An Australian Wine Blog

Thursday, 26 April 2018

d'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz 2015

Dead Arm, d'Arenberg and McLaren Vale. Each integral to the other. Rich, a touch figgy, heady and a mix of dark black fruit that emanates from glass. 


Black fruits, sweeter accents on entry, tannin that resolves to something fine and yet gravelly. Black olive, hints of Mediterranean herb. It's a dark mix with elements of dark chocolate on the finish. A line of acidity gives excellent length. One for the trophy room! 93 

Tasted on: Sunday 22nd April, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $70
Alcohol: 14.4%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.darenberg.com.au

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Tuesday, 24 April 2018

d'Arenberg The High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Eighteen bucks and delivers in spades, the blackcurrant truck was well and truly backed up for this release, repeatedly. Primarily fruit driven, latent savoury hints sit in the background: black olive, tomato leaf and herb. 

Fresh, tangy with acidity in tune with the body of the wine. Presence of fruit, a little more of the herbal mix, though it does run out of steam and puff through the middle third. 

Holds up incredibly well over some time open. 90

Tasted on: Thursday 19th April, a Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 14.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.darenberg.com.au

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Saturday, 21 April 2018

Ferngrove Off-Dry Riesling 2017

Ooh, this one's a goer, more of the tropical mien to it - think something like a mandarin and lime marmalade, a little cumquat for good measure. 

The aroma carries more of that subtle minerality that you might suspect betrays a sweetness within. More of that limey citrus on the palate, a harder edge with some zesty acidity balancing out the sweeter aspects. 88

Tasted on: Wednesday 18th April
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 11%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.ferngrove.com.au

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Patina Scandalous Riesling 2016

Not quite sure what the scandal is here, a Riesling with higher levels of sugar can be one of life's great pleasures. Perhaps the scandal is that the drinking masses are not aware of this ("It may be false, it may be true; but nothing has been proved").

So, about that sugar, it's 24g/l residual sugar (a typical 'dry' sugar, would be around 4-5, and 10 at most). Aromatically it offers lime, apple and event a hint of honeydew melon.

Soft and succulent, chewy almost. There's an unmistakable citrus hit that swings through the back palate. Solid. 89

Tasted on: Wednesday 18th April
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 11.1%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.patinawines.com.au/

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Friday, 20 April 2018

d'Arenberg Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

This 2015 release was polarising. Day 1 it was sullen and the body inconsistent. A day later it was a different beast, rewarding the patient.

Salt bush, bay, blackcurrant lurks in the background, with damson. There's cedar wood offering a delightful seasoning over a core of fruit. 

Twists of Mediterranean herb, oregano/marjoram and the like. Seasoning of cedar, pepper. Inherently more savoury. With time the black fruit shows a strong hand on entry and through the core of the wine. 

Tannin profile feels gravelly and coarse initially, before a finer presence makes itself known. A little dark chocolate bitterness concludes the wine, it's on an impressive length, yet my overall conclusion is it does still need time to mesh together. Really more about the parts being greater than the sum at present. But I consider this an excellent cellaring prospect 92+ 

Tasted on: Sunday 15th April, a Leaf day and Monday 16th April, a Leaf to Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $70
Alcohol: 14.3%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.darenberg.com.au

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Wirra Wirra Church Block 2016

Church Block smelling mighty fine, for all its intoxicating mix of Cabernet and Shiraz (plus a dollop of Merlot for good measure). It carries the plummy/damson/Mulberry signature with a generous carry of chocolate and damp earth.

Simply good to go now, the fruit well pitched with a fine rub of tannin. Mere suggestion of oak lends middle-weight support, delivering a wine that successfully straddles both generosity and substance. 

Consistently a cracking release, the 2016 no exception. 92 

Tasted on: Wednesday 18th April, a Fruit to Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.wirrawirra.com

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Thursday, 19 April 2018

Angullong Fossil Hill Tempranillo 2016

Hints of dough and balsa-wood. Seasoning and shavings of cedary oak. 

Fuller, powdery fine tannin, glimpses of black fruit before an astringent bitterness towards the back palate. Cocoa powder, blue fruit glimpses. Finish moderate. Questionable. 

Surprising. 88 

Tasted on: Thursday 13th April, A Flower day 
Source: Sample
Price: $26
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.angullong.com.au

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Katnook Estate Shiraz 2015

Not the first variety that springs to mind when you think of Coonawarra, but then Katnook have always seemed to have a handle on the variety.

Dried earth, meets cedary oak - comes across as dry and dusty, a little like the Coonawarra soils. 

Cassis/blackcurrant, hints of anise, smooth and creamy palate - definition and fine tannin. Good flavour penetration and persistence. 92 

Tasted on: Sunday 1st April, a Root to Flower day 
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.katnookestate.com.au

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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Bremerton Old Adam Shiraz 2014

Serious intent here: solid presence of oak and black fruit. A little coffee and malted presence adds a sweeter accent.

Black fruit to its very core, the fruit presence is intense, and yet well balanced. The tannin is (surprisingly) subtle, well integrated, the oak providing the structure that will serve well for the future. 

Offers a finish of intensity and substance that matches the remainder of the wine. 92

Tasted on: Sunday 8th April, a Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $56
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.bremerton.com.au/

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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Mitchell Grenach Mataro Shiraz 2014

Red fruit - cranberry and raspberry; subtle herb, residual oak elements.

Nicely rounded entry, soft and almost chewy. Delicacy and softness, fine-grain of tannin. Red/black fruit mix sits comfortably throughout the wine, sitting well on the finish. 

There's a savoury spike, a little licorice at its conclusion. Very good value - particularly given the release as a four year old, an excellent red vintage in Clare Valley. 90 

Tasted on: Sunday 8th April, a Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $26
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.mitchellwines.com

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Flaxman Wines Eden Valley Riesling 2016

Dry grown, 200 doz made. Comes in the regional-proprietary EV bottle.

Long overdue look at a Riesling purchased just under a year ago. Oh my, on aroma alone this is a winner. It’s pristine, all aromatic green apple, hints of lime and lemongrass, elements of bath salt. But it’s really about the glorious apple and citrus bursting forth and assaulting the nasal cavity.

A soft and gentle entry is somewhat rudely interrupted by pristine acidity. It’s rather pure in how it then travels, such focus on the palate. There’s a bitter lemon twist through the finish and even a little phenolic pucker to really get things going. Immaculate. 94

Tasted on: Friday 6th April, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Cellar Door Purchase
Price: $27
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.flaxmanwines.com.au/

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Monday, 16 April 2018

Huntington Estate Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2017

Spends some time sur lie - eight months - and that lends the wine some width and weight through the middle. Citrus and stonefruit are the aromatic hallmarks of the wine - the regional calling card for the variety.

There's a sufficient vein of acidity about which the creaminess and flesh of the fruit hang. Good drinking. 90

Tasted on: Friday 6th April, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $24
Alcohol: TBC
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://huntingtonestate.com.au/

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Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Barossa Boy Young Wisdom Mataro 2016

Deep, dark, soulful - more in the way of tobacco, and dark wood. Lighter elements, light to the shade, something more floral - lavender and violets.

Soft, almost chewy intro before the onset of dark spice that penetrates the very corners of your oral cavity. Fine tannin creeps along, as if building and spreading a web across which the fruit is carried - cassis and plum - and remnants of oak. A fine release. 93

Tasted on: Friday 6th April, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $50
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: DIAM
Website: www.barossaboywines.com.au

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Yelland and Papps Second Take Mataro 2017

The numbers: 67% whole bunch, 14d on skins; 100% French Oak, of which 17% new.

More of the whole bunch aromatics shining through on initial approach, with the underlying plum and heady dark spice of the variety.

Freshness and vitality - could almost be the Y&P/ 2nd Take watchwords - the nimbleness and fleet-flooted take on Mataro, a style known more for heft, than guile. Fine powdery tannin lay a foundation on which to carry chocolate, dark spice, even toward a little clove. 

Fruit peeks its head out, furtively, blueberry even. It’s a delicate slither of a thing. Truly quite remarkable for Barossan Mataro. 92

Tasted on: Friday 6th April, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yellandandpapps.com/

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Monday, 9 April 2018

Toppers Mountain Tannat Wild Ferment 2013

Bit of funk and meatiness to this one on opening, with chocolate bullets and herbal, undergrowth notes on the nose.

Medium to full bodied, but it's superbly balanced and rather fine - particularly given its just under 16% alcohol. Delightfully fine tannin, berry and briar, with licorice. Manages to balance that fruit presence with long smooth tannins and a savoury twist on its back end. 

Good wine. Real interest, satisfaction and presence. 92

Tasted on: Friday 31st May, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $38
Alcohol: 15.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://toppers.com.au

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Juniper Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

It's primarily Cabernet Sauvignon (90%, small additions of Cabernet Franc 5%, Malbec 2%, Merlot 2% and Petit Verdot) making up the balance.

Beautiful aromatic offering, it's all cedar and black fruit, set to seasoned oak just framing it so. It's cool in its manifestation, graphite tannin and this steely edge as it presents its components effortlessly and with grace. 

There's a herbal element to it, sage and a little mint. It's just spot on in how it just delivers its pitch. Classic. 93

Tasted on: Friday 31st May, a Fruit to Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $70
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.juniperestate.com.au

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Sunday, 8 April 2018

Ferngrove Independence Pinot Noir [with a touch of oomph!] 2017

Rather bold aromatics on this Pinot Noir from WA's Great Southern region, more black than red fruit - plummy, with herbal inflections.

Medium bodied, juice laden palate with fine silken tannins. Black fruit, licorice, dark in its presentation. Got a decent length on it, the firm and bold flavours lingering on the palate. 88 

Tasted on: Friday 31st March, a Fruit to Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $23
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.ferngrove.com.au

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Juniper Crossing Shiraz 2016

Curiously meaty, savoury - kinda like fermenting sausage - intertwined with deep setblack fruit. Makes for a complex - and sometimes confronting - mix and mass of aromas. There's a latent toastiness from the oak, which is a mix of formats (225, 300 & 500 litre formats, 10% new French).

Medium bodied, powdery fine tannin: an underlay of texture with a deep black mass of fruit and spice just sitting above. The powdery tannin for me is a lasting consideration to the wine, creating the memory. 91

Tasted on: Monday 19th March, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.juniperestate.com.au

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Saturday, 7 April 2018

Ferngrove White Label Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2017

Light on flavour and aromatics this time out. There's some faint kiwi fruit and citrus and even a suggestion of green melon.

There's a little zesty liveliness about the palate, a tingle and jingle of acidity that pricks across the tongue. That's really what the bulk of the experience is about, the dilute flavour not matching the energy. 86

Tasted on: Friday 6th April, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $16
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.ferngrove.com.au

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Katnook Founder's Block Sauvignon Blanc 2017

There's no making mistaking the grape variety in this glass, it's all gooseberry and herb, subtle tropical inflections sit lingering in the background. 

Packs a punch on the palate with an intensity and focus: mineral tinged, acid flecked, supplemented by the topical fruit brought forward on waves of acidity. 90

Tasted on: Friday 6th April, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.katnookestate.com.au

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Friday, 6 April 2018

Robert Stein SRG Semillon Riesling Gewürztraminer 2017

Interesting wine this, and I must say I do like the cut of this winery's gib. Regional standards, plus exploring the envelope - keeping themselves interested along a bit of customer intrigue.

This blend of Semillon, Riesling and Gewürztraminer sees a bit of extended time on skins (7d) plus some gross lees contact once pressed off - think texture and then some.

It's more in the citrus, lychee, with a small muskiness sitting over vein. Less of the rose water/ turkish delight which Gewürz can dominate with. The palate sees a little spritzy minerality, an enlivening and awakening approach. Lemon barley and sherbet in the main sit squarely on the palate, somewhat mute - the texture the main play in this one. 89

Tasted on: Wednesday 4th April, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 10%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://robertstein.com.au

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Yelland and Papps Second Take Shiraz 2017

The numbers: 73% whole bunch, 14d on skins; 100% French oak, 28% new.

Cracking aromatic mix of fruit, the bunch elements singing and adding their touch, hints of licorice root and all up it comes across as this cola-like presentation in glass. 

Deliciously medium bodied, has a wicked lick of acidity that flies through the wine. Tannin is fine, seemingly barely there, more presenting itself as a silken threaded chain of linked tannins extending the length further. Cracking. 93

Tasted on: Saturday 31st March, a Root day  
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 13.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yellandandpapps.com/

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Thursday, 5 April 2018

Ferngrove Independence Pinot Noir 2017

Rather bold aromatics on this Pinot Noir from WA's Great Southern region, more black than red fruit - Plummy, with herbal inflections. 

Medium bodied, juice laden palate with fine silken tannins. Black fruit, licorice, dark in its presentation. Got a decent length on it, the firm and bold flavours lingering on the palate. 88 

Tasted on: Friday 31st March, a Fruit to Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $23
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.ferngrove.com.au

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d'Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2016

You can still find some consistent performers in the classic Australian mould. Regional and of its variety, it's a wine that also can cellar well. 

Throws what you seek in a robust Vale Shiraz: raspberry, - bright and red - a little blackberry and fresh prime earth. 

Rich, ripe, the acid and fruit a potent mix. The tannin is fine and almost feels sticky, in how it pervades and persists. The fruit is fairly full throttle and adds a little mintiness to the profile. 

Good length, a touch of nervy acid my only quibble. 90 

Tasted on: Monday 2nd April
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 14.3%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.darenberg.com.au/

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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Wirra Wirra 12th Man Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills (Lobethal and Lenswood from memory). Love the consistency of this wine, strong on the stonefruit and its marriage to some meal and spicy oak. 

Good citrus driven palate and acidity, tangy and juicy with fruit supplementing and buoying that spine. The wine is expansive in that the final third enhances this with the addition of some creamy, leesy texture and the presence of oak tannin, all rather mellifluously flowing to a gentle length. Good release. 91 

Tasted on: Tuesday 3rd April, a Flower day 
Source: Sample
Price: $35
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.wirrawirra.com

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Ferngrove White Label Rosé 2017

Brand and packaging update from Ferngrove. What was formerly the 'Origins' range has become the White Label range, bringing it more in line with the remainder of the Portfolio. 

Wild strawberry, red currant and cranberry - dryish fruit, not the sweet and succulent. Solid Rosé, it has the fruit, it's dry and even a semblance of texture (solids perhaps?), somewhat unusually for a wine in this price range. 

There's a touch of spice too - only quibble is a bit of perky acid. You could pay twice the ask of this and not find something as complete 90

Tasted on: Thursday 22nd March, a Fruit to Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $16
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.ferngrove.com.au

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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Robert Stein Shiraz Nouveau 2017

The inaugural Shiraz Nouveau grapes were handpicked with 30 per cent whole bunch and 70 per cent whole berry fermentation in small, open fermenters. A cold and carbonic maceration prior to fermentation allowed soft extraction of the flavours without exposing too many tannins. The wine was then matured for six months in a combination of new (20 per cent) and older French hogsheads.

“We are always looking at tweaking our winemaking with the aim to improve the quality across the entire range,’ continued Jacob. “With this new wine, we aimed to produce a light, juicier style Shiraz that can be chilled a touch prior to opening.”

Has that joyous, berry driven and fruit forward aroma - packs a little pinch of spice that lurks in the background - a small percentage of whole bunch was included - pepper and brown spice in the main.

Loose, light and open Shiraz - a little herbal and liquorice twice in the middle and cascading through to the wines finish. This took a chill nicely and was paired with a Feijao having sufficient fruit presence to handle the dish. 89

Tasted on: Monday 26th March, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol:
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://robertstein.com.au/

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