An Australian Wine Blog

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Pacha Mama Riesling 2015

Somewhat daft name IMO, supposedly inspired by a trip to Chile and named after an Incan goddess. Perhaps showing my age, but it sounds more like it was named after a young strumpet who conceived at an Ibizan nightclub.

Made by winemaking legend Don Lewis.

Refined lime and pith, certainly expresses itself sufficiently, if somewhat mute. 

Refreshes the gills (parts other beers cannot reach), grapefruit and lemon, citrus acidity. Minerally, tangy. Lacks a little substance. Crowd pleasing, if you like. 


Reasonable length. 89 

Tasted on: Sunday 19th March, a Leaf day
Source: Retail
Price: $19.50
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.wineunplugged.com.au

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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Windowrie The Mill Shiraz 2015

Won top gong at the NSW Wine Awards.

Cloven spice, herbal, fresh and fragrant. Smells at once both serious, yet also playful and inviting. 

Mid-weight, more of the herb and spice laid out across the palate. The spice if anything, builds further. Some drying tanning provides extra carriage to this. 


Great value. Pretty serious given the pricepoint. 92 

Tasted on: Sunday 27th November, a Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.windowrie.com.au/

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La Bise Adelaide Hills Tempranillo 2014

New-ish label from Tash Mooney (ex-Fox Gordon and BVE) flying solo and gaining some traction and following. Deservedly.

Tobacco, Blueberry, Vanilla, cherry compote. Good Tempranillo thus far. 

Elegant, medium bodied manifestation of a Wine. Hints of oak. But really about a good sense of flavour, red fruit with a little sour tang to it. 


Great price for a good Tempranillo. 89 

Tasted on: Saturday 26th November, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://labisewines.com.au

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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

K1 Brut NV

Distinct blush on pour, not labelled a Rosè and yet you'd be hard to call it anything but. 

Underlying wild strawberry with bready, brioche hints sitting above. 

Strawberry, red berry fruits across the palate - a touch more sweetness present. Clean, a fine minerality - carrying the fruit presence, a good presence. 90 

Tasted on: Saturday 26th November, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $35
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: DIAM
Website: http://www.winesbygeoffhardy.com.au/

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Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2015

An impressive site, and sight, the Tiers Vineyard. Planted back in Brian Croser's beloved Picadilly Valley back in 1979. If you're ever in the Hills, do ensure you take time to visit the cellar door and soak in the view back toward the drive you came down.

Peach, figgy, cashew, cream and spice

Lots going on with a palate presence that builds and builds. Meyer lemon, creamy presence, spicy oak. It has nuttiness, a texture, presence, a lingering significance that seems to just give. 

Acidity is balanced, yet it still needs time to settle. That said, It's an impressive wine. 93

Tasted on: Thursday 24th November
Source: Sample
Price: $79
Alcohol: 13.6%
Closure: Cork
Website: https://tapanappa.com.au

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Monday, 13 March 2017

Mount Avoca Lagrein 2015

Back in August 2016, Mount Avoca received organic accreditation across its entire winemaking progress. This applies to eight wines - that can be officially marked as organic - including this Limited Release Lagrein.

Baked raspberry, cherry, plum. Italianate herbal tinges. 

Fresh, supple, on entry - surges in the mouth, assertive and grainy tannin leads to some back palate bitterness. 


Acid freshens, resumes proceedings, leading long threads of fruits, spice and herb with it. Superb. 92 

Tasted on: Wednesday 23rd November
Source: Sample
Price: $46
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://mountavoca.com/

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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Rob Hall Harriet's Vineyard Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2015

Harriet being (winemaker) Rob Hall's Mother, who has taken to caring for, and nurturing,  this vineyard planted on the property back in 1996.

Savoury elements hint at selective whole bunch inclusion (5%), with plenty of fruit including cherry and rosehip making up the balance of aromas.

Barest hint of undissolved CO2 lends a little vibrancy and energy to proceedings. Minerality, flinty pebble, spice. A little texture across the back palate, excellent mouthfeel. 92 

Tasted on: Tuesday 7th March, a Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.robhallwine.com.au

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Saturday, 11 March 2017

Katnook Founder's Block Chardonnay Pinot Noir Sparkling NV

Coonawarra bubbles, an 80/20 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir respectively.

Baked goods, stonefruit preserve, a little honeyed edge. Soft entry, segues to a gentle minerality. Buttery pastry, nicely balanced against fruit/subtle savoury. 


Gentle crispness, snaps to a finish. 89 

Tasted on: Sunday 20th November
Source: Sample
Price: $23
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: DIAM
Website: www.katnookestate.com.au

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Friday, 10 March 2017

Mount Avoca Limited Release Sangiovese 2015

Berry aromatics - lifted spice and herbal tinges. I served this too warm which accentuated spirited notes on the aromatic profile. 

Soft, rounded palate - hints of vanilla gently introduce themselves on what turns out to be a rather long, spice tinged finish. Berry flavours re-introduce themselves, with a tug o’ war back and forth with the vanilla.


Good length, plenty about it, spice to the death. Great going. 91

Tasted on: Friday 18th November
Source: Sample
Price: $47.50
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://mountavoca.com/

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Thursday, 9 March 2017

Miraflores Methode Ancienne Syrah 2012

Miraflores is located up in California's Sierra Foothills, in the original gold rush country. About 2.5 hours from San Francisco, just a little further east of state capital Sacramento, the Tuscan inspired winery seems a million miles from that tech-centric global icon.

'Methode Ancienne' here in the wine's title simply refers to less intensive methods of winemaking, wild yeast fermented, foot trod etc

Shows initial hit of funk, settles: spice, sandalwood, perhaps a little camphor. 

Medium bodied, cocoa-powder tannin, meaty with some brambley black and red fruit. Acid spikes a little toward the back end. Decent length. 91 

Tasted on: Wednesday 9th November
Source: Cellar Door Purchase
Price: $30 (US$)
Alcohol: 14.1%
Closure: Cork
Website: https://www.mirafloreswinery.com

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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Hither & Yon Petit Blanc 2016

McLaren Vale Muscat Blanc á Petit Grains (to be precise), that was grafted from Riesling in '81.

An expressly aromatic wine that carries Rosewater clearly, a little muskiness with softer tropical aromatics linger furtively. 

Gentle entry, with acid that shakes things up. Citrus abounds here: grapefruit, zest, a little like perhaps. Clean and refreshing. Clears things up.  

Tasted on: Tuesday 22nd November
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 11.7%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.hitherandyon.com.au/

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d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2013

d'Arenberg's 2013 icon releases have been a stunning return to form. Whilst previous releases (see: Ironstone Pressings, Coppermine Road, Dead Arm) have been good, they - for me - have not quite nudged the Very Good/ Excellent realms. I've oft wondered - and as excellent as the initiative is - what impact Scarce Earth bottlings may have had on these icon releases.

This is good, very good. Ironstone, earth; sanguine, plum, blackcurrant, herb inflected, ferrous - almost wild. The tannin structure - impressive, dominating from the middle third. Oak is present, carrying licorice to its conclusion. Just give it time. 94 

Tasted on: Wednesday 2nd November, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $65
Alcohol: 14.6%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.darenberg.com.au/

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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Huntington Estate Semillon 2016

Lemon sherbet/barley aromatics, dried grass/straw. Semillon's calling card. 

Quite a subtle interpretation. Yes there's acid on the back, not quite the electrifying, battery acid oft seen in many examples. 

There's a little textural nuance through the middle, a little freeness, flow, and form. Length is decent, doesn't set the palate afire, but suitably freshens. 88 

Tasted on: Monday 21st November
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 11.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://huntingtonestate.com.au/

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Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava Heredad

Wingara was formed in 1967 and is the Parent company of brands like famed Coonawarra producer Katnook. Wingara is itself owned by Spanish producer Freixenet, the world's largest sparkling winemaker!

This Reserva - resplendent in a Gothic inspired bottle - sits on lees for two and half years, it pours a pale straw, with decent focal bead and a light mousse. Pear, citrus, autolytic character. 

Somewhat firm palate, hard minerality, dry, grapefruit acidity. Long on the finish, would perhaps look for greater finesse at the asking price. 91  

Tasted on: Wednesday 2nd November, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $50
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Cork
Website: https://www.wingara.com.au/

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Monday, 6 March 2017

Hither & Yon Shiraz 2016

McLaren Vale Shiraz with a cheeky 6% Malbec - the first crop for the H&Y team after planting a hectare back in 2014 - added in to the equation.

Very expressive, leaps from the glass in a very 'purple' explosion of flavour: cassis, violets, veering to a little choc-wafer expression (I oft think of those little complimentary wafers you get on the side of a coffee).

Interesting palate, a curious combination of a squeeze of liquid smoke over mulberry and blackberries. Earth, cloven spice, twists of cracked pepper. You can see the impression that a mere 6% Malbec has made on the wine.

Very Hither & Yon, very McLaren Vale. Terroir indeed. 91

Tasted on: Monday 6th December
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.hitherandyon.com.au/

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d'Arenberg The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Oft been my pick of the d'Arenberg icons, tho' I think the impressive Ironstone Pressings may have pipped it in this release (even if the scores are in the same ballpark).

Has the usual mix of the cedary oak, but overriding - and really not able to escape from - the swathes of red fruit. It's backed up with tannin - and this combination of fruit, oak and the tannin suggest this will be in the realm of a 20+ year cellaring proposition. 91

Tasted on: Sunday 30th October, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $65
Alcohol: 14.4%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://darenberg.com.au/

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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard Merlot Cabernet Franc 2013

A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, 56/44 respectively; spends 20m in Oak, all French and, of which, 90% is new.  

Why do I tell you this? Because, yes, the oak is here - 90% new French couldn't be avoided. It supports black cherry, mulberry, throws a coffee note. 

It's lighter of than body than you'd expect, given the oak and barely sub-15 abv, but it's no slouch. Tannin builds, it's a substantive wine, with the fruit and flavour a riot, charging through to the finish. 


Expansive wine, seriously impressive, reinforces its status as one of Australia's upper echelon offerings. Shows what Merlot and Cab Franc can do, in the right terroir, the right hands. 95 

Tasted on: Sunday 30th October, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $79
Alcohol:14.8%
Closure: Cork
Website: https://tapanappa.com.au

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Thursday, 2 March 2017

Shaw Vineyard Estate Cuvée Sparkling 2015

No variety or blend composition listed, but I couldn't escape the pungent aroma of the grassy, herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc emanating from the glass. Creamy citrus softens the blow, adding an extra dimension here. [So much for my Sav-dar, it's all Semillon - tho I thought Cuvée to mean 'blend'. ]

The palate is initially soft, citrus - again - segueing to a loose flow with a sweetened edge.  Offers decent refreshment across the middle. Fresh, citrusy. 87

Tasted on: Sunday 30th October, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 10.5%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.shawvineyards.com.au/

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