An Australian Wine Blog

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Cush & Cush Wine Co. Grenache Mataro 2016

Think of this as the Mark II version of the little juice bomb reviewed late last year. 

Think of that schoolmate you had a crush on, who returns after an extended Summer vacation, having grown up to become a somewhat more sophisticated version of their former self. Then you might start to get an idea of what time has done for this wine.

Background: cash is king for any business, not least a start-up brand, where the need to liquidate wine stock into cash is paramount, to see a return on investment, pay growers and fund future wine activities. So Cush & Cush bottled a 'soif' style Grenache Mataro (Mark I), see a review of that wine here.

So, second time around, up the anté on the Mataro, now representing 20% of the blend, give it a few extra months in barrel and blow out the CO2. Still unfiltered. 

Raspberry, not quite coulis, close - it's settled, significantly: coffee mocha, woody spice, ultra-perfumed, sandalwood even.

Great depth of flavour, a little Demerara crusted, sweet-spice inflected body. Suggestion of Dutch licorice, coffee essence - beautiful balance of sweet/savoury. Velvet, gossamer threaded tannin, quite superb. 


Gentle length, lingering long on the finish. 92 

Tasted on: Thursday 26th January, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.cushandcush.com/

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Tim Adams Mr Mick Riesling 2016

Lemongrass leads, over something medicinal - a little like rubbing alcohol. 

Flavour comes across as a fruit salad (a little like the chews i used to buy as a nipper). Lacks the cut 'n' thrust and length of better examples. 


Sure goes alright mind, a lingering lime fruit presence. 87 

Tasted on: Sunday 25th September, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $17
Alcohol: 11%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://mrmick.com.au/

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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Hentley Farm Black Beauty Sparkling Shiraz NV 2016 Disgorgement

For some reason I thought this a Non-vintage sparkler, but it appears to be a vintage wine. By-the-by.

Beautiful, brambly, black fruit nose, touch of black cherry and even a little spice and almond paste here.

Smooth, velvety, an elegance with a depth bringing up the rear. Effortless in its delivery, exquisite in its form. 93

Tasted on: Sunday 25th December, Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $62
Alcohol: 
Closure: Cork
Website: www.hentleyfarm.com.au

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La La Land Pinot Gris 2015

Least convincing of the wines from this, otherwise, impressive entry level label

Rockmelon, pear, lemon barley. Lacks on the palate, stonefruit syrup - comes across a little sweet. No great shakes. 85 

Tasted on: Sunday 25th September, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $16
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap

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Saturday, 28 January 2017

Zontes Footstep Chocolate Factory McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015

Fresh, bags of black fruit - a little edge of sweetness on the nose, not a lingering presence. 

More of that carries through to the entry to the palate, a nice transition to a slick, velvety palate. If you've ever tried 'Galaxy' chocolate you might understand my comparison to that brand. 


Fits and starts, little spikes of flavour that don't quite consistently carry, a gentle achiever, with that blackcurrant at least consistent throughout 89 

Tasted on: Tuesday 24th January, a Leaf to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.zontesfootstep.com.au

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Alkoomi Melaleuca Riesling 2016

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine; spring, the awakening of the season, as this enlivens the senses: citrus, honeysuckle, minerally bath salts. 

Assertive in its flavour profile: lime, kaffir lime leaf - persistent and powerful. Has a stoney undertow to it. Wonderful clarity. 92 

Tasted on: Thursday 22nd September, a Flower day
Source:Sample
Price: $34
Alcohol:12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.alkoomiwines.com.au/

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Friday, 27 January 2017

Tapanappa Cabernet Shiraz 2013

Cabernet, Shiraz - 85/15 split of the two; 20 months in 90% new French.

Classy oak at that: vanilla cedar and hazelnut. Barely lets the Cabernet speak. Slowly, tentatively at first, a whisper becomes a murmur.


Glass like smoothness, power-punch black fruit, class, bolstering acidity. Beautifully pitched in a thick, tarry, plummy way. Tannin is fine, fantastic structure to serve it well in the future. 94 

Tasted on: Sunday 22nd January, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $55
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Cork
Website: tapanappa.com.au

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Mr Riggs McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013

Mr. Riggs Shiraz is a blend of five great McLaren Vale Shiraz vineyards: Piebald Gully, Duckchase Beal and Bradens. This is the twelfth release of Shiraz under the Mr. Riggs label.

Dark, somewhat tarry, prunes, cloven spice. 

Smooth, plush, rich and voluminous in stature. Spice comes back on the mid-palate, then carried with fine-grained tannin. A dark beast, needs a little lightness and relief. Impressive nonetheless. 92 

Tasted on: Sunday 19th September, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $50
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: DIAM
Website: http://www.mrriggs.com.au/

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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Out of Step Wine Co Willowlake VineyardSauvignon Blanc 2016

Making small batches from sites selected for their ability to yield grapes of outstanding quality, and eschewing many conventional techniques that seem to make for rather pedestrian booze…”.  That’s what makes these the only producer of Sauv Blanc that i actually really anticipate SB samples from.

More from the producer: "360 dozen. From the Upper Yarra, approx 300 metres above sea level. Wild yeast fermented in barrel. Some malolactic fermentation. Mostly old (

90% used French oak barriques & hogsheads) but some new oak (10%, French). Bottled unfined and unfiltered.

You might just detect that it’s SB behind it mineral, almost smokey nose.

Yes, there are the tropical fruit elements present that you’d expect, but really this wine is about texture. Foregone is the, oft harsh, manifestation that SB can present (in the wrong hands). Instead let’s talk about what this wine is: elegance personified. I’ve said before that these guys can out-Bordeaux the Bordelaise. 

There are subtle hints of mango that’s for sure. But it’s that almost fibrous, phenolic finish that reminds more of something like a white Rhone or Gruner than what we readily see from Aus SB.


Excuse the expletive: fuck me Dave and Nath, you’ve got this one. 95

Tasted on: Thursday 19th January
Source: Sample
Price: $
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.outofstepwineco.com/

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Tim Adams Mr Mick Tempranillo 2014

Curious mix, somewhat soapy against a backdrop of black fruit, spice.

Open, loose palate structure - mid-weight, just. Black/blue fruit, strawberry juiciness, a little herbal back edge. Certainly goes alright, at a good price, have this for under $13/14 if you shop well. 88 

Tasted on: Friday 16th September, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $17
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://mrmick.com.au/

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Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Shaw Vineyard Estate Riesling 2016

Beautifully aromatic incarnation of Riesling from the Canberra District: carries many of those fresh elements that you'd associate with Thai cuisine, offering lime, lemongrass, kaffir lime. 

Really fresh palate, bags of citrus and accompanying fresh acidity. Not without a little textural width. Great all round Riesling. 92 

Tasted on: Tuesday 24th January, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.shawvineyards.com.au/

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Riversdale Estate Cygnus Riesling 2013

Apropos of nothing, this won Best white of show at Australian Cool Climate Wine Show in 2013.

Lime, lemongrass, musky hints on the nose here. 

Textural, good acid structure, presence and persistence. Possesses a little back palate fruit sweetness. Good presence and persistence. 91 

Tasted on: Friday 16th September, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $34
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://riversdaleestate.com.au/

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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Ridgemill Estate 'The Czar' Saperavi 2014

Saperavi is a relatively obscure variety, of Georgian (former Soviet, not Southern US, state) origin that is making a bit of a name for itself in the hands of a few brave warriors - in this case Ridgemill's Peter McGlashan.

Rich, chocolatey, florals, blue fruit, spice. Certainly plenty going on, all in check, nothing shouty or jockeying for prime position. 

Smooth, silken, fair glides across the palate. Substantive wine: remnants of tobacco, plum liquor, Asian spice. 

Certainly not shy, gently ebbs along, a lingering presence in the mouth. 93 

Tasted on: Friday 20th January, a Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $45
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://ridgemillestate.com/

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Torzi Matthews Vigna Cantina Tempranillo 2015

Dusty cocoa, nuttiness to proceedings, a little underlying citrus (a little like Grand Marnier or something).


Medium bodied, juicy, cherry ripe with a suggestion of blue fruit in the mix. A little tannin, fine. Good drinking juice. Something to ease into on a Sunday evening. 91 

Tasted on: Sunday 11th September, a Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.torzimatthews.com.au/

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Monday, 23 January 2017

d'Arenberg The Lucky Lizard Chardonnay 2014

Stonefruit, wheat germ, little oak. 

Buttery, cream, vanilla, residual oak spice - comely, full and quite shapely. Pretty good for the fuller figured take. Built for comfort, not for speed. 88 

Tasted on: Sunday 11th September, a Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13.3%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: darenberg.com.au/

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Saturday, 21 January 2017

Riversdale Estate Riesling 2011

Ah Riesling, let me count the ways...

At 5 years old it's showing the hints of development one would expect, petroleum hints with bitter citrus, preserved lemons. 

Minerally, positively vibrant, lively. Has an electrifying energy, that recedes before a calmness, a citrus laden body. 91 

Tasted on: Sunday 11th September, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $35
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://riversdaleestate.com.au/

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Friday, 20 January 2017

Primo & Co 'The Venetian' Garganega Bianco Veneto 2015

Joe Grilli likes to explore his Italian roots, making this Gargenaga over in northern Italy's Veneto region. Readers and drinkers might know Gargenaga better as the grape of the easy going Soave.

Smells green, and crisp with aromatics of cucumber and florals. 

Tangy on entry, a sourness that really draws the cheeks in a pucker. Good acid, dry and a little Minerally undertow. Good drinking as the months begin to warm. 

White fish with a little salsa verde. Done. 89 

Tasted on: Saturday 1st October, a Root day
Source: Cellar Door (now sold out)
Price: $25
Alcohol: 11.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.primoestate.com.au 

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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Out of Step Wine Co. Malakoff Estate Nebbiolo 2015

Some cracking wines come off this dirt. Would love to visit one day.

Expressly expressive: tobacco, Black cherry, grilled nuts, balsamic.

It just has presence: it's chewy, thick, has that Nebbiolo tarry presence with flecks of licorice. Savoury to its dense, dark core; the tannin is firm, deliciously moreish. 

Paired this with a med-rare beef roast and it just lapped up the protein. Exemplar. 94 

Tasted on: Sunday 8th January, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $33
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.outofstepwineco.com/

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Skinner Vineyards Dry Diggings Rhone Blend 2013

Rhone inspired blend from California's Sierra Foothills, the mix combining 39% Syrah, 25% Grenache, 14% Counoise, 11% Petite Sirah, 6% Mourvedre, 5% Viognier. 

I found the classification of Californian Wine quite confusing, this cites itself as being from the El Dorado AVA (American Viticultural Area), similar to an Australian GI (Geographical Indicator eg Hunter Valley). Except El Dorado sits within the Fair Play AVA, which itself sits within the far broader Sierra Foothills region. Still, bloody stunning country within California's original Gold Rush location.

To the wine: A touch pruney, leathery; red fruit comes forward slowly. There's oak - French: nutty, hazelnuts (23 Months: 58% Neutral French Oak, 42% New French Oak)

Silken on entry, liquid chocolate, intense spice - all in short succession. There's acid for freshness, carrying that spice along with some tobacco. Pretty intense. 89

Tasted on: Wednesday 11th January, a Root to Flower day
Source: Cellar Door
Price: $32 (U$)
Alcohol: 14.3%
Closure: Cork
Website: skinnervineyards.com

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Monday, 16 January 2017

Bremerton Mollie & Merle Verdelho 2015

I remember the press guff that accompanied this wine, talking of a new hot thing grape variety called Ohledrev, and how we'd likely be accepting, or more embracing of such. Basically, seeking us to challenge our perceptions.

Veritable fruit salad nose, a little rock melon, stonefruit and a touch grapey. 

Slight saline edge on entry, a little mineral (lick a salt crusted rock). Tangy citrus to boot. Would complement a seafood platter drizzled with lemon and a little salt. That kinda vibe. Nothing too exciting, but plenty of fruit to get the tastebuds wagging 88

Tasted on: Saturday 10th September, a Leaf transitioning to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $17
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.bremerton.com.au/

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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Riversdale Estate Roaring Forties Riesling 2015

Freshening mix of citrus and perhaps a little bruised apple. 

Palate is lithe and lively, showing good flavours of citrus, Apple with balance of flavour and acid to enliven the palate (and senses) 


Decent length. I've long considered Riesling (clearly alongside Chardonnay) as Tasmania's white to watch. 91 

Tasted on: Friday 9th September, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $24.50
Alcohol: 11.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://riversdaleestate.com.au/

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Friday, 13 January 2017

Alkoomi White Label Rosé 2016

Made from Petit Verdot - opens with fresh, fruity, almost bubble gum aromatics, some florals. Good lead-in. 

Clean, crisp, dry - almost chalky - some good underlying fruit presence (without being fruity, or sweet). Happy days indeed at 15 sheets, such good value in this white label range. 89 

Tasted on: Saturday 10th September, a Leaf transitioning to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $15
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.alkoomiwines.com.au/

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Thursday, 12 January 2017

Yelland & Papps Vermentino 2016

On a steamy Brisbane Summer day, an apparent temperature of 38 degrees - this is what I would turn to. Florals, citrus, has a sorbet-like freshness, some Granny Smith (apples, not real grannies) greenness. Aromas that waft in and out, make their presence known. 

Clean and fresh, an open weave, a biting acidity on the back palate brings back into focus. There's a bit of texture play. Flavour's not as bold as I've known it. More about the freshness. Keep it cool. 88 

Tasted on: Wednesday 26th October, a Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://yellandandpapps.com/

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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Ridgemill Estate Mourvèdre 2014

Varietal Mataro from Queensland's Granite Belt GI. Bit of a rare individual, on this showing it's something you'd certainly hope to see more of - in the right hands, of course.

Expressive individual: blue fruit, spice laden, subtle oak influence lends support. Certainly an attractive proposition.

Mid-full weight, easy going and yet backed up with generous spice. Soft, nigh powdery tannin coats the palate; fruit in spades, blue/black spectrum. Generous length, Spice to the end. 92 

Tasted on: Sunday 1st January, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $45
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://ridgemillestate.com/

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Ballycroft Langhorne Creek Montepulciano 2016

Very different offering from the Ballycroft stable. Almost the anthi-thesis of what i've tasted before. Never stop surprising me Joe!

Bright and vibrant, Jubey almost, attractive stone fruit  and florals. Savoury elements too - possible minor bunch inclusion with a minerally core and Italianate twiggy elements.

Bright, juicy, good rub of powdery tannin across the palate. Sour cherry, plum - on a good length too. 92.

Tasted on: Sunday 18th December, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13.7%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.ballycroft.com/

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Monday, 9 January 2017

Out of Step Wine Co Lusatia Park Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Funky edge derived from barrel fermentation. There's passionfruit, grass, a little asparagus, root veg.

Palate defies any descriptor of Sauvignon Blanc i've tasted: it's quite thick, nigh chewy, having a substantive presence. Possesses something like a creme brulee, with a trailing minerality. 

Sublime. 94 

Tasted on: Friday 9th September, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $26
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.outofstepwineco.com/

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Sunday, 8 January 2017

Zonte's Footstep Excalibur Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Excalibur, the famous sword of Arthurian legend - the wine so named for the swath it cuts through your nostrils with its overlying tropical with an undertow of fresh herb. 

The palate a mix of the same carried by a mix of lively acidity. It's a bit jumpy to be honest, but it certainly gives good carry. Dry on a length. Goes alright. 89


Tasted on: Friday 9th September, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.zontesfootstep.com.au

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Saturday, 7 January 2017

Hentley Farm Rosé 2016


Happy New Year - i s'pose this blog doesn't write itself now...

Lurid pink in glass, like grannie's lipstick (un)gracefully applied before planting a smacker with her pruney lips. 

All about the red fruit (unsurprising given it's made from Grenache), of raspberry, a little cranberry and some creaminess. 

It's quite tart on entry, that cranberry tang making its presence felt. It's drying, a chalky pucker before flashes of bright acidity followed up by a little residual fruit sweetness. 88 

Tasted on: Thursday 8th September, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $21.50
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.hentleyfarm.com.au

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