An Australian Wine Blog

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Lark Hill Riesling 2014


From an initially troublesome vintage, winemaker Chris Carpenter has crafted a Riesling of excellent aromatics, texture and energy.

It opens full-throttle with an expression of tropical freshness, touches of green mango, green apple and a suggestive note of paw-paw.

Nicely weighted textural spread, tingle of minerality and good fruit presence. You've to enjoy your acid to appreciate this one, but appropriately paired food choices add to its enjoyment further.

Concludes with a little gin and tonic bitterness, kaffir lime on an excellent length. Energy, that's how I saw it. 92

Tasted on: Sunday 12th October, a Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $35
Alcohol: ?
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.larkhillwinery.com/

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Monday, 27 October 2014

Dodgy Brothers Wine Mataro 2013


"Dodgy brother" Wes Pearson was in Brisbane town recently and was kind enough to co-host Swirl, Sniff, Spit alongside fellow winemaker Rory Lane.

This Mataro, from a vineyard down in McLaren Vale's Sellick foothills, was one of the wines we showed that evening. Wes advised that the vineyard itself was grafted over about 8-10 years ago, so just starting to hit its sweet spot. The wine would normally form part of the Dodgy Bros GSM, but was looking so good that Wes called it to bottle the two barrels as a (pretty much) single varietal.

Co-fermented with a splash of Grenache (13%), a forty-eight hour cold soak followed by a tend day ferment. What does that mean? Gentle extraction of colour and flavour that has shown the Mataro here in a pretty, aromatic guise.

Shows the many facets of Mataro, with cherry initially leading - but it's more about black fruit, with hints of blue, a suggestion of iodine and flashes of citrus in the mix.

Medium-full of body, its weight is excellent; spice, segueing to cherry-plummy depths, savoury and black fruit interplay. The danger with my fondness for Mataro is to attempt to seek too much, to ignore the "less is more". Lithe, supple and easy going - no simple wine, concludes with a lovely savoury tail. 92

Tasted on: Weds 8th October, a Leaf to Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $29
Alcohol: 13.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.dodgybrotherswines.com/

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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Hand Crafted by Geoff Hardy Riesling 2014

Monday 17th November sees a dedicated cellar door opening for Hand Crafted by Geoff Hardy wines in the Adelaide Hills town of Hahndorf. This will be the third cellar door in the Wines by Geoff Hardy portfolio, joining stable-mates K1 Wines (Adelaide Hills) and Pertaringa (McLaren Vale).

To the wine in question: beautiful floral perfume here - reminiscent to this author of an English country garden: lavender and jasmine; augmented with tropical notes that reinforce the variety.

Has an open structure, a touch of tart acid, fresh, lively and citrussy, fleshy tropicals with bath salt minerality. Impressive depth of flavour here.

Works well with subtle seafoods, in my case some simple grilled 'Barra' fillets with a little mango salsa. 91

Tasted on: Monday 6th October, a Flower day 
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 12.7%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.handcraftedbygeoffhardy.com.au/

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Saturday, 18 October 2014

Gibson Wines - The Dirtman

The Good Food and Wine Show hit Brisbane over the weekend of 17-19th October 2014.

It's an event that draws many of Australia's wine and food community: its producers, consumers and characters.

Rob Gibson of Gibson Wines is one such character, he can be seen in the pic to the left, naked and chest deep in one of his beloved vineyards.


Gibbo is "The Dirtman". A twenty plus year career with Penfolds, fifteen of them as Group Viticulturist.  That time at at Penfolds is writ large across Gibbo, in the wines he makes now with son Adam under the Gibson brand, in how they leverage off fruit from across the Barossa region, in the proclivity for being photographed naked in soil pits in vineyards.

I had the pleasure of tasting through a few current releases with Rob and Adam, along with a couple of select museum releases, at a private social event. Notes are largely as recorded on the night.

2012 'The Smithy'
A new wine in the Gibson portfolio, the 'Great Aussie Red' blend marrying Shiraz and Cabernet, in a 66/34 proportion. Of the Shiraz, 44% is Eden Valley fruit. Spends 20m in wood, 60% French and the remainder is American. Initially shows a touch of leaf, before fruit takes control. An attractive perfume oak, vanilla. Medium to full bodied, attractive berry fruit, suggestion of citrus. 90/91

Price: $27
Alcohol: 13.9%
Closure: Screwcap 

2013 'The Dirtman' Shiraz
The wine that bears Rob's adopted name. Large scale production - for Gibson - of around 1500 dozen, a mix of Barossa and Eden Valley fruit. Spends 18 months in American oak (as advised by Adam, contradicts the 24months on the website in case anyone pulls me up on that). Vanilla oak, black fruit, toasty. On the palate it's full, smooth, sheen of oak; black, sweet fruit. Leaves a good length with a hint of choc-chicory bitterness. 91


Price: $30
Alcohol: 14.3%
Closure: Screwcap 

2006 Old Vine Eden Valley Shiraz
Reaching back into the cellar, Adam states: "we wanted to show how the wines can age and develop". - $110 for current release. Starting to develop savoury notes, touch of leather, secondary characters. That said, it's still fresh, primary, pepper and a suggestion licorice; still bears a some acid - time ahead of it; depth black plum, skins; good length, finesse. 92/3


Price: $110
Alcohol: ?
Closure: Cork 

2010 Old Vine Barossa Valley Shiraz
Fruit here comes predominantly around the rivers (Para), some of towards Langmeil, others a 102 year old block around Light Pass. In effect, a composite of the 'Barossa' here.
Dense, chewy, muscular; still balanced - coffee hints with softer fruit components balancing out those darker, deeper notes. S
pice, length, unforced. 94+

Price: $115
Alcohol: ?
Closure: Cork 

Big note of thanks to Gibbo and Adam for their time, the wines and good company. Heartfelt thanks to host David and also to "The Dogman" for "rocking the pans" - I reckon the chicken was cooked after all.

Tasted on: Friday 17th October, a Leaf day
Source: Private Tasting
Website: http://www.gibsonwines.com.au/

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Sunday, 12 October 2014

Umberto Luigi Domenico Extra Dry Prosecco


Striking packaging here, a Mondo exclusive I believe.

The palest hint of gold in glass; of green apples, apple skins and a suggestion of citrus. Don't come looking for complexity, revel in the beauty that simplicity often delivers.

Citrus, frangipani, fresh minerality and acid. Crunchy, unequivocally an aperitif style, leading the way, enlivening the palate for what undoubtedly awaits after. 88

Tasted on: Sunday 5th October, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $19
Alcohol: 11.5%
Closure: Cork
Importer Website: http://www.mondoimports.com.au/

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Dodgy Bros. "DODG" Sangiovese 2014

Excellent aromatics: vibrant cherry, touch of lipstick, black fruit crumble. The sweet imbued with a savoury edge.

Bright, vibrant and juicy - a spike of acid, powdery crunch of tannin. savoury heart, moreish for sure, in many respects it's my favourite of the Dodgy Bros new releases tasted to date, so easy to drink, one that could even take a little chill. 

It's all about the 'middle' for me - the life, vitality and refreshment. Unassuming, its offer for me being pure enjoyment. 89

Tasted on: 4th October, a Root Day
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.dodgybrotherswines.com/

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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Lark Hill Sangiovese 2013


The winery website suggests this has been made for early drinking and doesn't require extensive cellaring, and whilst I agree with that to a degree - for it is delicious now - it has sufficient fruit and acid to hold its own for at least a short stay, if you choose to do so. 

Dark and savoury, a lingering spiciness - think the discarded cinnamon stick from a vat of chilli - a touch of cardamom perhaps. Cracked pepper, even a touch meaty. 

Palate at odds with itself perhaps: light, lithe and lingering. Good nip of acid here, has savoury characters i'd seek, with a touch of powdery tannin. 

Tasted on: Saturday 4th October, a Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.larkhillwinery.com/

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Monday, 6 October 2014

Montalto Pinot Noir 2013


Interesting to review this in the context of the 2012, which was somewhat belatedly posted. That wine very good, very enjoyable but paling somewhat compared to this younger sibling.

Cherry, spice, lavender - moving back to woody spice - an even hand of vanilla scented oak. Delicacy and balance, could be the watch words of winemaker Simon Black one suggests.

Nigh weightless, a freshness on the palate, acidity and a nip of mint. Freshness seems key here, with a fine boned, elegant structure. Length and some - a perpetual conclusion to an excellent wine it would seem. Will go long in the cellar. 94+

Tasted on: 4th October, a Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $48
Alcohol: 13.7%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://montalto.com.au/

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Montalto Pinot Noir 2012

In reviewing the 2013, I established that I'd utterly failed to write up the '12. So remedying that, here's a belated note on that earlier vintage with current release to follow.

Generous clear red fruit here, think wild strawberries and maraschino cherry.

Sap and spice, light and lithe. Tannin is a touch firmer, good drying tannin that is, than in the Pennon Hill, a winemaking decision I'd suggest. Concludes with an unforced length, so giving. 91

Tasted on: 3rd January 2014, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $48
Alcohol: 13.6%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://montalto.com.au/

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Dodgy Bros Grenache Shiraz Mourvédre 2013

The 2013 guise of the Dodgy Bros GSM comes with a different rhythm to its 2012 counterpart. As much to do with vintage, where 2013 McLaren Vale Grenache in my experiences to date seems to be excelling, as it does composition: a 70/18/12 blend of Grenache, Shiraz and [insert chosen synonym for Mataro] against 47/44/9 respectively in '12.

Light and dark, interplay of red fruits meeting black, cherry skins primarily. With time, lighter florals, a soapy suggestive high note, before the time signature swings us back toward the black fruit and some cracked pepper. Lots going on - at least in my eyes.

Richly spiced, the tannin structure is fine and powdery; good weight of fruit, touch of cocoa and with some air its a wine that grows in stature. 91

Tasted on: 3rd October, 
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.dodgybrotherswines.com/

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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Montalto Pennon Hill Pinot Noir 2013

Has a vibrancy in glass, a shimmering energy.

Cherry, pomegranate/ grenadine, a lovely perfume - florals abound - good level of spice present too.

Silken, gossamer threads; spice that creeps up you and holds its line; drying tannin - simply put, a beautiful wine. 93

Tasted on: 4th October 2014, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 13.7%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://montalto.com.au/

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Montalto Pennon Hill Pinot Noir 2012

In reviewing the 2013 I established that I'd utterly failed to write up the '12. So remedying that, here's a belated note on that earlier vintage with current release to follow.

Attractive, delicate nose with prime red fruit sitting forward of a little herb and spice.

Lithe, supple, silken threads of tannin. Nice tangy fruit, a nip of acid, ready to go. Good finish - sustained - touch and go for a point higher. 90

Tasted on: 4th January 2014, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://montalto.com.au/

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Shaw and Smith Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2013

Certainly of its place, with 2013 a riper vintage compared to 2012. Suggestive of a small inclusion of whole bunch, though I couldn't confirm that. Bramble, spice, earthen hints and an underlying caramelised root veg sweetness are all present.

Medium bodied, fine-grained tannin; florals - of violets - blue/black fruit mix, raisins and a little rhone-like meatiness. Depth and persistence of flavour round out the experience, a little latent resurgence of spice. Another excellent S&S Shiraz. 93

Tasted on: 2nd October, 
Source: Sample
Price: $45
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.shawandsmith.com/

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Saturday, 4 October 2014

Yelland & Papps Vermentino 2014

Chalky, florals, citrus, a little nashi pear and skins thereof.

Citrus, a racy bit of sherbet zip - whoa we've a lively one here lads. Grapefruit acidity, but with a balancing anchor of a little waxy texture.

Fresh and fulfilling for a Summer's day. Saw this off with some pork and prawn rice paper rolls. 90

Tasted on: 30th September, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yellandandpapps.com/

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Bremerton Vermentino 2014

Good to see Langhorne Creek, and Bremerton, adding to the nation's capital when it comes to Vermentino. It's a variety I do enjoy, a variety that has the ability to sculpted in a fashion of its maker's choosing.

Citrus, orange blossom and sea spray. Fresh little number here - chill and be still.

It's not loaded with flavour on the palate, but carries a good nip of refreshing grapefruit acidity. Backed up with a little mandarin, phenolic rub and on a reasonable length. 88

Tasted on: 30th September, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $24
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.bremerton.com.au/

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Willunga 100 Grenache Rosé 2014

No pale 'n' pink number here, fuchsia hued, red berry sweetness. Touch of boiled lolly with an underlying creaminess.

For me, the least appealing of the Grenache tasted from Willunga 100. A little leading berry fruit, then a bitterness with a little phenolic tug.

Short on the finish, faired better with some produce off of the barbecue. An acceptable 86

Tasted on: 27th September, a Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $23
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://willunga100.com/

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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Charteris Wines Hunt Vineyard Riesling 2013

PJ Charteris, ex-Brokenwood winemaker, still of the Hunter Valley except when he's popping over the 'dutch' to make exceptional wines such as this.

Lovely aromatics: florals, citrus and zest - suggestive of a little chalkiness. Light, loose and open - zesty, lemon with a hint of apple.

A little retained sweetness provides inherent balance against the natural acidity, the perfect foil for the chilli prawns I smashed down with it. Excellent focus and shape on the finish. Prima! 93

Tasted on: Friday 26th September, a Root transitioning to Flower day
Source: Retail, Craft Red Hill
Price: $28
Alcohol: 11.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://charteriswines.com/

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