An Australian Wine Blog

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Lowe Nullo Mountain Late Harvest Riesling 2013


Opened this alongside a Gewürztraminer, looking for something to handle a little spice, this was more than up to the task.

Lemon peel, a little seville orange, not overt aromatics. 

Lovely textural entry, sweetness balanced by acid. A little burnt orange provides a counterpoint to the sweetness. Decent length, balanced, I reckon will be an even better proposition some way down the track when it fleshes out further. 89+

Tasted on: Wednesday 27th August, a Fruit to Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: lowewine.com.au

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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Rymill Gewurztraminer 2013

Excellent varietal character out of the glass, just lacking a little in the middle for me.

Musk, rose, gentle spice, even a suggestion of apricot nectar in the mix. Ticking the right boxes for the variety.

Palate shows a wine that's a little flatter in profile, lacking a little texture. Good spice per the variety, perhaps a little residual sugar retention would have helped fluff up the middle.

Decent length to boot, like I say, just missing a little something through the middle. 89  

Tasted on: Wednesday 27th August, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $21.95/ 19.95 on website
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.rymill.com.au

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Topper's Mountain Nebbiolo 2011


Red fruits initially - fading to nuts, herb (I thought some fennel too, but that was the 'Italian' sausages I was pairing this with), green tea and dried leaf matter.

Strawberry on entry, light on, good drying tannin, nice pea of acid toward the back end. Came across as two different wines, with and without food - better with the Italian sausage ragu.

Savoury tea tannin, decent length, promising. 89/90+

Tasted on: Saturday 23rd August, a Leaf day 
Source: Sample
Price: $38
Alcohol: 12.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://toppers.com.au/

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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Chapel Hill Chardonnay 2013

Forward, tropical notes of guava and passionfruit with a little gooseberry-esque character in the mix.

Chalky, acid is pretty fluid, racing across the palate. Length is OK, but not the one for me this time round. 87

Tasted on: Sunday 23rd August, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $16 
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.chapelhillwine.com.au/

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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Montalto Pennon Hill Chardonnay 2013

From the Montalto website: "The name Pennon Hill comes from the south facing slope on our home vineyard in Red Hill South. The wines are Mornington Peninsula regional blends and we’re aiming for bright, fresh wines with juicy, textured fruit flavours."

Wheaty, mealy, creamy with stonefruit singing here. Touch tangier than the Montalto Chardonnay (above), displaying those characters sought in the Pennon Hill range. Stonefruit, pear, a bit of toasty oak and even a little grip moving towards the back palate.

Good length here too, not to the same degree of intensity, freshness and delicious to boot. 92

Tasted on: Saturday 23rd August, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $23
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://montalto.com.au/

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Montalto Chardonnay 2013

The intensity: struck match complexity, cashew and a suggestion of key lime hanging out around the back of the bike-shed.

Toasty, flinty mineral, good balance of fruit. Acid a bit chatty but against the other elements it creates a wonderfully balanced drinking proposition. Length is excellent. A joy to drink - and once the formalities of tasting were over, I did just that. 93/94

Tasted on: Sunday 23rd August, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $39
Alcohol: 13.2%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://montalto.com.au/

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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Heggies Eden Valley Chardonnay 2012

Stonefruit, sensitive oak inputs, a little citrus, touches of flintiness in there too.

Creamy - plenty of battonage here - toastiness, flinty mineral complexity. An all round attractive package, no shouting please. Line and length are admirable. Composed and elegant is probably how I'd summarise it. 91

Tasted on: Saturday 23rd August, a Leaf day 
Source: Sample
Price: $29.95
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.heggiesvineyard.com/

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Cook's Lot Chardonnay 2013

Another solid release from Cook's Lot, shares a familiarity to its 2012 sibling, though my preference is - marginally - for that wine.

Here the wine veers more towards tropicals with pineapple and a little tangy citrus/ grapefruit in support.

Zesty, tangy - a word that popped up more than once in my written note - showing a bit of toasty oak in the mix too. Malo has softened the acid nicely, my only gripe is a little bitterness toward the back end. Decent length, goes alright this. 89

Tasted on: Saturday 23rd August, a Leaf day 
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13.9%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.cookslot.com.au/

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The Vinsomniac - Stuart Robinson: Cook's Lot Chardonnay 2012

Monday, 25 August 2014

Mawson's 'The Vickers' Limestone Coast Chardonnay 2013

The third of the releases in the attractively packaged Mawson's range.

Aromatics are somewhat pleasing, in a simple, comely way. Citrus, sherbet-esque sweetness and a little underlying caramel in the mix too.

Loses its way on the palate a bit, a touch sweet with a flow-on bitter lemon feel. It's in balance, and the length is decent - a touch of citrus punch at the back. 88

Tasted on: Saturday 23rd August, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $15.95
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.samsmith.com.au/library/MAWCHA13.pdf

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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Bakkheia Aequitas Tempranillo Graciano 2013


Opens with a distinct Mediterranean vibe of green olive, fresh thyme, a bit of dried twig - latterly subsides to allow more fruit coming through, blue fruit and a touch of plum.

Of a medium bodied elegance, smooth - segueing to chalky tannin. Doesn't show much fruit, the palate is ably supported by the 'grace' of Graciano. Finishes on a good length, giving, sustaining. 91

Tasted on: Friday 22nd August, a Flower transitioning to Leaf day 
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol:14.2%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.bakkheia.com.au/

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Manners Tempranillo 2013

Not as impressive a release as the Shiraz, but signs are positive. Out of the blocks with a gun metal, burnt orange, cherry, chestnut and cola complex aromatic make-up.

Moves to a fresh palate, good fruit presence, flash of vanilla, a nip of acid (surprising), soft tannins. Decent length bookends the wine. Shows promise. 89

Tasted on: Friday 22nd August, a Flower transitioning to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://wellmanneredwine.com.au/

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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Bakkheia Cabernet Merlot 2012

Unreleased as yet, I can see why, struck me as being a touch raw initially, green and herbal with some stalkiness against new oak. A 60/40 of the two listed varieties.

Day two a different picture, coming together nicely, resolved with generous character of bay with good black fruit character in support.

Smooth, polished, squarely medium bodied. Showing mulberry, touch of plum and cedary spice. Really grew in stature, unfurling and gaining length. 89+

Tasted on: Sunday 17th August, a Fruit to Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $ n/a - not released yet
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.bakkheia.com.au/

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Pertaringa Stage Left Merlot 2012

Fruit here is drawn from the wider 'Adelaide' super region, meaning it could from the Hills, McLaren Vale itself and the wider Fleurieu.

Simplicity in approach, the allure of a vibrant fruit laden profile. Lacks the savoury aromatics one commonly sees in Merlot, what works here is approachability.

There's a little choc-mint, it's smooth and supple on entry. Spice adds a little interest, raspy tanning some contrast. Decent length - enjoyable as a 'drink now' proposition. 87

Tasted on: Sunday 17th August, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.pertaringa.com.au/

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Grant Burge Hillcot Merlot 2012


Attractively packaged the Vineyard series from Grant Burge. Full tote price is approaching $25, can be found at large format retailers considerably cheaper.

Black fruit, obvious veneer of oak - simple aromatics. Palate shows that fruit profile carrying forward, a welcome savoury addition too, even if acid is a little jarring. Decent tannin, decent length. 89

Tasted on: Sunday 17th August, a fruit to Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $24.75
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: 

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Friday, 22 August 2014

Notes From a Big Country...

I love the ironic nicknames that are often given in Australia: Shorty for the individual who’s not exactly vertically challenged; Blue for the redhead; Curly for the chap that is a little challenged in the follicle department; Chuckles for an individual with a serious demeanour. Which provides me with a contrived way to segue to the host for Swirl, Sniff, Spit’s ‘American’ wine tasting - Brad Hickey,  AKA 'Brash Higgins'. A man who is anything but. Calm, thoughtful, considered, generous with time and knowledge.

And so it was that this former Wine Director for 2 Michelin Starred New York eatery Bouley, turned McLaren Vale winemaker - by way of that familiar tale of having found love - found himself at Brisbane Gastro-bar Statler & Waldorf, displaying that generosity of knowledge to a crowd of gathered wine lovers.

We started our journey with the thriving wine industry in and around Long Island. Charles Massoud, founder of Paumanok in the Spring of 1983. Again a familiar tale, though the industry may differ. Having made his money in banking, Charles moved his family out to North Fork of Long Island. Today, with son Kareem at the winemaking helm, Paumanok is the only producer of Chenin in Long Island. Vines planted in 70s, picked early to be fresh, bright, spends 3 months in s/steel – seeing no oak. Hickey advises that it has become something of a cult wine in Long Island (and remarks that its all the more surprising that Paumanok are the only producer). The 2012 Paumanok Chenin Blanc - Fresh and crisp golden delicious, tropical hints. The palate sees a wine fresh, a real sense of life and vitality there – zest, zing and mineral; fades away on a good length. 92

Then we head North-West, to the Finger Lakes region, in the far North East reaches of New York state. The region gains its name from the spindly, deep glacial lakes (some 2 KM deep). The area has proven itself suited to aromatic whites: Riesling, Gewürztraminer etc, but it wasn’t always so. Hermann Wiemer is now seen as a pioneer of the region. Thought crazy initially, he turned out to be the smart one. Hermann J. Wiemer “Dry” Riesling 2012, Glorious perfume here: floral, candies, touch of tropical.blossom character. A little residual sugar, textural - pillowy softness, textural finish with a thread of lasting apple. 91

Moving over to the West Coast, California - undoubtedly the most famous of the US’s wine producing states, although as Hickey states wine is made in each of the states of America, quality varying widely across them, experience has shown those states in closer proximity to the moderating influences of the oceans tend to have the qualitative edge. The Dutton-Goldfield “Dutton Ranch” Chardonnay, of the Russian River AVA (American Viticultural Area) is a collaboration between two gents: Steve Dutton (Viti) and Dan Goldfield (Winemaker). The Dutton Family has huge holdings, winemaking sees use of top French barrels, lots of lees stirrings to build complexity. 2012 is regarded as an excellent vintage. Initially gives the sense of being a little mute, cajoling the wine gives a core of citrus, pear and a suggestion of stone fruit. But its the texture that wins out: creamy, vanilla oak; nuts-cashew – on a good length. Bit of minerality adds complexity and rewards each sip, staying power, longevity. 92

Back across the East Coast again. Traversing the great nation, feeling like the great Sal Paradise. Now to Channing Daughters with their 2010 “Meditazione” white Friulian Blend. Chris Tracy, a friend of Brad’s, Channing Daughters' winemaker and partner in the business. Chris introduced new grape varieties such as Tokay Friulano, the intent was to try and play with climate – the belief that Merlot was not suitable for the region. The ‘Mediatizione’ is a blend of 6-7 varieties: 28% Muscat Ottonel, 20% Chardonnay, 18% Sauvignon Blanc, 12% Pinot Grigio, 10% Tocai Friulano, 5% Viognier, 5% Aligote, 2% Semillon – picked at the same time and fermented together. This ‘orange’ wine spends about 20 days on skins. Destemmed, co-fermented together, 1 year in new Slovenian and some older second and third use oak. Shows almond/marzipan, butterscotch, florals, lychee, hints of stone fruit and a touch of earl grey tea. There’s plenty going on - phenolic bitterness, grip – frangipani tarts and vanilla/creme. That grip – lasting, on a very good length. Unyielding almost. 92/3
 
Back to California we go, about an hour drive north of Sonoma, a location that is providing cheaper fruit options for younger sets than those found further South. There the Idlewild guys found some old vines out there. Grenache Gris is pretty rare, often made into white wines in France. Here it’s made in style of a Rosé, but with bite. Idlewild's Grenache Gris, Gibson Ranch, Mendocino, CA, a but of Raspberry leaf, boiled lolly; leaf, raspberry – red fruit cordial notes on the palate with a little herb in there too, snap of acid and lingering spice. Not necessarily the greatest length. Would probably show better on its own and in more appropriate stemware. 89

Grenache specialists A Tribute to Grace Grenache provide our next introduction. New Zealand native Angela Osborne moved to California in 2006 with a dream to make Grenache. Boy has she done so. Light, pretty, aromatic: strawberry, cherry and a little citrus. At contrast to the palate where the wine possesses a bit of body. Given time the wine shows softer…almost pillowy sense to it. Spice, depth, length - gorgeous wine. Of many parts. 93
 
North again to ‘neighbouring’ Oregon for the 2010 Sineann Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley. Peter Rosback established Sineann in 1994. Owning no vineyard, fruit is sourced from the finest vineyards in the region. Showing resinous notes - something I see in Willamette PNs - smoked tea; darker notes. Possessing good structure, floaty tannins latterly; spice, good length 89
 
South again back to California for Peay Pinot Noir, Sonoma CoastPeay is a labour of love for Vanessa Wong winemaker – cult winemaker for others – who, with her husband and brother-in-law sought out some fruit, Sonoma coast about 4miles from coast,  above the fog line. Marginal location - some might say perfect for fickle Pinot Noir. Strawberry, wild strawberry, green herbal/ slight pine edge; soft, concentrated, compact – soft almost spongey tannin/ structure. Excellent finish - good vitality. 92
 
Brad Hickey spoke of Matthew Warwick, a new breed of winemaker – looking at and pursuing alternatives (similar to Australian ‘side projects’ crew); Dutch parentage, a Navy gulf war veteran. An intellectual, smart; making serious wines with Cabernet. Forlorn Hope – comes from Dutch ‘hoop’ or troop/ tribe: 2010 Forlorn Hope “Mil Amores, Dewitt Vineyard”, (Touriga Nacional, Tinto Roriz, Trincadeira) from the Sierra Foothills, essentially port blend, but fermented dry as a table wine. Florals, purple fruit, lavender perhaps; Fruitcake, smooth, plush, on a Reasonable length. 91/92

Another unusual blend, the 2011 Scholium Project “Gardens of Babylon” Red Blend, CA from the hands of Abe Schoener, academic – philosophy professor. Hickey advises that Abe’s wines have a story – playing on the philosophy angle. Unusual red blend: Cabernet Sauv, Petite Sirah, Cinsault. 300 case production only. Spicy, lifted, florals; savoury, woody notes. Blue/black fruit with tart fruit acidity.
Short on length, good snap of acidity and flavour. 90
 
In a final bracket pitched as ‘typical’ American wines, Zinfandel labelled the ‘American’ grape. Ed Meades is one of the earliest plantings of the variety, with Dr Edmeades plantings in the late 60s. Now owned by Jackson Family, purchased in the 80s. The 2011 Edmeades Zinfandel, Mendocino County, CA. Lavender, red, blue and black fruits - quite pretty still with spice riven through the wine. 91/2

In the context of Californian wine, La Jota is a grandaddy. The Howell Mountain area has become highly sought after high altitude growing location, vines at 600m. The 2008 La Jota “Heritage", Howell Mt. Cabernet Sauvignon, spends two years in new French oak - it shows. Abundance of Black fruit, cassis, cedary notes. Full, but a lovely innate sense of balance; minerality. Dark, dusty, fine graphite mineral. Excellent length. Structure and fruit quality for the long haul. 93


Tasted on: Tuesday 19th August, a Root Day
Source: Swirl, Sniff, Spit
Price: $Various
Alcohol: Various

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Monday, 18 August 2014

Yelland & Papps Pinot Gris Pinot Blanc 2013


Long since sold out ex-winery, it's been lurking in the fridge for a while and I reached for it, looking for something to pair with a house favourite - the broccoli cheese soup (damn convenient way of getting some greens into the nippers I tell thee).

Opens with florals, green pear, honey/ honeysuckle. There's plenty going on: the palate shows honey, faint tropicals; possesses textural nuances supplemented by a minerally edge. Briny, zesty, florals, touch of tart grapefruit. 

My only gripe is there might just be too much happening. Smashing wine though. No idea if it's to be repeated. Susan? Anyway, here's your number: 91

[Postscript: Yelland & Papps advised that at the time of posting, the 2014 had just gone to bottle and the bulk of it is destined for the Queensland market, with a small residual amount for SA]

Tasted on: Saturday 16th August, a Fruit day 
Source: Retail, Spiros Paddington
Price: $22
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yellandandpapps.com/

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Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010


Comes in a lovely embossed regional bottle. From there my love diminished.

Opens well: hedgerow, herb/garrigue, lovely savoury-woody spice with dusty earthen notes over a little red fruit. Medium bodied, hints of mineral, licorice - fruit a little lacking on the palate.

Medium intensity, reasonable savoury length - yet it lost its way quickly, life and vitality sadly ebbing away from it. OK, my money would be much better spent elsewhere. 89

Tasted on: Saturday 9th August, a Fruit Day 
Source: Retail
Price: $70ish
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.famillequiot.com/

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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Grant Burge Cameron Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

I was hunting around for the remote control when I opened this - it was rather mute, taking a good hour to start displaying any character.

Cedar, spice, wafery oak. Muted - lacking in fruit or anything in substance. Nothing particularly stands out, nothing seems particularly out of place.

With time, a little black fruit started to draw out. There's a little character on the finish. Overall I found it pretty uninspiring, unconvincing. The plus sign here a little optimism on my part. 86+


Tasted on: Friday 8th August, a Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: n/a
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.grantburgewines.com.au/

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Torzi Matthews Prosecco 2014

A new addition to both the Torzi Matthews portfolio and the Eden Valley. Made in the traditional (Charmat) method, where the wine is both barrel fermented, then transferred to tank for a secondary fermentation under pressure. Vines are youngsters at three years old. 4300 bottles produced.

Lovely pear and apple aromatics floating out, I shared this with some friends over a pear and walnut salad, not a bad match - a delightful aperitif style.

Pretty light-on, a gentle tickle across the palate, plenty of pear with a suggestion of some stone-fruit. It's light, yet retains enough interest to be a pleasure. 89

Tasted on: Wednesday 13th August, Flower transitioning to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: DIAM
Website: http://www.torzimatthews.com.au/

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Saturday, 16 August 2014

Ferngrove 'Majestic' Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

A touch arboreal initially, then the core of black fruit, cedary spice and chocolatey oak hits you. 

Medium bodied, brambley black fruit, exquisitely powdered tannin and acid that provides great reach into the palate. Fruit gives way to a savoury bent on a great length. 91

Tasted on: Friday 8th August, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $32
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.ferngrove.com.au

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K1 Middle Hill Shiraz 2012

A deliciously elegant expression of Adelaide Hills Shiraz, a new addition to the K1 portfolio.

Beautiful aromas invite you: bright, juicy cherry, strawberry with some plum and mulberry augmenting that brightness with a little black fruit.

Nicely wighted, medium bodied, entry showing good fruit presence, a little mineral vein running through the wine. Fine, soft, powdery tannin completes the picture. Easy going, not complex. A very pleasurable experience. 89 

Tasted on: Thursday 7th August, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.k1.com.au/

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Yelland & Papps Devote Old Vine Grenache 2012

Black cherry, kirsch, spiced oak wafts out. A comforting familiarity. Red and black fruits back this up on the palate, s touch of liqueur - but, more than that it's medium-full bodied, spiced...moreish. 

Quenching, tangy acid, fine threads of tannin segueing to a savoury finish, of creeping length with a touch of licorice. 

My preference was to the wine on day one. I'd suggest no more than a mid-term stint stint in the cellar, drink to 2019. 91


Tasted on: Sunday 3rd August, a Root to Flower day 
Source: Sample
Price: $35
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yellandandpapps.com/

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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Terre à Terre Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


A magnificent example from Wrattonbully. Powerful blue/black fruit aromatics reel you in, supplemented with cedary spice, dried herb a little char and black olive.

Power and reach with an elegant framework, excellent structure that will provide for a long road ahead. Graphite mineral and exquisite grained tannin. 

Length does not do justice to the wine. It's reach is exemplary: effortless, flowing, elegant - yet just darned drinkable. If only it were all like this. 95

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd August, a Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: terreaterre.com.au

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The Vinsomniac - Stuart Robinson: Terre à Terre Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Friday, 8 August 2014

Stonier Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay 2013

I arrived home later than normal. The children were already in bed. "Dinner's in the kitchen" stated the Mrs, "it's yummy". Basically 'flaky' fish pie, a Delia Smith special - with a few mods to try and get some vegetables of note into the kids. They're not daft those two, can spot such an attempt a mile away.

Chardonnay. That's what I wanted.

Golden with a green hue. Stonefruit, sits atop some oak. Nicely pitched. It's more about the fruit, you know there's some wood underneath.

Good weight, eschews the anaemic Chardonnay so in vogue; toasty, lime/citrus - a little cream and vanilla. Length is OK, intensity is moderate. It'll flesh out one suspects, put on a little filling. Note the plus sign here. 90+

Tasted on: Thursday 7th August, a Leaf transitioning to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.stonier.com.au/

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Thursday, 7 August 2014

K1 Adelaide Hills Vintage Sparkling 2010


K1's second successive vintage sparkling wine produced. It's Pinot Noir dominant (80%), with a residual amount of Chardonnay. 

Price wise it's pitching itself in pretty serious territory, it is a quality offering, but one wonders how it's viewed by consumers against the perpetual price wars of marque Champagne by the large format retailers?

Of a peachy golden hue, opens with sourdough, baked goods, hints of marzipan, red apple pulling through at the back.

A wine that's fine on entry, segueing to a little depth and structure. Interesting contrast between that finesse and leesy, yeasty depth going on. It's generous, long and fairly persistent. Good depth going on here. 91

Tasted on: Wednesday 30th July, a Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $65
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: DIAM
Website: http://www.k1.com.au/

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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Alkoomi Frankland River Riesling 2013

The 2013 release of Alkoomi's Frankland River Riesling is looking better than I have ever seen it.

Wet pebbles, citrus, zest, blossom and bath minerals. Aromatics are spot on and further enhanced with a suggestion of green tropicals hanging around the back.

Acid punches you from the off, reaching into the furthest corners of the mouth. It's tangy, sour acidity and backed up with with a little kaffir lime freshness. Length is excellent, carries on and on. Beautiful now, will age gracefully. 93

Tasted on: Sunday 3rd August, a Root transitioning to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 12.1%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://alkoomiwines.com.au/

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The Vinsomniac - Stuart Robinson: Alkoomi Frankland River Riesling 2012

A special relationship...

This post marks the beginning of a special non-commercial partnership between thevinsomniac.com, wineries and independent retailers.

From today, as they have in the past, readers will be able to buy wine directly from wineries and retailers.

I am excited that readers might seek out wines that appear on these pages and hope that they are too.

{This post is written slightly tongue in cheek, and as a not so subtle dig at a 'special relationship' between a regarded news publication and a big box format retailer owned by Woolworths: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac/status/496451423572213761/photo/1}

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Monday, 4 August 2014

Shaw & Smith Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2014


A release that further cements Shaw & Smith's reputation as one of Australia's leading producers and of this much maligned varietal.

Tropicals, grass and nettle undertow with a little fresh herb and citrus.

Citrus, mineral, a citrus twang gives the palate life and vitality. A palate of life and energy with a touch of textural presence. Concludes on an excellent length, one of persistence and presence. 93

Tasted on: Sunday 3rd August, a Root transitioning to Flower day 
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.shawandsmith.com/

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Sunday, 3 August 2014

Meerea Park Alexander Munro Semillon 2009


At five years of age, this 2009 release of Meerea Park's Alexander Munro Semillon is starting to take on the colour of its advancing year, a glorious honeyed gold with pale green hints. That this wine can be bought, ex-winery and under screwcap for $36 is a boon for the consumer. That it will cellar well for another 10+ years makes it all the more a compelling purchase decision.

Straw, wool, lanolin offer themselves up, supported with a honeyed edge. It's providing glimpses of where it's heading, yet retains primacy of youth and a gorgeous line of acidity that will provide the backbone for further ageing.

Curd notes are showing, further it's a little plumper around the midriff, but as noted maintains freshness and energy. Excellent finish, a little chalky dryness. One to stand up for and salute. 95

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd August, a Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $36
Alcohol: 11%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.meereapark.com.au/

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Oakvale Abington Vineyard Semillon 2014

Some interesting inputs here: fermented in a mix of stainless steel (40%), concrete eggs (40%) and old french oak (20%). Wild yeast fermented, obviously aiming for a less-is-more approach, but I don't think it necessarily carries for what I seek in a Hunter Semillon in its primacy of youth.

Opens with a light spritz, a little distracting initially, although it dissipates with time. Aromatically its all about lemon grass, citrus, nigh fruit salad-esque - without being blousy and overblown.

The spritz provides some life to the palate, there's zest, but the driving core of acid I would seek in a youthful Semillon is not there. I actually found it improved with a little time, more lemon and lime brulee character pulling through. Interesting, even if I remain entirely unconvinced. 89

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd August, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 10.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.oakvalewines.com.au/

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Meerea Park Hell Hole Semillon 2013


Hints of green on appearance. Aromatically of hay, citrus and with suggestions of tropicals wafting out of the glass.

Acid is prominent, provides an experience in the mouth that's alive, dancing around the tongue. Gives great length too and longevity. Will age well. 91

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd August, a Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 11%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.meereapark.com.au/

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Saturday, 2 August 2014

James Estate 2013 Reserve Semillon

2011 bottle image
An excellent opener in a bracket of 5 Hunter Valley Semillon.

Lemon, sherbet, a briny/ oyster shell/ saline hanging in the breeze aroma. Fresh, one that invites, tickles the nasal cavity.

The palate shows a wine in glorious youth: racy, zesty and with an excellent acid line coursing through, with a fuller citrus supporting.

Good burst of flavour on the back palate, length and a little texture showing what may come. 92

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd August, a Root Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $23 (cheaper via winery website)
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://jamesestatewines.com.au/

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Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz 2012

From the Grant Burge 'Vineyard' range, with fruit drawn from the vineyard of the same name.

Vivid, meaty, savoury - of wood, earth and black fruit. Smooth, slippery feel in the mouth, nice strands of tannin. Liquorice, woody spice, with a latent bitterness. 

Lacks a bit of fruit stuffing towards the back and the acid feels a bit hard. Downsides to what was otherwise a rather pleasant experience. Price is up there. 89

Tasted on: Monday 28th July
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.grantburgewines.com.au/

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Friday, 1 August 2014

Well Mannered Wine Co Hilltops Shiraz 2013


"I love you, yes i do
'cos i know that you love me too
I love you, yes i do
gonna spend all my money on you"
~ Bad Manners, Special Brew

Dense, heady - plum, cherry and blueberry. Black fruit, white pepper. Lovely contrast there. Full, florals (violets), black fruit, some wafery oak. Good intensity.

Finishes excellently, there's definition and intensity to it: gorgeous length and a tail of flavour providing memory. Excellent introduction - for I - into the wines of this new (ish) producer. 93


Tasted on: Saturday 26th July, a Flower transitioning to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $45
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://wellmanneredwine.com.au/

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Cook's Lot Shiraz 2013


I've had the opportunity to taste across a range of wines from Duncan and Amber Cooks 'Cook's Lot' wines now and from a range of - different - vintages. I've always found the wines approachable, honest and of their place.

This Shiraz, from the warm and dry 2013 vintage, shows black fruit, sandy earth, a touch of cool mineral graphite composition and some residual malty oak tones.

Medium to full, it carries the earthen line into the palate, supplemented with black pepper and clove spice. Latent fruit adds to the experience, a little oak too - overall balanced and of interest.

Moderate length, it holds up well over 24-36 hours of drinking. With time I noticed the acid to be a little more prominent, afore chocolate and powdery tannin. Commendable. 90

Tasted on: Friday 25th July, a Flower day 
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.cookslot.com.au/

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