An Australian Wine Blog

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

La Linea Lenswood Mencia 2016

I've a curious soft spot for Mencia, after having been lured in to the variety via a magnificent example from Guimo. Of course, a few Aussies are now having a play with the variety, of which d'Arenberg's stab is also reviewed on these pages. Anyway, i'd long since give up hope of tasting this - long sold out - example from the Adelaide Hills, save for finding a bottle in the wonderful East End Cellars.


Admittedly tasted from the cheapest stemware in a hotel room. Has the florals mixed with a little savoury edge. 

What strikes me about the wine is this beautiful balance of fruit meets freshening-about-you acidity with a minerality. 

It's kind of akin to volcanic reds from Sicily in that regard. Just carries a tremendous lightness to, without sacrificing length. Joyous. 92


F: Generous length of savoury flavour. 92 
Tasted on: Friday 19th May, a Root to Flower day
Source: Retail, East End Cellars
Price: $28
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://lalinea.com.au/

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Thursday, 18 May 2017

d'Arenberg Darry's Original Shiraz Grenache 2014

Classic blend, nigh legendary wine from McLaren Vale's d'Arenberg.

Faintest whiff of a reductive note on show - certainly not an expressive beast on first showing. A little time reveals something of more a savoury bent: earthen, cedary, spiced, yet there's blackberry and suggestion of the Grenache in the background.

Slick, primary fruited palate certainly gives away more than its nose suggests. Dusty tannin, harder - forced - acid on show. it certainly doesn't want for length, although it needs to come together, for that fruit to come together in unison. 89

Tasted on: Saturday 13th May, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.darenbergwine.com.au/

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Friday, 12 May 2017

Mr. Riggs Montepulciano d'Adelaide Hills 2015

Alluring. Carries the Monte prettiness with purple florals, black fruit and eucalyptus over underlying vanillin oak. It's pretty, a sure fire hit on aromatics. 

Jam packed with black fruit, spice, in the main pepper. There's a freshening vanilla hit, back to blueberry. A little herbal, blue fruit, Mediterranean frame. It had me thinking of lamb, olives, oregano. 

It carries a subtle length, a richness, black fruited that grows in stature. 90 

Tasted on: Tuesday 21st February, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 14.7%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.mrriggs.com.au/

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Cush & Cush Wine Co 300 Grenache 2016

Just 300 bottles made, hence the name. 

Deep, earthy, beetroot-esque; black fruit starts to gently shine through against that altogether more serious proposition. There's a suggestion of stem inclusion, via the earth, but really with time it's the fruit that starts to unfurl.

Soft, velvet textured, fine-grained tannin - likely to become a hallmark of Cush & Cush wines. Concedes to a deep, earthen, ironstone presence. Again, sitting before a core of dark fruit. And oh the length, something you'd consider approaching with caution. Or at the least, consider a generous stint in the cellar. 93

Tasted on: Sunday 19th February, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $65
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.cushandcush.com/

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Thursday, 11 May 2017

Yaldara Reserve GSM 2013

Stalwart blend from the Barossa, unsure of the specificities of the cepage. Draws a pristine, long Cork on opening.

Sweet black fruited nose: mulberry, blackberry, as you wish. Alluring, intoxicating, inviting. There's a little oak, providing a frame for what is the the primacy of fruit. 

Medium, veering to full. You'd suggest the latter, with delicate hands it seems the former. Bright, principally fruit driven (without being overtly fruity). Handles well. 


Latent earthen edge, but it drives home with fruit and a drying carriage of flavour. Tannin almost seems an afterthought. 92 

Tasted on: Tuesday 14th February, a Root day (appropriately, for the lovers out there)
Source: Sample
Price: $35
Alcohol: 14.7%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://1847wines.com/

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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Gartelmann Sarah Elizabeth Chardonnay 2015

Lemon sherbet dusted over a little oak seasoning. Significant portion of barrel fermentation that is communicated both aromatically and via the palate 


Minerally, spicy twists, both freshening and yet with an underlying depth. I've not always been the biggest fan of Hunter Valley, warmer climate Chardonnay - yet, the freshness here wins me over. It's not the most complex entity, but it's sorbet-like charms carry it off with conviction. 90 

Tasted on: Sunday 19th February, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $27
Alcohol: 13.2%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.gartelmann.com.au

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Out of Step Wine Co, Lusatia Park D Block Sauvignon Blanc 2016

It's hard not to replicate what the Out of Step Crew post: 2016 (was) our 5th year of making wine. Along the way I feel we’ve transitioned from getting excited about varieties we’d like to make to really thinking about the vineyards we work with & what varieties will best express themselves, & why, on those sites. 

The one constant in all our explorations over these 5 years has been sauvignon blanc from Lusatia Park in the upper Yarra Valley, albeit from H block (the 2016 example will be released is due course) rather than D block, which is the wine in question here. But either way we’re adamant now that if treated with respect once it’s off the vine sauvignon blanc can deliver just as much excitement & deliciousness as the vast majority pinot noir & chardonnay from the same region.

There you go kids, block level Sauvy is where it's at these days.

Evokes a 'gold' response: florals, honeyed. Generous, quite opulent, expansive; slate and mineral, fan of acid that spreads across the kid-back palate. Hints of tropical fruit, delicate suggestions of citrus. 

It's less about flavour, a hard one to get your head around from a 'review' perspective, where the risk you run is to try and describe a gamut of flavours. I digress. It's more about feel, feeling, texture and an expansion in the mouth - a wonderful gentle phenolic style. 92


Tasted on: Monday 13th February, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample

Price: $28
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.outofstepwineco.com/

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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

La Bise Sangiovese 2015

This is just what I want, perhaps expect, from a well priced Sangiovese. It doesn't want for a decent amount of fruit - a small portion of the wine is rack dried amarone style to get some good concentration.

Even with that fruit it offers up herbal, savoury twists, somewhat enmeshed with a sweeter cherried edge. Good twist of savoury tannin, nicely balanced. You'd go here. 91

Tasted on: Saturday 11th February, a Leaf to Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://labisewines.com.au

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Yaldara Ruban Shiraz 2014

Milk choc, mulberry, kinda wafery with some suggestion of residual oak (old, not new). Latent blackcurrant shines through.

Middle lacks some assertion, wanting from what the aromatics suggest. Mix of black fruit in the main, fresh, and freshening. Finishes well on the back of a good length. 90 

Tasted on: Sunday 12th February, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://1847wines.com/

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Monday, 8 May 2017

Tim Adams 'The Fergus' 2014

A blend that's ben around the traps for years. Nice touch naming the wine after a grower (oft overlooked) for stepping in with some fruit during a shortage of Cabernet and Shiraz.

Gum leaf, berry fruit, expressly aromatic. Touches of blue fruit (Temp). Medium bodied, fruit driven, powder fine tannin. Great, easy going, structure. Offers what you want.  91  

Tasted on: Saturday 11th February, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $24
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.timadamswines.com.au

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Hither & Yon Grenache Mataro 2016

Nigh on pitch-perfect 60/40 blend of two listed players.

There's just something so wickedly, consistently, deliciously moreish about H&Y reds. This no exception, it extracts a juicy, jubey aromatic without straying too far towards confection. Call it an allure, call it what you will, inviting is what it is. 

Slipping around the palate with ease in its easy going, red fruited nature. There's more juicy red fruit, a slip of tannin providing an edge, a framework to carry. Mataro brings up the rear, it's bassy foundations adding length, substance, spice. 

91, almost go a point higher just for inherent smashability and, perhaps, just to rile the fun police.  

Tasted on: Saturday 6th May, Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.hitherandyon.com.au/

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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Yaldara Ruban Grenache 2014

Ripe and rich, pronounced black fruit, smidgen of red rounding out, top spice, oak. Sandy soil perhaps? Expressive nonetheless.

Very full, but with a disarming lightness. Black currant, licorice, a little back palate freshness, salinity. Moderate length, and like me handles its alcohol well. 90 

Tasted on: Wednesday 8th February, a Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://1847wines.com/

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Friday, 5 May 2017

Margan Breaking Ground Barbera 2015

The Hunter Valley is a long way from Barbera's traditional home of Italy's Piedmont wine region. Andrew Margan took cuttings from Carlo Carino's Montrose Vineyard in Mudgee to establish this vinous immigrant back in 1998.

Pouring a vibrant garnet colour, that visual feast continues through aromas of dark cherry.

A bold and forward wine, in ripeness terms, that balances its fruit against nicely pitched acidity - a hallmark of the variety and ensuring that it can be a very good partner to a variety of foodstuffs.

It expresses itself more on the palate than it does aromatically, beyond that sour cherry intro the use of a combination of some French and second use American oak lends a substantive feel. Cloven spice adds an extra dimension before being kept in check with a delicate bitterness and freshening acid line that extends the palate. 89

Tasted on: Saturday 29th April, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.margan.com.au

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Yelland & Papps Second Take Grenache 2016

Fragrant, floral, a feast of aromatic intensity. Evokes crushed berries, raspberries - without being jubey - and just a delightful fruit/ sour balance. 

Soft, plush, velvety. Intensity of flavour: burst of berry goodness, with a fine raspy tannin that builds to a crescendo. Excellent fruit/ acid balance that would see this as a winner paired with food - round our way this superbly complemented a milk poached pork belly (Grenache and Pork: a winner!).

Not simply just a fruit pony, also carries a darker edge, dried earth and the like, spicier notes carrying you home. 93 

Tasted on: Sunday 9th April, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 14.3%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yellandandpapps.com/

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Thursday, 4 May 2017

Angullong Fossil Hill Sagrantino 2015

Bright, floral in initial introduction - lurking underneath, a more savoury bent. It's a little fennel seed like, a grind of nutmeg.

Full, big grippy tannins that dominate the palate - its varietal, for sure. Tannins that seem to morph into fine, powdery tannins. Needs food, for sure. Something grilled, barbecued. 


On a cracking length of flavour - keeps you thinking. 92 

Tasted on: Saturday 15th April, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $26
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.angullong.com.au/

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Clovely Estate Barbera 2015

Interesting to taste this example alongside Andrew Margan's Hunter Valley example.

Exhibiting that hallmark sour cherry for which the variety is famed, it also carries a more savoury line, a little time under oak lending some spice and oak derived aromas.

Deliciously medium bodied, the freshness of the wine carrying the vitality for which the variety is known. Plum, cherry, spice making up the constituent parts and giving a reasonable length. Good wine. 89

Tasted on: Saturday 29th April
Source: Cellar Door
Price: $22
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: clovely.com.au

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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Tim Adams Semillon 2014

Citrus, butter menthol, hints of lanolin, waxed/ candied lime.

Curious citrus, touch honeyed. Gravelly, quartz like across the palate, somewhat disjointed - but I like it. Bold, generous length, keen to see what becomes of it. 90+ 

Tasted on: Friday 10th February, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $24
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.timadamswines.com.au/

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Out of Step Wine Co. Denton Hill View Chardonnay 2016

Hand picked, pressed to barrel and then wild yeast fermented. Matured in 10% new/90% used French oak barriques and hogsheads. Full MLF, no fining, racked, settled (but not filtered) and then into bottle. No additions other than sulphur dioxide.

Delicate stone fruit (apricot, peach), that fruit is followed an inherently savoury mien.

Delicate on entry: before minerality, a little toastiness; loaded with citrus, in a very even handed manner. An easy citric acid frame that melds into a creamy, textural form. 

The Out of Step crew are anything but, another flavoursome wine showing good balance and form. 91 

Tasted on: Tuesday 7th February, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $33
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.outofstepwineco.com/

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Zonte's Footstep Love Symbol Grenache 2015

Interesting one, in that the palate off the bat delivers far more than the aroma suggests. Aromatically it just comes across as somewhat mute, not really offering up a lot - needing some time to wake, unfurl. 

Quite fleshy, lolls and rolls across the tongue, quite fruitsome - raspberry, jubes and a fine grain of tannin. Carry is good. 

A little back end bitterness, a counterpoint to the fleshy fruit before. Enjoyable. 89 

Tasted on: Thursday 6th April, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.zontesfootstep.com.au/

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Zonte's Footstep 'Baron Von Nemesis' Shiraz 2015

Beautifully sweet fruited nose, hints of burned orange, satsuma plum, choc-orange.

Succulent, fresh, vital palate - medium veering to full. Kinda blossoms, grows in stature in the palate. Sweet edged, darker spicier tinged. Lovely balance of the two. Balance, yes. 92 

Tasted on: Tuesday 7th February, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $35
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.zontesfootstep.com.au/

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Zonte's Footstep Lake Doctor Shiraz 2015

Smells pretty ripe, pruney, gamey meat.

Coconut, mint, satsuma plum, fresher than the nose suggests; freshness keeps alcohol in check. Minor back palate bitterness. Goes alright, served at the appropriate temp (as with all). 90 

Tasted on: Monday 6th February, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.zontesfootstep.com.au/

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Monday, 1 May 2017

K1 by Geoff Hardy Autumn Harvest Riesling 2016

Late harvest and naturally botrytised Riesling from the Adelaide Hills, picked some 11 weeks later then K1 would do for a table Riesling.

No mistaking the style of the wine on aroma: sweet, smells unctuous, a veritable cocktail of stonefruit with a key lime edge to it. Not quite going the way of nectar, but approaching so rapidly.

Lavish, thick and broad as you take it in. Sweetness in the extreme - and it pairs delightfully with something in the same vein, think: citrus tart, lime cheesecake, or pomegranate 'Eton Mess' as recommended by the K1 stable.

Once you get beyond the hit of sugar, you are rewarded with a wine of presence that richly rewards long after it has slid down the palate. 92

Tasted on: Saturday 29th April
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 9.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.winesbygeoffhardy.com.au/

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Mac Forbes EB26 Meunier 2016

From the Mac Forbes Experimental Batch (EB) range. The label comments how it's rare to find an old patch of Pinot Meunier in the Yarra Valley. The fruit here being drawn from a 2 acre plot planted back in the 80s.

Pours an incredibly light, radiant hue, looking more like cranberry juice than what one expects for a wine. Has that air of a light wine, hints of that suggestive Cranberry colour, strawberry and almost 'bubble gum' like in its expressiveness.

It's light and airy on the palate too, that strawberry lead aroma not quite leading with the same degree of conviction. It has a little herbal edge through the middle and does lack for something to be anything more than a delicious plaything (as I saw it). That said, I loved it for exactly what it is. 89

Tasted on: Saturday 29th April, a Root day
Source: Cellar Door
Price: $30
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: macforbes.com

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