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Sunday 9 June 2024

Yalumba The Virgilius Viognier 2022

The last Friday in April is designated as "International Viognier Day". Unsure who gets to make a call to designate such, regardless Yalumba - without whom the variety might not exist, certainly in an Australian context at least - were kind enough to sling a bottle of their flagship "Virgilius" to mark the occasion.

Some barrel time - ten months, French oak - adds its presence here, over white florals and spice (mace, ginger) and a little vanilla.

There's weight to the palate, varietal and stylistically. Spice, depth - it's dry and on an excellent length and persistence of flavour. Drink to ten years. 94

Tasted on: Friday 26th April
Source: Sample
Price: $57
Closure: Screwcap

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Saturday 8 June 2024

Lyon's Will Chardonnay 2023

Chardonnay from the Macedon Ranges, a region I feel I know but - admittedly - would be hard placed to definitively place on a map. Chardonnay like this could well challenge that geographic uncertainty.

Melon, drizzle of lime, grapefruit tang. Aromas that - logically - flow to the palate, fresh and vibrant.

Set before a firmer position, an edge that feels as solid as the name for the region from which it came conveys. Unsure if a geographical feature qualifies as onomatopeia, mind.

Generous length, subtle, creeping. Take note people. 92

Tasted on: Tuesday 30th April
Source: Sample
Price: $50
Closure: Cork

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Wednesday 5 June 2024

Tarras Vineyard Pinot Noir 2020

Dark cherry, rose petal, plum - almost plum sauce like in presentation.

It's a single vineyard Pinot from Central Otago, in New Zealand's South Island.

Firmer in style, typical of the region - with is dry environment. Plush, velvet like tannins - with a firmer backstop of flavour. Spiced, touch of dry leaf litter - lovely expression of CO Pinot Noir. 93

Tasted on: Saturday 11th May
Source: Sample
Price: $60
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Sample courtesy of:

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Tuesday 4 June 2024

Huntington Estate Barrel Ferment Chardonnay 2022

Barrel Ferment Chardonnay from Mudgee's Huntington Estate.

Hints of stonefruit in tandem with vanilla and something like a frangipane note. Fragrant, Fruity, an exotic allure.

Toast and bite on the palate, a textural swathe slicing it's way across the oral cavity. Balancing acidity, citrus and tangy. Lovely balance, to an overall attractive package. 92

Tasted on: Tuesday 21st May
Source: Sample
Price: $35
Alcohol: 13.77%
Closure: Screwcap

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Monday 3 June 2024

Stockman's Ridge Rider Pinot Gris 2023

Pouring a pale straw, just enough colour for interest.

Poached pear and cinnamon notes, a classic combination and varietally true. Suggestion of citrus blossom, white pepper and fennel tops.

There's a nice crispness to the wine, in-line with its 12.3% alcohol. Dry and with a lingering acidic freshness. 91

Tasted on: Sunday 2nd June
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 12.3%
Closure: Screwcap
Sample Courtesy of:

Sunday 2 June 2024

Hill-Smith Family Estates Chardonnay Tasting

I recently had the pleasure of joining an online tasting of Chardonnays from across the Hill-Smith Family Estates portfolio, joining winemakers Heather Fraser (Ringbolt & Yalumba), Marc van Halderen (Heggies Vineyard) and Clive Jones (Nautilus Estate) along with other invited wine media.


Each wine was selected on the basis of representing the Terroir from which the fruit is drawn. Each at a similar price point, around the $30 or so mark. One observation I made - and refer here - is how little oak was mentioned with respect to being a significant to winemaking, instead the fruit being allowed to shine - reflective of that desire to exhibit wines of terroir.


Yalumba Samuel's Collection Eden Valley Chardonnay 2022 2022 $28 13%
I noted during the tasting that the wine sees 50% stainless and 50% oak, the former to demonstrate leanness for a wine made in a deliberate and laid back style. Fruit is from an established vineyard, some twenty years average age.

Pale straw, fig and spice. Supplemented with stonefruit and subtle vanilla notes. An easy going and approachable Chardonnay from a mild and even vintage. 90


Heggies Vineyard Estate Chardonnay 2023 $36 13%
From a vineyard planted to Chardonnay and Riesling (2/3rd 1/3). The Chardonnay is predominantly Mendoza clone (for those inclined) along with a good mix of other clones. Winemaker Marc van Halderen offered that as a brand they're seeking to bring a revival back to Heggie's Chardonnay.

Residual oak showing, not heavy handed. More overt and textural, broader in profile - certainly in comparison to the leaner Yalumba Samuel's Collection. There's a generosity of appeal; partial lees stirring occurs every 4-6 weeks to build an element of texture.

Citrus, vanilla bean and a doughy edge here. Gentle cleansing, grapefruit acidity through the finish. 91


Nautilus Marlborough Chardonnay 2022 $36NZ 13%
Clive Jones has been the winemaker at Nautilus for 26 years. Fruit is from a vineyard purchased in 1993 (the fruit having first been contracted in 1989).

This is the only Chardonnay made by Nautilus, some 80 barrels in total. Fruit is picked by clone, across 3-4 different picks. It's entirely barrel fermented, a little lees stirring once dry.

Grilled nectarine with an underlying nougat element. Spiced, with a vibrancy to the wine, an energetic expression. Creamy expression through the mid-palate, custard apple like, before a spine of refreshing acidity. 93


Ringbolt Wilyabrup Chardonnay 2023 $36 13.5%
After the long-held asociation with Cabernet Sauvignon, winemaker Heather Fraser was keen to explore Margaret River Chardonnay. a long
standing grower had some Chardonnay fruit. It's drawn off two blocks: 50% Burgundian 96 - seeing 100% Malo in barrel - and 50% GinGin (AKA Mendoza) - seeing no Malo. The finished wine is composition of everything produced.

Ripe stonefruit, nougat and toast. Delicate citrus cascading, initial palate flow. Peach, nougat. It sees
- 10% new oak; balance is 1-5yo French Barriques. Slight briny, minerally edge on the lead-in to the palate; bitter lemon and grapefruit zest. Lovely drying length. 92

With thanks to Hill-Smith Family Estates (Lauren Hampel, Heather Fraser, 
Marc van Halderen, and Clive Jones).

Sunday 4 February 2024

Harewood Estate Great Southern Riesling 2023

This is the one that generally leads me down the nasal path to Thai Basil, spiced blossoms, citrus oils.

It's not as obvious on the palate as the Single Vineyard offerings, you have to go looking. It's perhaps a more straightforward affair: lemon balsam, a little passionfruit and guava like note. Not overt. On a reasonable finish, a good-ish length. 91

Tasted on: Thursday 18th January
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Sample c/o: 

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