An Australian Wine Blog

Friday, 29 January 2016

Quartz Hill Viognier 2014

Yes, Yes, Yes - kinda like the café scene in "When Harry Met Sally", except applied to
Viognier.

Sees a little oak that lends a gentleness to the wine: creamy, vanilla. 

Textural, generous of flavour - without being over stated. Vanilla, apricot and a little nuttiness. It’s restrained, balanced and a pleasure to drink. For a variety that can often be blousy, it offers an excellent take on the variety.

Long and lingering on the fish - again in its restrained style, do not take that as a byword for a wine that is not up to much, rather it’s a comforting experience for a variety that can be full throttle, viscous and overt. 92 

Tasted on: Thursday 31st December: Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $32
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.quartzhillwines.com.au/

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Montalto Estate Pennon Hill Pinot Grigio 2015

Pear, sherbet, mineral and quartz;  stony, mineral, crisp; gentle spice that tickles.


Pretty sessionable, but little to really excite. 90 

Tasted on: Thursday 31st December: Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13.3%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://montalto.com.au/

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Thursday, 28 January 2016

Running With Bulls Barossa Garnacha 2015

Barossan Pinot. Stylised as 'Garnach' in line with the Running With the Bulls theme.

Sees no oak, this is all about purity of fruit. There are some Rosés that are darker than this. Ultra fragrant, spicy, a wonderful perfume - that simply demands your attention, seduces you into consuming it.

Winemaker Sam Wigan cites time spent in Beaujolais as the inspiration behind this. It’s spicy, a little clove, a mere suggestion mind...


Not the most complex wine, it’s not attempting to be. It would take a chill, and simply demands your attention and to be consumed. Go seek this out and consume with gusto! 91

Tasted on: Wednesday 30th December, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $23
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.runningwithbulls.com.au/

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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Montalto Estate Pinot Noir 2014

Always comes across as the elder statesman, to Pennon Hill’s ‘New Kid on the Block’ - a wine of power and substance, formed from the estate’s best parcels of fruit: cherry, almost briar - like a cool climate Shiraz - stems.

Depth, more about deep red and almost black fruits. Structure is firm, a little sour tang to show the lighter side.


Length is good, generous, without over-stepping a mark. 93 

Tasted on: Wednesday 30th December: Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $50
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://montalto.com.au/

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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Montalto Pennon Hill Pinot Noir 2014

Strawberry, cherry, open and inviting red berry aromatics with a modicum of spice. 

More of the same on the palate, fruit a little darker, spice a little more prominent;  good tannin structure and a little dried herb to augment to overall package. 

Excellent lasting length, another excellent release from the hands of Simon Black 92 

Tasted on: Wednesday 30th December: Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $32
Alcohol: 13.1%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://montalto.com.au/

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Yelland & Papps Vermentino

The Y&P team seem to have struck a winning formula here. It's interesting to note the stylist differences in subsequent releases (notes).

This 2015 guise shows expressive aromatics: citrus touch of Granny Smith segueing to tropical fruit - a hint of guava. But as with many Vermentino, there's also a briny, sea-spray on the wind element, tickling the nasal passages and have you yearning for some seafood. 

It's a fresh little thing, texture to boot, balancing acids and so bloody moreish. Barely survived the tasting table. 92

Tasted on: Wednesday 9th December: Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 12.1%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://yellandandpapps.com/

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Monday, 25 January 2016

Katnook Founder's Block Sparkling Shiraz 2013

Image courtesy of Katnook Estate www.katnookestate.com.au.
Black, jammy fruits, plummy

Red/black fruit, lacking depth and the feel one might expect. Dry, to the point of lacklustre. 

Little depth - off bottle? 86

Tasted on: Friday 25th December, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $23
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Cork
Website: https://www.katnookestate.com.au/katnookestate/

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Torzi Matthews Schist Rock Shiraz 2014

Dom Torzi and Tracy Matthews seem to go from strength to strength, whether its stalwarts under their own label, emerging varieties or releases under the 'Long Hop' banner, the wines always seem to offer excellent value for money, as well as being standout wines irrespective of price.

Black/blue fruit, hazelnut, meat and spice.

Palate is full and round, black currant pervades. Intensity of flavour and sustain. 91
 
Tasted on: Tuesday 29th December: Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.torzimatthews.com.au/

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Sunday, 24 January 2016

d'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz 2011

Much has been written about the vintage of 2011, sufficient for me to not have to labour the point here. That said, it's always of interest to taste the premium releases from, what was, a difficult vintage for many.

Dark, brooding, earthen, gamey, meaty. Solid

Lithe palate, somewhat at odds to the aromatic intro. Chalky tannin, acid reasonably pitched against dark fruit. 

Decent length. Holds the line. 90 

Tasted on: Tuesday 29th December, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $65
Alcohol: 14.3%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.darenberg.com.au/

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Saturday, 23 January 2016

Esperanza Touriga 2014

Blue/purple fruit, violets, woody, muscovado sugar. 

Medium bodied. Powdery tannin, drying, firm flavour through the wine. Blue, black fruit, hints of bitter cocoa and smokey graphite 91 

Tasted on: Tuesday 29th December: Leaf to Fruit
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://wirrawirra.com/

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Friday, 22 January 2016

Ridgemill Estate Chardonnay 2014

Creamy, citrusy, stonefruit; subtle barrel character wafts from the glass 

Lemons, limes, veering towards sharper grapefruit character; has texture, composure, mineral and spice. Plenty going on again. 

Phenolic touches, good length, the nigh-waxy texture hangs a fair time, carrying with it its citrus riven fruit. A little salinity the perfect stepping off point. 91

Tasted on: Tuesday 29th December: Leaf to Fruit
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: ?
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://ridgemillestate.com/

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Thursday, 21 January 2016

Faux Pas Mourvédre 2014

Meaty, plummy, hints of licorice and a touch of molasses. Has depth but retains a lightness, an easy going charm.  

Mourvédre in a lighter, juicier guise, still full of body. Touches of tannin, lovely balance of sweet fruit against inherent savoury notions. 

Has you yearning to drink it. Would no doubt prove a great introduction to the variety. 93

Tasted on: Sunday 13th December: a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.fauxpaswines.com.au/

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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2012

Barrel ferment, citrus fresh, spicy oak; clean and pure, lemon barley. 

Mealy, smoked almond, smokey; lime, honeyed, pear drops and textural nuances. Fruit here is exemplary. 

Length is perpetual. Bravo. 93+ 

Tasted on: Sunday 13th December: a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $99
Alcohol:14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: 

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Monday, 18 January 2016

Best's Great Western Bin No.1 Shiraz 2014


Blue fruit, purple florals, spice; a 'prettiness' to the wine, alluring. Bit of smokey oak

Medium bodied, delightful powdery/graphite tannin structure.  

Good acid structure, length to boot. Will live, provided you can refrain from drinking it now. 92 

Tasted on: Saturday 12th December: Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.bestswines.com/

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Sunday, 17 January 2016

Robert Stein Riesling 2015

Lime, florals, a little tropical fruit (mango pulp, guava-esque), Shows some texture, a little residual sweetness against acidity, ostensibly. 

Length is pure, long - not in the classic EV sense. Slight pithy, crunch on conclusion. 92 

Tasted on: Sunday 13th December: a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.robertstein.com.au/

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Thursday, 14 January 2016

Jansz Vintage Cuvée 2010

Golden butter honey crunch, biscuit, baked goods and cream. 

Leesy depth, autolysis derived complexity and depth; fresh with some crisp and bristling acids

Reasonable length. 91 

Tasted on: Thursday 31st December: Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $46.95
Alcohol: ?
Closure: Cork
Website: www.jansz.com.au

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Jansz Rosé Brut NV

Soft, fresh, Bready notes; strawberry, Turkish delight and rose water. 

Rounded, creamy palate - a little carry of the aromas. Finishes with a quartzy, mineral note. Clean, aperitif style. 89 

Tasted on: Sunday 13th December: a Fruit Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $?
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Cork
Website: https://www.jansz.com.au/

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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Ballycroft Small Berry American Oak Shiraz 2012

Another high-octane release from the Ballycroft stable. Has residual hints of coconut oil, like a walk down a European beach taking in the aroma of sun-worshippers. Dense black fruit, porty and rich. 

Sweet fruit, ripe sugar plum, black fruit - a little desiccated coconut sprinkled across the mix. 

Reasonable finish, fruit and a little drying grip. Doesn't feel as together as the 'Small Berry French' 87

Tasted on: Tuesday 29th December: leaf to fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $45
Alcohol: 15.3%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.ballycroft.com/

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Ballycroft Small Berry French Oak Shiraz 2012

Oak dominates the nose, an impact wine, big and bold; smells a touch pruney, desiccated fruit. 

Slick, glycerol feel on entry; spice, black fruit - but it's really about the slick feel as the wine races across the palate. 

Dense, chewy, black fruit and licorice. Generous length, the high-octane wine needs the fruit. 91

Tasted on: Saturday 12th December: Leaf to Fruit
Source: Sample
Price: $?
Alcohol: 15.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.ballycroft.com/

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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Out of Step Wine Co Syme on Yarra Shiraz 2014


Savoury, spicy, stemmy; a little brown licorice, balsamic reduction (80% whole bunches if that level of input flicks your switch).

Medium bodied, easy going, juicy - it kind of races across the palate and backs up the juice with some stemmy, twiggy, nutty notes. 

Finishes well, a little gentle grip. 91 

Tasted on: Friday 11th December: a fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.outofstepwineco.com/

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Out of Step Wine Co Daytime Red 2015


“keep a bit of our 2015 fruit aside, make a few small batches of wine, a bit of stems, some co-fermentation, a bit of carbonic, & leave a barrel or two unsulphured & untopped, with the vision of putting these pieces together.” 

The result is a dangerously drinkable. Light, easy-going.  Kind of wine where you pour a glass and find yourself doing so again shortly thereafter. 

Had some substance to it: a bit of savoury character, spice, leaf, berry fruit. Sufficient to take a chill. Cracking summer red option. 91

Tasted on: Wednesday 2nd December: leaf to fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $27
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.outofstepwineco.com/

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Monday, 11 January 2016

Cooks Lot 'Lot 1111' Pinot Noir 2014

Black cherry, toast, char and dried earth; of a definite savoury bent

Supple palate, spongey texture; soft, delicate - spice, not so much by way of tannin, a light costing - reasonable length. 88 

Tasted on: Friday 11th December: a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.cookslot.com.au/

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Champagne Brimoncourt Brut Regence NV

A blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. Fermented in stainless steel and spends four years on lees for extra depth and complexity.

Citrus, buttery brioche and mealy notes greet you on pour. Has a textural richness, creamy and sensuous with a flavour profile that laps across the palate. Another fine Champagne from the Brimoncourt house. 91

See also Blanc de Blanc

Tasted on: 11th December
Source: Sample
Price: $78
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://brimoncourt.com/en/


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Saturday, 9 January 2016

Yelland & Papps Eden Valley Riesling 2015

Pure Eden Valley rizza on offer here, with a little Yelland & Papps twist. 

Lime with a sharper touch of grapefruit, over a little lemon. Has some of that floral character too: spring Jasmine perhaps. 


Lively palate, zip and energy - segues nicely to a sublime length. More of that classic lime: think Pickford’s cordial. Three months on lees adds a little flesh, adding width to excellent length. 92 

Tasted on: Friday 11th December 2015, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 11.7%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://yellandandpapps.com/

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Huntington Estate Semillon 2015

A new winery for me, and one of the oldest in a region that's in the ascendancy. 

Lemon, butter, lemongrass - beautifully fresh and fragrant intro. Citrus coursing through the palate, acid present yet not as electrifying as some in youth. 

Generous citrus conclusion. 89 

Tasted on: 10th December 2015
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 11.2%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://huntingtonestate.com.au/

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Friday, 8 January 2016

Lark Hill Grüner Veltliner 2015

Tasted alongside Hahndorf Hill's 2015 release (note), this shows more on the tropical spectrum: passion fruit, guava, melon.

Fruit on the palate, a little tang, some tinned fruit syrup sweetness; textural but also with chalky-phenolic dryness. Sees some barrel in addition to tank, provides a next level of depth.

Complex - and very good to drink. It kinda comes across like a super-charged Rhone white. Excellent outing this release. 94  

Tasted on: Wednesday 9th December: Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $45
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.larkhillwinery.com/

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Hahndorf Hill Winery 'GRU' Grüner Veltliner 2015

Rapidly becoming one of the Adelaide Hills' signature varieties. This example from pioneers Hahndorf Hill shows classic signature of white pepper, leading citrus, stonefruit and even a little root veg.  

The palate exhibits fleshy, tropicals, citrus and grapefruit acidity; texture, spice, zest and mineral - you can understand its affinity for food. 

Finishes with a little phenolic grip, carries the wine, aids length. 92 

Tasted on: Wednesday 9th December: Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.hahndorfhillwinery.com.au/

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Thursday, 7 January 2016

2015: A Year of Change


If 2014 (see: Thoughts on Fourteen) was a year of reflection, of choosing to capture some poignant moments from that year, then 2015 will no doubt be seen as my year of change.

My reflections on 2014 were bookended with a recap of a trip to the Mornington Peninsula and concluded with a desire to "get out there more". A constant throughout my dabblings, forays, meanderings in this little world of wine has been a desire to get out, to meet people, the producers and the places in which wine is made, 2015 seems to finally be the year I started to make that happen. 

Hunter Valley
The tail end of the year saw me make my first trip to the Hunter Valley, shocking I know for a self-titled wine ponce to have taken this long to get to Australia's most historic wine region. It was a holiday, rather than a full on "wine wankathon", a chance to explore somewhere new, with someone new. 
Scott McWilliam hams it up
for the camera

A chance to visit this region that is in a state of flux, with old established wineries seemingly re-inventing themselves, exploring their own deep histories; of new entrants making their mark, of winemakers re-employing what once was. Nothing is really new anymore.

It was encouraging to see a broad mix of wine styles and of varieties beyond Hunter stalwarts Shiraz and Semillon starting to make their mark, whilst those traditional varieties look outstanding off the back of a great vintage. 

But spare a thought for the region as it faces some challenges off the back of significant rain events at a critical period for the development of the grapes.

Beyond the Hunter were trips to the Barossa, Melbourne for Pinot Palooza and of course a second coach-trip to the Granite Belt for Queensland Wine Week.

Of Loss
With each year that passes, it seems that some of our brightest lights dim. Not wishing to denigrate the memories of all those that we lost in 2015, two significant losses that I feel sufficiently saddened by to mark here were those of Willow Bridge Estate's Simon Burnell, tragically lost in a windsurfing accident in March, and that of industry legend Bob McLean whom we lost to cancer in April.


Of Significant Change
We put a little of ourselves out into the blogosphere with each post, with each remark, opinion or comment and so it would be somewhat strange to fail to acknowledge that I separated from my partner of 12 years in this year. A wonderful mother and supportive partner, this significant event probably explains some of the 'wine' changes for me in the year: a reduction in volume and frequency of blog posts, but also coincides with an increased ability to 'get out there more'. 

But with change also comes new beginnings, for the demise of one relationship saw a new one beginning - a new drinking partner, for wine should rarely be consumed alone right?

Swirl, Sniff, Spit
The tasting group that has been in existence since April 2011 saw its own significant change with the sad closure of Era Bistro, our host since that very first session all those years ago. Again, with change comes new opportunities and the wonderful Wandering Cooks became a new home for Swirl, Sniff, Spit - but to quote that well known song: "who knows what tomorrow brings"?


Swirl Sniff Spit at Wandering Cooks
There are some wonderful tasting groups that have sprung up around Brisbane since that first session, and I would like to think that, at least in some small part, Swirl Sniff Spit achieved what it set out to do, and that was to help foster a good wine culture amongst like minded folks in little old Brissy.

2016
Bring it on: let's see what you've got eh?

I still ocassionally dabble here, so if you want follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac