An Australian Wine Blog

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Chateau Mercian Ensemble Rosé 2015

This is a blended Rosé, from primarily Merlot with a little Muscat Bailey A (not a grape I am familiar with). It appears to be a cross-regional blend with fruit drawn from both the Nagano (Japanese central Alpine region) and Yamanashi Prefectures (East Central region, where Mount Fuji sits within).

Gentle Berry aromatics, strawberry in the main (which Rosé seemingly doesn't?). 

Palate is fuller, strawberry and a little raspberry perhaps. Tickle of white pepper across the central palate. No real phenolics to speak of. A simple pleasure to enjoy, certainly smashed down easily with the Gyoza we paired with it. 88 

Tasted on: Sunday 17th June, a Leaf day 
Source: Wine List
Price: ¥4000 (approx. $48 AUD)
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.chateaumercian.com/en/

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Friday, 22 June 2018

Higher Plane Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2013

Reserve selection of Cabernet Sauvignon. Spends 18 months in French Oak, even at 5 years that's still evident. 

Underneath that oak, it's a mix of Plum and olive skin, with thyme and bay herbal inflections. 

Fine quality to the palate, smooth as it glides across the palate. A sheen if you will - serves as an introduction to black fruit depths and fine-grained tannin. Possesses subtle depth, a wine of classic proportions. 93

Tasted on: Wednesday 13th June, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $38
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.higherplanewines.com.au

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Thursday, 21 June 2018

Rymill The Dark Horse Shiraz 2016

There’s a sense of char here, pepper and black fruit sound the charge. It’s even a little leafy, dusty as it assaults the nasal cavity.

More of that pepper on show through the palate. Not the most defined shape. Tannin a little coarse, reasonable length about it 89

Tasted on: Saturday 9th June, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $23
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.rymill.com.au/

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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Margan Shiraz Mourvedre 2016

Earth, meaty, a bit blood and bones. Good depth, lifted sweeter accents: Blueberry and violets. Certainly in that spectrum. 

Medium bodied, smooth and silken as it glides across the palate. Brings with it depth and a little structure. Flows well, delivering a good length. Perhaps a latent salinity peeking its head. 

My personal pick of the red releases from the vintage. 91  

Tasted on: Friday 8th June, a Leaf day 
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.margan.com.au/

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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Ridgemill Estate the Lincoln Shiraz 2016

Dense black fruit presenting itself here, it's almost fudge-like with a little oak framework and seasoning of pepper and baking spices. 

You cant escape the medium-bodied frame that is quintessentially Granite Belt, that combined with that fine, graphite tannin and texture. 

It's that tannin that really give the wine presence, gentle length. With time it becomes a little more expressive, some sweeter fruit accents - adding to the generosity. 92

Tasted on: Wednesday 6th June, a Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $TBC
Alcohol: 13.9%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://ridgemillestate.com/

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Monday, 18 June 2018

Huntington Estate Special Reserve Chardonnay 2017

The wine is rich on opening, expressive of both variety and winemaker's hand. Citrus, stonefruit and judicious barrel work all leave their imprint. 

The palate is expressive too, delicious peach juice cascades over the palate, supplemented by a little Vanilla and what seems like a delicate toffee. Elegance is one way of describing the wine, delicious another. 

Generous, yet subtle, a wine that is at ease now and will reward patient cellaring. 92 

Tasted on: Thursday 31st May, a Leaf to Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 13.1%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://huntingtonestate.com.au/

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Sunday, 17 June 2018

Higher Plane Cabernet Merlot 2015

Stated as a single vineyard wine, that either is rather large or certainly planted to a fruit salad of varieties given it's actually a blend of all of the classic Bordeaux varieties with the inclusion of Malbec (6%), Cabernet Franc (5%) and Petit Verdot (1%), not just the first billed players. 

Milk-chocolate, wafer - all over a berry core. Perhaps suggestions of issues over ripeness, it’s a little lean with tomato leaf.

Delivers a spicy lick through the middle, tomato ketchup sprung to mind. Not altogether unpleasant, certainly unusual. 

Lends a freshness, if at the expense (of what I would seek in) classic Cabernet/ Merlot (and friends) blend. 90

Tasted on: Tuesday 29th May, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.higherplanewines.com.au

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Saturday, 16 June 2018

Ferngrove Diamond Chardonnay 2016

Rich and riper one here. The stone fruit is off the charts, fair assaulting the nasal cavity. Has the cream and wheat character, almost veering to a little butteryness.

Settles on the palate, lavish vanilla and spice - well handled oak. It has a latter sense of lime brulee, the citrus and cream characters blending and morphing well.

Will develop nicely over the mid-term, up to 2025. 90  

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd June, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $26
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.ferngrove.com.au

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Friday, 15 June 2018

Tuck's Ridge Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir 2016

Tuck's Ridge has recently been acquired by neighbouring Montalto Estate. Future wines will be overseen by the excellent, restless Simon Black.

Interplay of savoury with the sweet here, initially deep and and perfumed, giving way to Rosella jam. It's not jammy, just a certain aromatic sweetness my lasting aromatic impression. 

Floral, red fruit riven through the middle. Oak and fruit sweetness. It's a fuller, firmer and riper instance of Pinot Noir. Not necessarily what I'd expect from the cooler Mornington Peninsula. 

Decent length. Would benefit from a touch more subtlety, guile. 90 

Tasted on: Wednesday 6th June, a Flower day 
Source: Sample
Price: $TBC
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://tucksridge.com.au/

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Higher Plane The Messenger 2012

This blend from Margaret River (50% Cabernet Sauvignon 24% Malbec, 12% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot) offer the full range of what are considered the traditional grape varieties of Bordeaux. 

At 6 years of age, it's certainly expressive, offering a cocktail of seasoned black fruit, olive skin, cedar and a suggestion of something like anise. 

It's subtle, elegant, the tannin densely structured. It still feels a touch restrained, opening up in the glass with time. There's a floral, almost lavender feel and sense to it. Subtle, enough to make itself known without being over-bearing. 

Just has this graceful air and length to it. Excellent wine. 93 

Tasted on: Thursday 17th May, a Root to Flower day 
Source: Sample
Price: $50
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.higherplanewines.com.au

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Thursday, 14 June 2018

Huntington Estate Basket Dried Shiraz 2015

Opens with something akin to a hickory smoke. It's certainly deep, dark and resinous. Pruney, a little residual Plum - the 'Basket Dried' refers to some rack drying to concentrate the flavours. 

Given some time, it starts taking on some fortified hints, caramel and sweet fruit. 

Black depths, firm and powdery tannin. Something like licorice running in threads across the palate. Certainly packs a punch by way of the depth and intensity of flavour. 92

Tasted on: Saturday 12th May, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $75
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://huntingtonestate.com.au/

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Terre a Terre Crayeres Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Includes a small addition (5%) of Cabernet Franc. Spends 8m in French oak, 35% of which is new, it's then racked off to a 1y old foudre  (large format barrel) for 14 months.

Black olive, tobacco, sweeter perfume: lavender/ violets perhaps. Seems more full than medium, possesses a sense of darkness and feels liked its coiled.

For that depth, it is silken and the tannin is powder fine. Comes with dark chocolate, clove spice and a suggestion of fennel.

Serious Cabernet, yet my gut feel is it's still a sleeping giant. 92+

Tasted on: Saturday 12th May, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Cork
Website: https://terreaterre.com.au/

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Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Ridgemill Estate Semillon 2017

Severnlea's Ridgemill Estate joined a - slowly - growing group of winemakers producing a Semillon up on Queensland's Granite Belt region.

Here, delicate grassy and citrus overtones, perhaps even a little nettle and even kiwi fruit.

It's (winemaker) Peter McGlashan's homage to a Bordeaux blanc style, sees a little barrel ferment, lending texture and feel. Citrus is deliciously present, as is the acid - but don't come expecting the battery acid you might be familiar with from many examples.

I feel the barrel ferment could have been... longer? Certainly more pronounced (if that's the intent) 90

Tasted on: Thursday 10th May, a Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: TBA
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://ridgemillestate.com/

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Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay 2016

An exemplary Chardonnay. Need Shaw & Smith’s M3 warrant further introduction?

Carries an initial richness, a mealy golden glow that emanates from glass over well pitched stone fruit.

Well-rounded mouthful, offset against a suggestion of grapefruit zestiness and mineral. The palate carries a little of everything, weight and presence; spice and fruit. Nothing outcompeting, battling, or vying for attention. In summary: a masterclass in balance. 92

Tasted on: Wednesday 30th May
Source: Sample
Price: $46
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.shawandsmith.com

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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Terre a Terre Rosé 2017

Second released of this particular wine from the Terre á Terre team. This 2017 instance from a warmer season. The wine is made from the pressings, being Chardonnay (44%) and Pinot Noir (56%). It was racked to old French Barrels for fermentation. Small addition of Pinot Noir (50L) for additional colour, principally.

Berry aromatics, supplemented with what comes across as a dairy element. Hints of wood too, more a light seasoning. 

Packs a punch of flavour as it enters the palate. A blooming texture that spreads, freshening acidity and a length that is seemingly perpetual. Gentle phenolics only add to the appeal. It's serious Rosé, constructed, complex and composed. 93 

Tasted on: Saturday 12th May, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $32
Alcohol: 11.9%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://terreaterre.com.au/

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Ridgemill Estate Joshua's Pup Shiraz Grenache 2016

Grenache appears the dominant aromatic component here, at odds to its second billing, here leading with that robust raspberry coulis like note, bolstered by black cherry. There's a smidge of earth and oak, as if to provide a framework for supporting the aromatics. 

Nicely weighted entry, before generous black pepper spice tones make their presence known. It's an assault of flavour, tannin and a latent spike of acidity. 

Generous in length, the tannin gains in substance, growing in stature. It's a balanced combination of those elements that came before, and simply had me yearning for more. An excellent addition to the Ridgemill stable. 93 

Tasted on: Wednesday 23rd May, a Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://ridgemillestate.com/

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Monday, 11 June 2018

Higher Plane Chardonnay Forest Grove 2017

Poised, balanced, it sits just-so on the palate, at ease and with itself. A mere spread of texture, lends a little weight and width. Grapefruit acids and a squeeze of lemon deliver a delicate length, a gentle tug and pull.


Delightfully seasoned oak here on this Chardonnay from Margaret River. It's all peach skin with Vanilla seasoning on the nose and it delivers beautifully. Chardonnay this good for $25? Yes please. 91

Tasted on: Thursday 10th May, a Flower day 
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.higherplanewines.com.au

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Natural Wine Co Shiraz 2017

I find wines like this a pleasure to drink. Very easy going, no-nonsense. What they lack in complexity, they make up in sheer drinkability.

Pours a vibrant purple, not quite mega. Smells primary, raw; redolent of stems, veering to a little meatier quality. 

Soft and supple, fairly minimal extraction of flavour and tannin. Plum, blackberry, and subtle spice hints. All up its an approachable, medium bodied wine. 87 

Tasted on: Tuesday 8th May, a Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 14.2%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.natural-wine-co.com/

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Sunday, 10 June 2018

Margan Shiraz 2016

Chocolate and nutty oak with residual hints of black fruit sitting within. 


Rich and ripe style. The chocolate and plummy fruit sit squarely at the heart of the wine. It's just that medium almost veering to full of body, a touch of earth and just there acidity. 

Nicely balanced Hunter Shiraz that offers a little of everything. 90

Tasted on: Friday 4th May, Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.margan.com.au

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Turkey Flat Rosé 2017

Long sold out ex-winery, you can still find this kicking around the retail circuit at/about the $20 mark.

Dusky red Berry deliciousness here, sprinkle of spice in the background. Creaminess oozes across the palate, the red Berry fruit makes its presence known. 

Dry and crisp, delicate acidity, all on a good length. Certainly different to how I recall. Snappier, smarter, sharper. 92  

Tasted on: Saturday 12th May, a Leaf day
Source: Retail, Black Sheep Bottle Shop
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.turkeyflat.com.au

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Saturday, 9 June 2018

The Natural Wine Co Rosé 2017

Summer accents are evident here. It's easy to consider Rosé simply a 'Summer' drink; lazy too I'd add - particularly in my home of Brisbane where daytime Winter temps clock in to the low 20s.

But, for many, it is. And certainly where strawberry and rose scents are as evident here. 

Crisp and clippy across the palate. Offers a mix of fruit, with savoury edges. On a good length, again dry, giving. 89 

Tasted on: Thursday 3rd May, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.natural-wine-co.com/

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Friday, 8 June 2018

Higher Plane Fiano 2017

Oozes fresh pear, uncertain as to whether that's Beurre Bosc or William. What's a variety between friends and grapes? There's some supplementary spice sitting in the background. 

Generous texture across the breadth of the palate. A balanced mix of pear, citrus, a pinch of zest and spice. For all that fruit afore it, it's essentially a dry wine with a savoury bent, delivered on a generous length. 91 

Tasted on: Wednesday 2nd May, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.higherplanewines.com.au

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Wirra Wirra Woodhenge Shiraz 2016

Robust Shiraz from McLaren Vale, as solid as Trott's 'Woodhenge', except this is fruit driven rather than wood. 

It carries the McLaren Vale signature, writ-large: all black fruit and heady and earthen lines. Full, chewy palate, black fruit in abundance, twists of licorice, the double helix of its DNA. Tannin is barely there, well meshed into the very fabric of this wine's being. 90

Tasted on: Sunday 29th April, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $35
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.wirrawirra.com

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Thursday, 7 June 2018

Margan Tempranillo Graciano Shiraz 2016

Dark and perhaps a little dank. Wood and woody spice, a suggestion of forest floor.

Palate at odds to this, softer and rather more sensuous. Fruit accents, lending a rounder profile through the middle. Lacks a little definition, not altogether unsurprising given the unusual cepage. 

Good as a, something fruitier, mid-week offering. Though perhaps I personally consider $40 is rather an ask. 89

Tasted on: Monday 16th April, Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.margan.com.au

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Toolangi Chardonnay 2016

I like Toolangi's MO, namely - as I see it - to look after the fruit and then to contract the best winemakers across the Yarra region to make the best wine out of it. 

It evokes a golden aura and aroma, creamy and wheaten. There's grilled stonefruit with, what's like, a dribble of flax oil across it, subtle Vanilla oak tops it off. Fuller figured, it has a good spread - fair oozing across the palate. 

It's matched with a good line of acidity and feint minerality. The Vanilla adds its signature through the final third. Well executed balanced wine, just delivers and judiciously handled. 91 

Tasted on: Sunday 29th April, a Root to Flower day 
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.toolangi.com/

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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Toppers Mountain Bricolage Blanc 2015

A blend of Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Petit Manseng, Sauvignon Blanc.

A little muskiness, Nashi pear, beurre bosc, citrus nuances, golden notes, suggestion of thyme, perhaps, the Gewürztraminer leading this one. 


Marries texture to acidity, flesh and bones. Stonefruit, more pear and citrus. Good presence about it, perhaps you'd say complex - with an inviting simplicity. Good wine, if perhaps the driving length and composure to make it great. 90

Tasted on: Wednesday 7th March, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://toppers.com.au/

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Tapanappa Cabernet Shiraz 2014

Lots of new French oak, 90% in fact. It's 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance being 15% Shiraz. 
Tobacco, cassis, oak; rich and ripe - sense of fullness to the body, brooding and of impressive stature.

That said, it feels light on entry, with spice, wood, tobacco, black olive and a milky chocolate element. 92  

Tasted on: Sunday 15th April, a Leaf day 
Source: Sample
Price: $55
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Cork
Website: https://tapanappa.com.au/

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Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Ferngrove Independence Shiraz 2017

[with a touch of Pinot Noir]

Mash of black fruit, briary/hedgerow, a mere suggestion of stemmy funkiness. Sweeter accents of entry, blackcurrant pastilles and hints of cherry. Pretty solid, fine rub of tannin. 

Solid drinking proposition. 89 

Tasted on: Friday 1st June, a Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $23
Alcohol: 14.1%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.ferngrove.com.au

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Monday, 4 June 2018

Huntington Estate Chardonnay 2017

Peach and a smattering of cantaloupe melon lead this one out of the glass. Smells a little ‘green’, over a golden edge - yes I do believe that colour smells.

Nice weight, presence on entry; golden, creamy almost treacly in aspects. Doesn’t carry the conviction of better Chardonnay and more than a glass was a bit of a task.


Needs some time to settle. 88 

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd June, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 13.1%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://huntingtonestate.com.au/

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Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard 1.5m Chardonnay 2016

Despite, in-spite, because of - who knows - this coming from a vintage that challenged, one that Brian Croser commented as: "uncharted territory for me even after 47 vintages”; this is exquisite Chardonnay. The Tiers has, rightly, established itself as one of (if not the) greatest Australian Chardonnay vineyard. 

Delicate, and leading with a mix of fig and roasted nut character, and an oh-so delicate level of struck match character. A seasoning, rather than leading player.

The palate lends more of a creamy citrus, oak-kissed, with more a creamy hazelnut bent to it. Citrus cuts and thrusts through the length of the wine, for all its probing it just delivers a generous length of flavour. 93+ 

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd June, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $55
Alcohol: 13.8%
Closure: Screwcap 
Website: https://tapanappa.com.au/

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