit driven wine with some porty notes. A well integrated palate that is attractive and moorish. Recommended RRP $40-45

Paradigm Hill Pinot Noir L'ami sage 2009, Mornington Peninsula, Vic. Lovely red fruits especially redcurrant aromas. In addition, some hints of roasted coffee with well seasoned stylish oak. Dry and robust pinot with a spicy palate, medium length and soft tannins. Savoury palate and a wine to keep, promising to develop lovely complex tertiary aromas. Highly Recommended

Primo Estate Zamberlan Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Sangiovese, Mclaren Vale SA. Mocha with a hint of floral and dried herbs aromas. Sweet fruitand cooking spices. Medium bodied with silky tannins, dry with medium plus intensity. A lovely savoury driven wine on the palate. Highly Recommended
Voyager Estate Shiraz 2009, Margaret River, WA.
Inviting inky appearance. Strong black cherry, vanilla and blueberries on the nose. Full bodied s fruit driven wine with dry powdery tannins and a sweet oak/ spice flavour reminiscent of cinnamon. Very attractive wine that is drinking well now but will improve in the next 3-5 years. Strikes a cord with beef and red wine pie. Highly Recommended RRP38.00 

Nepenthe Shiraz 2009, Adelaide Hills, S.A.  An attractive cool-climate example from Adelaide Hills with aromas of white pepper and hints of black cherry fruits. On the palate the wine is medium bodied, dry with well integrated chalky tannins. It displays an elegant palate that has good length, black cherry flavours and subtle oak handling making this a great food wine suitable for a range of dishes. Try it with lamb shanks. Highly Recommended

Kilikanoon Prodigal Grenache 2007. S.A. Infectious aromas of redcurrants jammy soft confectionary fruits on the nose. Dry medium bodied red with juicy red fruit flavours, soft and velvety. The slight warming alcohol adds to the silkiness of this wine. Delicious with pan fried meats and sausages. Highly Recommended RRP $30.00 

Kay Brothers Amery Vineyard Basket Pressed Grenache 2009, McLaren Vale, SA. Inviting fruit driven nose with vanilla, red fruits and licorice all present. Dry medium bodied with cherry and plum flavours. Soft velvet tannins  and medium plus length. A wine with true regional and varietal expression. Highly Recommended RRP 25.00

Ferngrove Majestic Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Frankland River, WA. Deep inky. Nice complex nose with cedar, vanilla, herbal,  and leafy all indicating its cool climate origins. Dry and elegant on the palate with mint and black cherry notes. Well integrated tannins, fruit and acidity producing a long finish. Outstanding RRP 29.95 

Plantagenet Pinot Noir 2009, Mount Barker, WA. Dense and intense ripe redcurrant ripe fruit balanced with cedar and spice that produces a complex nose. Firm on the palate with medium plus length dry well balanced  with firm grainy tannin finish. A serious pinot. Highly Recommended RRP 45.00

Munari Sangiovese 2009, Heathcote, Vic. Spot on red cherry aromas with subtle cedar oak. Dry medium bodied wine with soft powdery tannins. Some nice floral notes and juicy black cherry acidity. Good varietal wine that represents value for money. Recommended  RRP20.00

Cardinham Estate Stradbrooke Shiraz, 2006, Clare Valley, SA. Hints of fruit cake, sweet spice notes and cedar on the nose. Lovely smooth red on the palate with medium plus body velvet tannins and medium plus length. Flavours include clove, sweet vanilla and fruit cake.  Eminently drinkable, a classic drop. Highly Recommended RRP 60.00

Penley Estate Gryphon Merlot 2008, Coonawarra, SA.  Super ripe plums and redcurrant fruits. Lovely fleshy wine, medium bodied with soft tannins. Jammy hints but this does not detract the wine being a lovely drop and great value for money.  Highly Recommended RRP 19.99

Preston Peak Sagrantino, Toowoomba, Queensland. Inviting red cherry with earthy cedar notes. Elegant and dry, medium bodied wine with lovely hints of liquorice as well as red cherry on the palate. Fine grain tannins producing a medium plus length and finish. Well made wine displaying this Italian grape variety at its best. Highly Recommended

Fox Creek JSM, Shiraz, Cabernet, Cabernet Franc 2008, McLaren Vale SA .New oak and rich cooked plums on the nose. Full bodied rich red fruits driven wine, but retaining a certain elegance. Dry, fine grain tannins on the finish producing a wine with medium plus length. Attractive and well put together. Highly Recommended.

Sanguine Estate Tempranillo 2007, Heathcote. Vic 14.5% medium deep ruby, spice driven especially cinnamon, black fruit a little cooked but nicely intriguing nose. Soft medium plus body, sweet stewed fruit, dry with medium plus length and well integrated tannin and alcohol. Very drinkable Highly Recommended. RRP22.95

Freeman Vineyard Rondinella Corvina 'Secco' 2004 aged release.  Hilltops, NSW. 15% An Italian inspired wine using the Valpolicella technique which normally involves partially drying grapes in special warehouses or lofts of wineries. But  in this Australian example Professor Brian Freeman uses a neighbours' prune dehydrator to created the same effect. On the nose you are greeted with strong cherry and plum aromas with smooth rich sweet red fruits and attractive confectionary notes. A silky palate is generated by the tannins which is a direct product from the drying process. Savoury well balanced wine with medium plus length and an elegant finish. A classic and unique Australian wine that demonstrates alcohol at 15% can be managed intelligently. Highly Recommended. 

Cambewarra Estate Michael Chambourcin 2008, Shoalhaven Coast, NSW. I must admit that I have not been a great fan of this grape variety but you cannot knock this wine, it is gloriously fruit driven which reminds me of southern Italian Montepulciano.  Mulberry, plums and blackberry sing out of the glass seamlessly supported with vanillan oak. It is totally sweet fruit driven on the palate with the tannins hard to find, but who cares with this intensity of fruit and well balanced acidity. The wine has nice length and is a medium bodied avoiding being overpowered by alcohol at a restrained 13.5%. This is one of the best examples of the grape variety from one of a handful of producers that specialist in the grape Recommended

Seppelt Mount Ida Heathcote Shiraz 2006. Heathcote, Vic. Deep inky core with red fruits dominating the nose. Savoury palate with more supporting red fruits, medium tannins and acidity. Well structured and balanced to achieve an elegant, rather than powerful palate. Recommended  

Best's Pinot Meunier 2005. Grampians. Vic. Stunning wine from one of the best kept secrets in the country, Through droughts and devastating frosts Best's are doing it tough and deserve more recognition for their tenacity and place in Australia's viticultural heritage.  Only 300 dozen bottles made from the 2005 vintage, obviously very low yield. Red fruits and earthy hints. Silky long palate, medium bodied, sweet perfumed red fruit on the palate with very fine tannins. Excellent length, long aftertaste. If you love pinot you will love this wine. Highly Recommended

Voyager Estate Shiraz 2007, Margaret River WA, 14%. Blackberry and vanillan oak, slightly medicinal, with sweet nutmeg and cinnamon spice make this wine fairly complex on the nose. There is more fruit and liquorice notes on the palate with the acid and tannins well integrated providing a smooth mouthfeel, well balanced. Medium plus length delivers the right bang for your bucks. Highly Recommended RRP 32.00

Lowe Family Tinja Preservative Free Merlot 2010, This wine is designed for people who react detrimentally to sulphur in wine but when you exclude this preservative from the viticultural and winemaking process it makes it exceedingly hard to make a reasonable wine. However winemaker David Lowe has succeeded in producing an attractive wine which displays lovely sweet plum and red fruits and fine dry tannins, medium bodied in weight and provides reasonable length. He sensibly recommends the wine should be drunk within six months. Recommended RRP $20.00 

Chain of Ponds Sunning Hill Sangiovese 2008, Adelaide Hills, SA 14.5%. Red cherry and ripe plum with hints of spice. Soft warm wine with supple gentle tannins and classic hints of sour cherry and raspberries. Distinctly Sangiovese without any pretentiousness. A real crowd pleaser in a drink now style.  Recommended RRP $18-20.00 

Chain of Ponds The Ledge Shiraz 2005, Adelaide Hills, SA 14% Well balanced ripe red fruit driven Shiraz with well integrated vanilla oak. Dry medium bodied with juicy, black cherry fruit and spice on the palate. The tannins are soft and exhibits some attractive cool climate cinnamon notes. Soft, well balanced wine to enjoy now. Recommended RRP $30-35

Man O'War Ironclad 2008,  Waiheke Island, NZ 14.5% Bright and intense ruby red. Clean toasty oak nose with black tea, herbal and medicinal hints. Slight leafiness displaying spot-on cool climate fruit. Complex. Dry, medium plus alcohol, medium grainy tannins but overall well integrated with some nice brambly fruit. Medium plus in length. Ready to drink but can easily develop for 4-6 years. Merlot dominant with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon. Very much a right-bank Bordeaux style wine. Highly Recommended

Moppity Vineyards Reserve Shiraz, 2008, Hilltops, NSW. 14.5% Vibrant ruby red with a deeper core. Clean nose with youthful strong primary fruit aromas. The wine displays mocha, chocolate and liquorice. Add some sweet cinnamon spice and a hint of dried fruit- raisins to that! Dry, full bodied with noticeable warm alcohol. Medium intense flavours similar to the nose with the addition of plums and vanilla oak. The wine has medium length and soft medium tannins and acidity. Rich wine with great concentration from a dry, low yielding year. Whilst ready to drink this wine can develop further for 6-8 years. Highly Recommended. RRP $50.00

Pirramimma Katunga Shiraz 2008, McLaren Vale, S.A 14% Ruby red with an inviting inky core. A medium intense wine with youthful primary fruit aromas of black cherry, plum, cedar oak and some spice. There are some intriguing earthy, slight leather, older barrel notes. Dry full bodied wine with well balanced tannins and integrated oak. Plenty going on here with cinnamon spice, plum, cedar, and liquorice. More delightful older barrel notes.  Blind tasted as normal and pleasantly surprised to see this wine was from Australia - I'd picked it as a modern style old world! Highly Recommended

Kalleske Moppa Shiraz 2008, Barossa Valley, S.A. Deep and inky. Fruit driven nose with plum, dried fruits and black cherry. Hints of Vanilla. Palate is again fruit driven in that typical Barossa style for Shiraz that we have come to expect. Gentle tannins, full bodied with roundness from a rich warm climate. Black cherry, liquorice, vanilla essence and prune flavours. A popular and distinctive wine from Barossa's leading organic small producer. Recommended  14.5% RRP $28.00

Pirathon by Kalleske Shiraz 2008, Barossa Valley, S.A. Deep opaque with youthful intensity. Chocolate, vanillan oak with hints of dried fruits and plum puddings. Full bodied immensely rich and fruit driven. Some attractive black cherry with soft well integrated tannins and a long finish. Recommended

Minko Wines Pinot Noir 2005,  Southern fleurieu, S.A. Red fruit focused pinot with hints of sweet spice. Dry, savoury, meaty palate benefiting from 18 months French barriques. An angular wine with nice depth of fruit and drinking well. Ability to keep ageing gracefully. Highly Recommended

Minko Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Southern fleurieu, SA. Inky red with lovely black fruit on the nose - cassis and blackberries-  accompanied by new oak bouquet. Full bodied on the palate, more fruit and juice driven rather than oak, displaying nice acid and medium grainy tannins. Well balanced and nicely structured. 14% abv Highly Recommended

Domaine A Pinot Noir 2005,Campania, Coal River Valley, Tasmania. Black cherry and cedar oak on the nose. As the wine develops in the glass more vegetal and undergrowth notes adds complexity. Dry, firm structure with fine-grain tannins, balanced acidity and savoury and spicy notes come through. This wine will age gracefully. Outstanding

Pepper Tree Coquun Shiraz2007, Hunter Valley NSW.  Plenty on the nose of this wine including strong oaky leather, sweet red berries and a touch of spice. Medium bodied -Hunter style-dry with well integrated smooth tannins and acidity (vital in my books for a red) Very juicy with sweet fruit and spicy oak flavours. Good choice with lamb or even veal. A hint hot on the finish, but a well made wine .Recommended. RRP $31.00

Singlefile Estate Shiraz 2007, Denmark WA. Well focused red berries aromas with a hint of spice and seasoned oak. Also a hint herbaceous which I don't mind (displaying Denmark's cool climate). Sweet black cherry middle palate with soft approachable tannins which makes this a refreshing medium bodied style red suitable for a wide range of food. Recommended. RRP $33.00

Domaine du Parc Saint Charles ‘La Pinede’ Côtes du Rhône, 2006. Medium bodied dry red with attractive bitter cherry aromas and a hint of raspberries and spice. Supple and round, with well integrated acidity and soft tannins making this wine a pleasure to match across a wide range of dishes. Recommended.

 

Rosé Wines

Kilikanoon Second Fiddle Rosé 2006, A firm rose with good length, packed with fruit. Strong strawberry and cherry aromas. Nice drop.  Highly Recommended.

Dromana i Rosato 2005. Very pale with a lovely light pink salmon colour. Delicate floral nose with hints of raspberry. Dry, good length, savoury and excellent length. Highly Recommended.

Scorpo Rosé 2006,  Mornington Peninsula, Vic. Barrel fermented Pinot Noir rosé, oak used is old so minimal pick-up. Pale salmon colour. Elegant rose petal, floral notes with light crisp palate. Bone-dry and elegant. Recommended. 

Golden Ball Cherish Saignee 2005 (Rosé) Beechworth, Vic. The 05 is drawn from a blend of Shiraz, Merlot and Grenache. Free-run juice was collected then settled and fermented in French barriques.  The wine has a glorious salmon pink colour, similar to the rosé of Provence. Lovely lifted floral, rose-petal aromas. Rich and powerful (for a rosé) on the palate with lovely mouth texture, retaining some good acidity. Excellent value. Highly Recommended.

Castagna Allegro 2005 (Rosé), Beechworth, VicA wild yeast barrel fermented Shiraz rosé with a lick of Viognier (there should be a new term identified for this wine style for both Castagna, and Golden Ball. As rosé seems too simplistic). Inviting pink coral in colour, the wine displays savoury, floral, potpourri notes accompanied by lifted fruit aromas of strawberries and apricots on the nose. Those savoury notes continue on the palate with intensity not seen in any other rosé I’ve tasted. This wine is elegant and textured with great length, simply superb drinking and worth every cent. Don’t over chill. Outstanding.

The 4th edition of the Australian Wine Guide recommends wineries and individual wines to assist consumers in touring wine regions and purchasing wines. The following is a list of Outstanding and Highly Recommended wines.

Australian Pinot Noir - Outstanding

 

Bass Phillip Reserve 04 (Gippsland), Bindi Block 5 05 (Macedon Ranges), Bindi Original 05 (Macedon

Ranges), Curly Flat 03 (Macedon Ranges), Dalrymple Special Bin Reserve 05 (Tasmania) , Domaine A 05

(Coal River), Freycinet 05 (Tasmania), Henschke Giles 05 (Eden Valley), Yeringberg 04 (Yarra Valley)

 

Australian Pinot Noir - Highly Recommended

 

Bass Phillip Estate 04 (Gippsland), Bay of Fires 05 (Tasmania), Coldstream Hills 05 (Yarra Valley),

Coldstream Hills Reserve 05 (Yarra Valley), Hungerford Hill Tumbarumba 06 (Tumbarumba), Paringa Estate

05 (Mornington Estate), Pirie Estate Reserve 05 (Tasmania), Phillip Island The Nobbies 05 (Gippsland),

Silk Hill 04 (Tasmania), Spring Vale 05 (Tasmania), Stoney Rise 05 (Tasmania)m Stoney Vineyard 04 (Tasmania), Stoniers  KBS, Windmill and Reserve  04 (Mornington Peninsula), TarraWarra Estate 04

(Yarra Valley), Willow Creek Benedictus 04 (Mornington Peninsula)

Australian Shiraz - Outstanding

Bindi Pyrette 05 (Heathcote), Cape Mentelle Wallcliffe 03 (Margaret River), Castagna Genesis 04

(Beechworth), Chateau Tanunda Lyndoch 05 (Barossa Valley), De Bortoli Reserve Release Syrah 04

(Yarra Valley), Henschke Mount Edelstone 04 (Eden Valley), Kilikanoon Reserve 02 (Clare Valley),

Meerea Park Alexandra Munro 05 (Hunter Valley), Paul Osika 04 (Heathcote), Saltram the Eight Maker

03 (Barossa Valley), Thomas Kiss 05 (Hunter Valley), Torbreck The Factor 04 (Barossa Valley),

Torbreck The Sturie 05 (Barossa Valley), Watershed 04 (Margaret River).

 

Australian Shiraz - Highly Recommended

 

Arakoon  Doyan 03 (Mclaren Vale) , Bannockburn 03 (Geelong), Chateau Tanunda Greenock 05

(Barossa Valley), Clonakilla Hilltops 04 (Hilltops), Coriole 04 (McLaren Vale), Giants Step Sexton Jones

Block 04 (McLaren Vale), Gilberts Reserve Shiraz 04 (Mount Barker), Hardy’s Tintara 04 (McLaren Vale), Kilikanoon Covenant 04 (Clare Valley), Meerea Park Terracotta 05 (Hunter Valley), Penfolds Kalimna

Bin 28 04 (S.A blend), O’Leary Walker the Clare Reserve 04 (Clare Valley), Olivers Taranga HJ Reserve

02 (McLaren Vale), Penley Estate Special Select 04 (Coonawarra), Picardy 03 (Pemberton), Plunkett

Reserve 04 (Strathbogie Ranges), Pyrenees Ridge Reserve 05 (Pyrenees), Richmond Grove Limited

Release 02 (Barossa Valley), Seppelts Mount Ida 04 (Grampians), Thorn Clarke William Randell 04

(Barossa Valley), Torbreck Descendent 04 (Barossa Valley), Waterwheel 02 (Bendigo), Wonga Estate

04 (Heathcote).

 

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Attention Wine Producers- Samples now being accepted for inclusion in the 5th Edition

If you would like to submit samples for consideration in the next edition of the Australian Wine Guide as well as reviews on this website please contact Clive Hartley on the following email address. contact@australianwineguide.com