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Ara Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015

ara-SVPNNew Zealand’s Marlborough region has SO much more going for it than just Sauvignon Blanc, it has the potential for elegant and charming Pinot Noir too.  Whereas Central Otago, with its many sunlight hours, produces bold, vivacious Pinot, I find they are too often too high in alcohol. There is much to love in the drinkability of the Marlborough Pinots.

The Ara Single Vineyard Pinot Noir is made from grapes sourced from the Wairau Valley in Marlborough.  Fresh raspberry, black cherry and dried herb notes are supported by the richness of some finely honed vanilla oak.  Ten months in mostly old oak has given this pinot some polish and extended the finish. As it moves through the mouth, it takes a more earthy and herbal tone.

To get the best out of this wine, it needs to open up so either decant it or leave the bottle open for an hour before serving.  Give it this time and it will become a richly perfumed crowd pleaser for a good price.

Quickie review «A gently perfumed and persuasive pinot that becomes more earthy on the palate.»

Country of Origin: New Zealand  Date: November 2017    Price: AUD20+ /GBP12  Drink: now – 5 years   Needs food: no   Source: purchase

 

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d’arenberg The Noble Botryotinia Fuckeliana Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2015

darenberg-BF-wmAgain, the Osborn family reminds us all to not take wine so seriously with a name that will make the uninitiated blush. They are known for catchy, sometimes really weird, names for their wines and this one is no different. Of course, there is a totally sane reason for such a seemingly irreverent name. Botrytis cineria or Noble Rot is part of the Botryotinia genus and without this particular mould this wine would not have its characteristic marmalade twist, nor its viscosity. Fuckeliana is a tip of the hat to one Karl Fuckel, a German botanist and mycologist.

The BF is an Adelaide Hills blend of two of the white Sauternes powerhouses, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. And at 231 grams per litre of residual sugar, it is indeed a luscious little sweetie featuring intense apricot, marmalade, ginger spice, honeysuckle and honeyed orange. The fresh hit of acid does its job of balancing that sweetness and ensures Read More

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Yalumba ‘The Y Series Viognier’ 2016

yalumba-Y-viognierThis is always a cleverly crafted dry, white wine and you get a whole lot of value in your glass. Yalumba have established themselves as the Australian champions of this grape and this is just one version amongst a storybook full of viognier expressions from the Hill-Smith family. This expertise is apparent at all levels from this wine to The Virgilius.

The ‘Y Series’ Viognier has all the classic hallmarks of the variety along with some wild ferment characters. Ripe apricot tart with some spiced pastry crust is served up with some grapefruit, ginger and white flowers aromas. It has a richly perfumed nose, attractive and evocative. Read More

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Patritti Section 181 McLaren Vale Grenache 2015

0472A27E-AF67-4E4B-8D47-059DD1D1FC17Section 181 refers to the single vineyard that is the source for these Grenache grapes. Section 181 Branson Road, Tatachilla, a vineyard Giovanni Patritti purchased in 1960 and planted with varieties such as this dry grown Grenache.  This old vine red expresses typical McLaren Vale regional ripeness, boldness and generosity in its raspberry, red plum and cherry fruit supported by vanilla, cinnamon and a handful of dried herbs.

Ripe tannins wraps around fresh acid and a fuller body. Once this wine settles on the tongue there is plenty of intensity and the fresh red fruit lingers on. This is a wine that has a story to tell, it will just take some time for it to hit its stride. It is good drinking now, but certainly it will do well with some cellar time and once you taste it, Read More

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Flavabom Field White 2016

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This is a tasty four varietal field blend from and really is a showcase for showing just what the Riverland in Australia can create with their traditional, and old vine, varieties. Muscadelle, Chenin Blanc, Colombard and Semillon are varieties that have a deep history in the area and this dry white tells the story of each, backed by a gracefulness that comes with vine age.

A sweet savoury perfume reaches out from the glass. Being from Riverland, ripeness comes easier than some Australian regions and here it is portrayed in the fulsome floral, peach, and just picked nectarine character. Having some time in French oak has given this Flavabom some spiciness to flesh it out. Soft acid adds curves and silk to the rich palate that firms towards the savoury, spiced nuts and fruit finish.

This is a lush wine that is playful but sticks around long enough to leave an Read More

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Champagne? Yes, please! It’s International Champagne DAY ….

Bored with the usual mainstream brands of Champagne?

champagne-sea-wmNow that is a phrase that I cannot ever, in any future breath, conceivably imagine myself ever saying. I can never imagine a time when I will have had too much Champagne of any kind…. That said, I can assure you that now, more than anytime in recent decades, there is plenty of choice when looking for your next bottle of Champagne.

The Champagne region has always worked very hard to be synonymous with celebrations, so much that the popping of a cork generally brings smiles all round. With more Champagne vineyards being planted to be able to keep up supply, there has been an increase in these grape growers producing their own Champagnes instead of just selling their grapes to the large Champagne houses.

You can identify a ‘grower’ Champagne by the code Read More

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Getting to know Gruner Veltliner! An Austrian and a few Aussies …..

Even five years ago, Australian Gruner Veltliner was unheard of outside the circle of the wine trade. Yes, that is correct, Australian …. not a typo at all.

 

paracombe-GVWhile there is the rare kangaroo on the loose in Austrian paddocks, the same can no longer be said about Gruner Veltliner, a grape traditionally at home in Austrian vineyards, being grown on Australian soil. It can be said that since posting ‘A Tale of 3 Gruners…..’ back in 2015, Australian wine drinkers are getting spoiled for choice.

Canberran pioneers of this grape, the Carpenter family released the first vintage of their Lark Hill Winery Gruner Veltliner in 2009 when their vines were just 7 years old. Each new vintage that I have tasted of this biodynamic wine, I am impressed by its polished nature and the faceted floral fruit that sits happily amongst the more savoury elements. The current vintage is 2017 (AUD49).

Hahndorf Hill Winery from Adelaide Hills released the first vintage of GRU in 2010. Recently, lovers of this wine will have noticed a new addition to the Hahndorf Hill Gruner Veltliner story. Fermented in stainless steel, Hahndorf Hill Winery White Mischief (AUD24) is all about pure fruit expression; zesty citrus and stonefruit. A fruity, fleshy dry wine that quickly makes friends. Read More

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Saltram No.1 Shiraz 2012

Saltram-no-1This is one Barossan for the cellar and it delivers some of that finesse that you might find in wines that carry a much higher price tag. Here amongst the coconut, chocolate oak offer up a spicy and smooth background to fresh cherry, cinnamon, mint, dark berry fruit. There are some mint and graphite facets on show too as the wine opens up and finishes on a mocha note. While oak makes its presence known, thanks to some larger format barrels it does not dominate or overwhelm.

While the tannins are shapely and will help keep this wine fresh for the years to come, if you cannot wait for it to mellow then you will find it better with food. Venison sausage, or a roast with all the trimmings.

Quickie review «A smooth, spicy, well cared for Barossan that shows much potential in its youth if you cannot wait for it to gain some maturity.»

Country of Origin: Australia  Date: May 2016 Price: AUD 80+ | £ | Drink: 10+ years Needs food: better with food in its youth Source: tasting

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d’Arenberg The High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

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If you like generous and fruity Cabernet, this is really very hard to beat. The Osborn family are indefatigable when it comes to looking after the more traditional wines in their vast range, just as they are at trying something new. The High Trellis fruit comes from some very old vineyards in the McLaren Vale and as to its pedigree… the wine has won a Jimmy Watson trophy for the 1969 vintage.

As usual d’Arenberg are all about getting the best out of their fruit, old oak is key here, and this vintage was no different. The red currant fruit sits amongst sage, cedar and earth notes and there is a menthol edge here too. The tannins are fine and shapely in the mouth. As the elegantly bodied wine moves along the palate it finishes long, plush and is quite irresistible.

Quickie review «Flavourful, juicy, and definitely good company.»

Country of Origin: Australia  Date: May 2016    Price: AUD 18 | £ 11 | Drink: Now – 5+ years     Needs food: no   Source: tasting

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La Bohème Act Two Dry Pinot Noir Rosé 2016

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When the De Bortoli family launched this wine in 2010, the Rosé Revolution was also born as a celebration of the dry rosés produced in Australia at a time when this type of rosé was barely on wine lovers radar. Now, when visiting a small local bottle shop in Australia, you have a much greater chance of finding a dry rosé, it may even be pale, in amongst the candy coloured, off dry pinks. There is even a good chance Read More

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