An Australian Wine Blog

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Gartelmann Sarah Elizabeth Chardonnay 2016

Powerful, creamy Chardonnay, barrel fermentation and a mix of oak has left its mark.  Has that golden, wheaten, flax like air and aura about it. 

It's quite lavish, with a well textured palate. Not just about feel, it offers creamy citrus and grilled peach. A certain stylistic Chardonnay, well worked and made. 89

Tasted on: Sunday 18th February, a Flower to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 13.7%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.gartelmann.com.au

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Mitchell Harris Sabre 2013

A fine release of this sparkling from the Pyrenees in Victoria. A mere 5g/l dosage (dry) and spending some 40 months on lees.

Opens with aromas of quince and baked apple. The palate is really where the magic happens.

Carries a finesse, a genetic mineral rasp that tickles across the palate, citrus and perhaps some frangipani. Lovely tension between the acid, remnants of fruit and yeast derived complexity. 

The finish draws long across the palate, the minerality and effervescence of the wine a constant companion. A fine release indeed. 94 

Tasted on: Saturday 22nd July, a Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $42
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: DIAM
Website: https://mitchellharris.com.au

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Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Heggies Chardonnay 2015

Pear over a lemon barley freshness. Barest hint of stonefruit, but it's about the approachability and primacy of pitch. 


A little steely edge provides a platform for the fruit to carry along on, the pear drop flavour holding its line well. Good drinking. 89 

Tasted on: Wednesday 21st June, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $31
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.heggiesvineyard.com

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Terre à Terre Crayeres Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon (95%), with a small touch of Cabernet Franc (5%) from South Australia's Wrattonbully region. It's a 'Reserve' release, seeing a touch more new oak than the Cabernet from the same vintage/ vineyard reviewed here.

Certainly the Cabernet is not shy in expressing itself: cassis, with bay leaf savoury hints. Twists of black pepper. Primarily red fruited in nature: a mix that straddles redcurrant with - perhaps - cranberry. There's an initial intensity of fruit, a surge of primacy, fruit for sure, a twist of acid that serves to lengthen the wine's profile. 


The length - and continued intensity - mark this wine out. One for the cellar for sure. 93 

Tasted on: Saturday 10th June, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $55
Alcohol: 14.1%
Closure: Cork
Website: https://terreaterre.com.au

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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Millon Estate Eden Valley Merlot 2014

Gamey, earthen, hints of mushroom, olive skin. 

Medium bodied, savoury, tannin profile is excellent, yet the wine is devoid of fruit. Suggestive of minor taint. Persistent 87 

Tasted on: Thursday 12th May 2016: a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Cork
Website: www.millonwines.com.au

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Rock of Wisdom Grenache 2016

Top notes of fruit sit squarely, invitingly. It's a red berry conserve with aromatic spice accents. 

Wickedly medium bodied, there's an immediate onslaught of spice: pepper, suggestion of dutch licorice. Inherently savoury, a stark contrast to that aromatic opening. Tannin is fine, a flash of acid to freshen up, a mid-back palate bitterness

Back of a good length. Bitterness being a distraction is my only quibble. 90 

Tasted on: Thursday 10th August, a Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: 14.4%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://rock-of-wisdom.myshopify.com/

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Monday, 19 February 2018

Alkoomi Frankland River Riesling 2017

Intense and complex aromatics here, something like bruised apple, with brown lime and musky hints adding an extra layer of depth. 

The palate shows a citrus acidity, lemon and lime in the main, a pithyness that adds layer of texture, in tandem with the freshness from the acidity. 

Fresh is certainly how you'd consider it. Excellent length and enough in every facet to make this a winner. 93 

Tasted on: Thursday 15th February, a Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $24
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.alkoomiwines.com.au/

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Sunday, 18 February 2018

Shaw Vineyard Estate Winemaker's Selection Riesling 2017

Affordable and approachable Riesling from Canberra District's Shaw Vineyard Estate. Has a fancy new livery on the range, freshened up and also to distinguish it further from the Estate range a rung up the ladder.

Opens with apple blossom florals, lime; peppery flecks in the mix too.

Light, limey tang - rather than full acid assault - has the sense of being rather more rounded in the palate, not the linear, razor-sharp Rieslings that we can find in, say, the Eden Valley.


Gentle play of flavour that slowly ebbs, not so much the flow. Pleasant experience.89 

Tasted on: Sunday 18th February, a Flower to Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.shawvineyards.com.au/

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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Angullong Shiraz 2015

There's a smokey-char about the wine, redolent of winter air in cooler climes with the lingering whiff of smoke. It sits above a plum and Berry core. Quite the invitation. 

Mid-weight, clove and a little star anise here, fine-but firm-grain tannin that gently coats the mouth. Reasonable length, soft and delicate - at contrast to a little aniseed twist. 90 

Tasted on: Tuesday 13th June, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.angullong.com.au

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Topper's Mountain Wild Ferment Shiraz 2013

Peanut brittle seems to come and go here, but at its heart is a core of red fruit over chocolate. 

Gives the impression it's sweet - from the intro - and there's a certain marriage of oak-meets-fruit-meets spice, the latter what whisks the wine away from a simply fruited wine to something more substantive. 

Curl of liquorice gives a little length to proceedings. 90 

Tasted on: Tuesday 19th June, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://toppers.com.au

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Monday, 12 February 2018

Jacob's Creek Classic Cabernet Merlot 2016

Comes across like a comforting hug, has a mix of ripe Berry fruit and a touch of chocolatey coziness. Cedary seasoning rounds out the profile. Classic Cabernet, perhaps not, comforting more so. 

Has a plushness on entry. Good easy going wine. 87

Tasted on: Wednesday 7th June, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $10
Alcohol: 13.9%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: Jacob's Creek

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Terre à Terre Summertown Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir 2016

I struggled with this, for me it was not a "for now" release, and that was borne out by my thoughts. For the record,  impressions here are over time, with the score (FWIW) an aggregate of how I saw the wine over time.

You cannot escape the exotic perfume of the exquisite French oak on display here, gently wafting its Vanillin ways out of the girls. It's the sweet too accent over a savoury edge, sour cherry in the mix too. Cherry bake well meets savoury, stem derived, aromatics.  

But initially there was 's something amiss on the palate, a harder - and bitter - manifestation as compared to that aromatic introduction. It's almost metallic, quite blunt. 

Given this is 24hrs on, the fruit is still eminently present, cool cherry - a hint of cranberry - calm red fruit. Savoury elements linger nonetheless. Tannin seems almost an afterthought, fine, the barest rasp. There's a suggestion of herbal, back palate bitterness. Cool, calm, collected. 90+ 

Tasted on: Wednesday 7th June, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 13.9%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://terreaterre.com.au

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Saturday, 10 February 2018

Deakin Estate Moscato 2016

Moscato, for me, can never escape crushed candy and floral aromatics. 

Inescapably sweet, the candy element coming through on the palate. Cannot eschew the simplicity, appealing to a demographic, well, a fancier of the Moscato.  


Simple, sweet, low alcohol. If you love Moscato, you'll be happy. 86  

Tasted on: Saturday 10th June, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $TBA
Alcohol: 6%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.wingara.com.au/Our-Brands/Deakin-Estate

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Andrew Seppelt Wines Serine Shiraz 2016

Subtle black fruit on offer here, briary hints that allude to a pebbley minerality. Thinking more about dusky violets. Barossa Shiraz paired back. 

An initial subtlety deceives, giving way to a somewhat intense pepper and cloven spice palate. The magic here for me is the minerality riven through the wine; graphite tannin, fine and persistent across the palate. 

A slight bitterness through the final third adds a savoury element, a gentle acidic punch awakening. Good showing. 92 

Tasted on: Thursday 1st June, a Fruit day
Source: Cellar Door
Price: $40
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: DIAM
Website: http://www.andrewseppelt.com/

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Friday, 9 February 2018

Rymill The Yearling Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Offers up what seems a joyful, somewhat playful nose. Hints at its varietal composition: cedary, cassis, and a little blackcurrant to tease the senses. Yes it doesn’t come across as the classiest individual, it’s $15 I ask ya!

Soft, pretty slurpy, some cedar/ piney notes come through - albeit somewhat harshly - on the palate, and die away again as soon as they arrived. It’s a pretty straight down the line affair. 

Good for a mid-week quaffer, nothing more. 86

Tasted on: Friday 26th May, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $15
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.rymill.com.au/

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Rusden Ripper Creek Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

The good ol' "Aussie Red", here, Pareto's favourite drop as an 80/20 blend.

Rich, chocolatey, little hint of burnt caramel. Suggests a cuddly wine, an embrace. Choc-mocha, layers of black fruit sitting deep in the wine. 

Gentle rub of tannin, a suggestion of back palate vanilla and another  tug of flavour that persists for a happy finish. 90 

Tasted on: Saturday 27th May, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 14.8%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.rusdenwines.com.au/

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Thursday, 8 February 2018

Windowrie The Mill Merlot 2015

Unusual, and out of sorts, release from Windowrie here. They so often get it right for me, yet here we've a wine smelling dusty, dried out, like from a warm vintage. It’s Merlot clocking in at 14% and smelling like it.


Generic red, there’s warmth on the palate. Lacking finesse, charm. We can do better with Merlot. I’m sorry, not on this occasion. 85 

Tasted on: Friday 26th May, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://windowrie.com.au/

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d'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz 2014

Deep. Dense. It's quite a dark individual, glimpses of its damson like fruit as it lies in a deep slumber. Hints of oak, leather, cedar even poke their heads out as the whole starts to unravel. 

Take this beast unto your mouth, its chewy grippy tannin really making its presence known. Black fruits, spice all condensed into this palate that would have a physicist guessing at the matter within. 

It's an impressive release, the 14s - perhaps with the exception of the cautious review of the GSM - are in an exemplary place. 94 

Tasted on: Friday 26th May, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $65
Alcohol: 14.4%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.darenberg.com.au/

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Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Rusden The Chookshed Zinfandel 2015

I've long been a fan of Rusden's wines, personally and on these pages. Something didn't quite gel with the current releases. I paired this Zin with with Jamie Oliver's sausage pasta bake - totally overpowered the dish (recipe here if that way inclined: 

Oak totally dominates the wine, suppressing the aromatics - and Zin can be so beautifully aromatic, florally and perfumed. Except here. 

But as so often with Rusden wines, the palate can so often belie that 'size'; I'm not suggesting the wine here is anything but full throttle, the oak is clearly evident on the palate. Glimpses of those purple fruits and florals are trying their best to burst through that shroud, but on this occasion oak wins out. There's no escape from the finish either. It really needs time, or at least a double decant. 88+

After +2hrs and a dirty double decant:
There's more peeking from behind that oak shroud, think fruit cake and aniseed twists, hints of cedar and violet florals. 

It's certainly not for the feint hearted. The palate has softened with a little air, sweeter spiced hints are making themselves known and it starts to resemble the Rusden wines I've come to know. Understand that + sign. 

Tasted on: Thursday 25th, a Fruit to Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $49
Alcohol: 15.4%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.rusdenwines.com.au/

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d'Arenberg Ironstone Pressings GSM 2014

d'Arenberg's upper echelon GSM blend (72/25/3% in that order). 

Distinctive air of McLaren Vale red fruited Grenache here. That's not to call it out as a fruity wine, rather it has that redcurrant and raspberry lead in, over an underlying earth - Ironstone even - core. 

Medium-to-full. Really what's noticeable are the tannins that immediately make themselves known, fine and powdery with a delicious persistence. There's a little freshening acidity, with some come hitter fruit, that all suggests this may cellar well. 

My only cautionary note is a suggestion of excessive heat in the back palate. Somewhat dominates the finish. Still, grand in stature. 91 

Tasted on: Wednesday 24th May, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $65
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://darenberg.com.au/

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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Squid Jibbly Wines Malbec 2016

Squid Jibbly is a brand you may not have heard of, essentially it's a few mates in various roles in and around the industry who had a little play with some fruit out of the Clare Valley and Langhorne Creek  to produce this playful little number. 

Carries a lo-fi kinda vibe to it, a wine about youth, fruit, and unencumbered from artifice, or oak. It's fresh, with perhaps just a suggestion of a small amount of stem. 

Light of palate, fleet-footed perhaps; carries the classic dusky violet of the variety, but is about freshness and vitality. Good graphite tannin structure leaves a fine coating across the palate. Length goes alright, if not possessing the greatest depth. Fun to drink, you'd reach for a second glass - or more - for sure. 91 

Tasted on: Tuesday 23rd May, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $15/bottle ($180/doz)
Alcohol: 13.2%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://squidjibbly.com/Shop

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Terre á Terre Rosé 2016

Pinot Noir (65%) and Chardonnay (35%) originally destined for sparkling base, made from the juice of pressings. Fermented in 3yo barrels, 225doz produced. 

Strawberries, a little cranberry, white pepper and perhaps even some fennel. Initially I thought I caught a smokey, reductive edge - that could have been the bro-in-laws chicken wings on the go mind. 

It's dry, has a semblance of width and also has a drive to it. It wants for nothing and manages to fulfil many a promise: dry, savoury, retention of a little fruit. Top drawer rosé. 93 

Tasted on: Saturday 12th August, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $32
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://terreaterre.com.au

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Monday, 5 February 2018

Robert Stein Riesling 2017

On a day when Brisbane called a halt to its attempts at Winter, a fresh and citrus driven Rizza was just the ticket. Lemon, lemon/lime even with bath salt lift has the delight ticking the nasal cavity. 

Lemon, lemon barley, apple. Fresh and about you acidity that works in tandem with the fruit presence. Drying, almost a fine slatey, powdery feel. 

Sustained presence and generosity, in a subtle way. 91 

Tasted on: Thursday 17th August, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 11.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://robertstein.com.au

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Tapanappa Merlot Cabernet Franc 2014

Exotically perfumed, sandalwood and cedar, gentle muskiness, a hint of game, over violet and dusky black fruit.

Medium bodied, powder-fine tannin, a gentle perky acidity. There's Plum and raspberry, carried and framed by acid and tannin. 


Slightly different vibe to Merlot/CF of previous vintages. Not better or worse, different. 92+ 

Tasted on: Sunday 28th January, a Root to Flower day 
Source: Sample
Price: $79
Alcohol: 14.4%
Closure: Cork
Website: https://tapanappa.com.au

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Sunday, 4 February 2018

Azahara Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV Sparkling

Predominantly Chardonnay (89%) with the balance of Pinot Noir.

Banging bargain bubbles here. Don't come looking for the refinement of a Champagne, instead appreciate what you get for the dollar. Opens with wholemeal bread and malt notes with freshening citrus hints.

The palate is lively, offering more of the freshening and cleansing citrus, a subtle creaminess in tandem with acidity. A solid all round package. 89

Tasted on: Sunday 4th February, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $15
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Cork
Website: www.wingara.com.au

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Saturday, 3 February 2018

Ferngrove Black Label Malbec 2016

Long considered one of the pioneers of the variety, as a varietal at least. Impressive pedigree too. Opens dark, dusky - as you might expect - but instead it actually offers something rather approachable and good-natured, that's not a slight.  

Plummy, with dusky and charry scent. Nothing profound, sweet accents on the dark fruit, powdery tannin. Goes now! 89 

Tasted on: Saturday 27th January, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.ferngrove.com.au

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Robert Stein Shiraz 2014

Jeez, Mudgee is offering the goods of late. Robert Stein seem in a good place. Plums meets dark berry fruit. 

More of the same on the palate plus a smattering of residual malty oak in the mix. Dark, rich, heady cocktail of flavours on offer. 

The back palate sees a resurgence of that dark fruit mix. Soft powdery tannin reels you in further. Small balance of acidity to freshen you up, as you like. Excellent balanced package, particularly for the ask. 92  

Tasted on: Friday 26th January, an historically divisive day 
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://robertstein.com.au

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Friday, 2 February 2018

Alkoomi White Label Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Lemongrass, lemon balm and grapefruit aromas.

Zest and minerality, rock melon in the mix. In the main it's about the citrus, gentle acid ebbs and flows. Given its ask, it's quite a gentle wine - as ever the white label over-delivering on the QPR proposition. 

Perhaps not the greatest definition and shape towards the final third, but it holds its own. 88 

Tasted on: Friday 26th January, an historically divisive day 
Source: Sample
Price: $15
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.alkoomiwines.com.au/

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Ferngrove Black Label Dry Style Riesling 2017

Very expressive, aromatic style of Riesling from Frankland River in WA's Great Southern. Unusually contains a small percentage of Gewurztraminer, all that is required to lend a musky hint over the top of a citrus core. 

Soft and somewhat pillow lying entry. Lemon and Lime zest in essential lead the way, a definitive aspect of the wine. 

Freshness to the core, with excellent carry of that citrus through a decent length. 90

Tasted on: Friday 26th January, an historically divisive day
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.ferngrove.com.au

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Thursday, 1 February 2018

Heartland Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Fruit and toast, not necessarily the bombastic style of yore, but a rich-laden-substantive offering. 

Palate shows more of the same, with its medium to full ways, again the rich fruit with some toasty oak presence. Lingering and residual cloven spice from the latter to top things off. 89  

Tasted on: Wednesday 24th January, a Leaf to Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://heartlandwines.com.au

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Cook's Lot Allotment 1010 Shiraz 2016

Pours a vibrant magenta, as though the fruit has been freshly crushed. Aromatically it doesn't fail to disappoint either, with fresh blackberry and Mulberry, wrapped up with a suggestion of smokey oak. 

Medium bodied, the fruit again mixing with the suggestion of spice, the introduction to a tail of flavour. Subtle oak is in the mix, pitched well against the fruit. 

Concludes with a mocha creaminess, subtly accented by the oak. Very good. 92 

Tasted on: Tuesday 23rd January, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $23
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.cookslot.com.au

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