An Australian Wine Blog

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Out of Step Wine Co. Lone Star Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Lone Star sits directly opposite the famed Lusatia Park VY, atop yellow duplex clay (aka grey soils) at an elevation of 225m.

Opens with something like a creamed asparagus note, sitting over a tropical fruit and pcitrus base that adds freshness and vitality to that. 

Minerally, with drive a fine spine - almost skeletal and nervy. More at that citrus vein, edgy and with an acidic taughtness that runs like a zip wire through its length. 

It concludes on what I am best to suggest is a flinty. Persistence personified. Yet for all that seemingly perpetual energy, it's fine in its presentation. 92 

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

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Dub Style Mataro No.1 2015

"Rocker to rocker, raver to raver

Turn up the bass why don't you do us all a favour
Rocker to rocker, raver to raver
Turn up the bass why don't you do us all a favour"

~ Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Dub, Apollo440

Except, well, I am. Dub Style.

If Inkwell wines are the album cut live, made from single vineyards without addition, then Dub Style are the remixes, not necessarily tricked up, but where the producer employs the nuances of the trade at the mixing desk.

From the winery: "aged for 15 months in neutral french oak hogheads, these barrels were selected for the purity of expression of the variety and because they were just juicy goodness that had to be bottled".

Immediately savoury, nutty - with those deep black fruit notes resonating like a signature bass line. 

Fine and glossy on entry, as good wines do, straddles that fine line between light and juicy, with a chewy-fudge edge. Fine tannins supplement these qualities and flow on, bringing on their journey coffee grounds, licorice...And just when you think you're done, there that hazel/walnut thing happening again. 

Superb. And that it's well packaged is a further addition. 91

Tasted on: Thursday 26th July, a Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.dubstylewines.com/

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Monday, 30 July 2018

d'Arenberg Sticks n Stones 2014

An odd blend, fusing some of the best the Iberian Peninsula has to offer, being formed of Tempranillo (37%), Grenache (36%), Souzao (25%), Tinta Cao (2%).

Has on offer a curious combination of the dark sullen nature that Tempranillo and Grenache sometimes bring to the party, yet elevated by the floral elements that Tinta Cao and Souzao (better known as Port varieties) themselves bring. 

Light on entry, fine-grained tannins, on a decent length. 89 

Tasted on: Sunday 24th June, a Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $29
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://darenberg.com.au/

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Friday, 27 July 2018

Montalto Teurong Block Pinot Noir 2016

Fruit drawn off of the Springborn Lakes VY, at 30m elevation on Port Philip Bay side of the Peninsula, with 230doz made. 

At that lower elevation, and with warmer winds drawing over the bay, this is a riper site that takes to inclusion of whole bunch in the fermentation.

Kirsch, bramble red fruit, spice is making an appearance on the aromatics, latterly floral aspects start to appear. 

Took just a moment to open up, revealing a complex array of flavour and feeling. Maraschino cherry, veering to a little baked Plum. There's a raft of baking spice in the frame too. 

Suggestion of tannin, initially fine then bolstered and growing in stature, carrying the fruit in a crescendo across the palate. It's a wine that one could wax lyrical over. A fine release. 94 

Tasted on: Sunday 22nd July, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $70
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://montalto.com.au/

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d'Arenberg The Bonsai Vine GSM 2016

In part opened in reference to a recent trip to Japan, in part due to the fact that Grenache is one of Chester Osborne's "love children". 

It initially speaks of a little bunch character, of caramelisation. Red fruits, tilled earth, floral hints giving lift and a lighter air. The palate is juicier, relative crunch with a delicate tannic presence. 91 

Tasted on: Saturday 23rd June, a Flower day 
Source: Sample
Price: $29
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.darenberg.com.au

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Thursday, 26 July 2018

Ferngrove White Label Cabernet Merlot 2016

Offers a mix of brightish red fruit against some darker spice, clove and pepper and the like. 

It’s chewy with a hint of leafy bitterness through the middle, which gives length when perhaps least expected. Drinks well given the ask. 87

Tasted on: Wednesday 13th June, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $16
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.ferngrove.com.au

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Yelland & Papps Devote Greenock Shiraz 2016

Classically proportioned Barossan Shiraz that lures, equally, the unwary and the enlightened. It's your typical oak-kissed riot of red fruit, riper in manifestation with what appears to be a coffee and vanilla bean accent.

Not for the faint-hearted, certainly if you've become used to lighter, savoury nuanced examples such as Y&P's own Second Take range [notes]. 

It carries itself with a silken finesse, a hallmark of the Y&P style. There's a fair amount of substance: something like a smokey balsamic reduction, graced with hits of baking spice. 

Feels somewhat remiss to not wax lyrical about the fruit presence that seamlessly and effortlessly glides to a conclusion. Top drawer. 93 

Tasted on: Wednesday 25th July, a Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 13.6%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yellandandpapps.com/

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Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Juniper Crossing Cabernet Merlot 2016

Simple, supple and juicy blend of Margaret River stalwarts, Cabernet and Merlot. May not shout particularly of place nor blend, but if you're looking for what may be considered an easy-going Berry-centric red, then this would be a go to. 

There are elements of spice present, just adding a little seasoning and depth. I'd consider pairing this with ratatouille and [insert protein of choice]; or perhaps some variation on a bolognese. 

Decent length on offer. Simple pleasures. 89  

Tasted on: Tuesday 12th June, a Fruit to Root day 
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.juniperestate.com.au

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Chateau Yaldara Foundations Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Classic Hills Sauvignon Blanc, more of the aromatic Gooseberry up front here - the aromatic lure, so to speak.

The palate offers up a citrus lead profile: lemon, grapefruit, with a zestiness that further enlivens. There's a phenolic hint that adds to a further sense of depth. 91

Tasted on: Sunday 22nd June
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://1847wines.com/

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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Alkoomi Frankland River Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Feint aromatics here, certainly not the pungent and overt herbaceous style. Instead there's a little glacé pineapple and a mere suggestion of lemongrass.

Lime, lemongrass and more tropical fruit lay a swathe across the palate. There's a citrus suggestion via some lemon barley character. Again, not the most pronounced of flavours - a positive given the variety. 90

Tasted on: Sunday 22nd July
Source: Sample
Price: $24
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.alkoomiwines.com.au/

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Mitchell Sevenhill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Even at eight years old this is still throwing a fair whack of fruit here. The requisite black fruits that one might expect from a Cabernet are present and correct. 

That this comes from a good vintage and from a good vintage for Clare reds is noted, that the winery is retailing this for under $30 as an eight year old is all the more remarkable.

There’s an elegance here, in that fine framed manner. Delicate tannin is married perfectly to lingering remnants of fruit.

More of that blackcurrant pastille brings proceedings home. Excellent wine. 92 

Tasted on: Saturday 9th June, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.mitchellwines.com

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Monday, 23 July 2018

Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Carries a little of the grass and herbaceous character married to a little pear drop character.

Clean and crisp, with snap to attention acidity. It's tropical fruit nature, married to lime and lemongrass, adds to the sense of enjoyment, elevating it from the mundane Sauv that is plentiful on the shelves of bottleshops across the land.

Tasted on: Sunday 22nd July
Source: Sample
Price: $27
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.shawandsmith.com/

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d'Arenberg The Derelict Vineyard Grenache 2014

Derelicte! 

Something about this just makes me think of Zoolander. 

Derelicte! 


Anyway, to the wine one supposes, it's a riot of fruit - fairly ripe, and sugar crusted. As I imagine. Towards the fuller spectrum. 

The palate is somewhat looser in construct, light and airy in presentation, a contrast to the palate. Open. Weave, fine tannin, dense and dark. 

Reminds more of a Southern Rhone representation on this showing. Observation. Nothing else. 90 

Tasted on: Friday 29th June, a Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $29
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.darenberg.com.au

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Sunday, 22 July 2018

Riversdale Estate Musca Syrah 2015

Laden with red fruit, it smells at once both fresh and also carrying a little undertow of sour fruit, a little like a bloody mary meets a beetroot sour. Hints of whole bunch inclusion with savoury elements adding to the aromatic profile.

Fine, silken and medium bodied wine. Fine tannic profile with spice and pepper bolstering the final third. It's a wine that grows in stature through the palate, giving length and generosity. 90

Tasted on: Friday 20th July, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $
Alcohol: 12.9%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://riversdaleestate.com.au/

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Friday, 20 July 2018

Bremerton Betty & Lu Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Unmistakable Sauvignon Blanc, at least the overt and pungent aromas that can afflict the variety have been tempered somewhat here, more in the way of green capsicum with the requisite gooseberry.

Clean, crisp and balanced. Fans of the variety will be more than happy here. 90

Tasted on: Tuesday 17th July, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $17
Alcohol: 11%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.bremerton.com.au/

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Thursday, 19 July 2018

Shottesbrook Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Classic Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc, an aromatic riot of the gooseberry, grassiness - both meeting sweeter accents via a little blackcurrant leaf and passionfruit.

Crispness and freshness, bolstered by tropical fruit. Has a bit about it and some. Solid Hills Savvy for $20, if that's your bag.

Tasted on: Tuesday 17th July, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $19.99
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.shottesbrooke.com.au

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Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Shaw Vineyard Estate Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Found an overlooked stash of samples in the downstairs fridge. Poor logistics, no-one but myself to blame here.

Sem/ Sauv here with a few years on it. Aromatically it's all lemon/lime citrus, veering toward a pineapple and honeyed note.

Palate wise, there remains a tension between acid and fruit, against a chalky texture that pulls things up a little short. 86.

Tasted on: Tuesday 17th July, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: shawvineyards.com.au

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St Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Deep, rich; tobacco leaf, coffee bean and mocha. Deep and heady concoction, certainly classy Cabernet, if not necessarily Coonawarra. 

Leaf, fine tickle of tannin across the palate. A lightness on entry, that balloons and somewhat grows in stature and presence. Violets, a mere suggestion of blackcurrant.

More savoury than fruity, classically structured. 92

Tasted on: Saturday 7th July, Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $54.99
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.sthugo.com

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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

d'Arenberg Custodian Grenache 2015

This is a Grenache in the firmer, riper mould. There's a crush of red fruit on offer,
raspberry in the main with a little cranberry softness around the periphery. 

Soft, a plushness, suppleness and roundness to the wine. Tannin is powdery, crunchy with a gentle reach. It's a thicker,  chewier manifestation of the variety. Solid - superb value. 90 

Tasted on: Saturday 7th July, Leaf to Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.darenberg.com.au

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Monday, 16 July 2018

Edenflo Eden Valley Syrah 2017

Three samples from Andrew Wardlaw rocked up on the doorstep unannounced, and some wines - just as guests are - are more welcome than others!

Andrew has a background in viticulture - starting out his career at Henschke as Prue Henschke's trainee; citing both Dom Torzi and Alex Head as mentors, pretty good company if you ask me.

Bright, pretty perfume on offer here - it's a coming together of floral and the fruit, the former being violets, the latter more in the blue/black fruit realm of black currant and mulberry.

Light, lithe and supple on entry - before the wine takes on a darker, almost meatier bent through the middle. Jeez it's got generosity writ large across the palate.

Peppery, spicy - it's quite remarkable that, for all its flavour it still has this delightful mid-weight presence. Excellent balance, presence and yes: flow. Sorry, I couldn't resist. 92

Tasted on: Friday 13th July, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $26
Alcohol: 13.8%
Closure: Cork
Website: TBC

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Saturday, 14 July 2018

Toolangi Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2016

Following on from the 2015 [Review] and still contract made by Yering Station's Willy Lunn.

It's a pleasure to stick the olfactory organ into the glass with this. As per previous reviews, it's really about the primacy of fruit, square and centre: sour cherry, blackberry, a suggestion of wild strawberry - all with this underlying savoury bent.

The palate is gorgeously mid-weight, meshing together bright and juicy fruit, a little prickle of acidity to alert the senses further. Fine tannin adds another dimension.

Good drinking, a minor quibble over a minor bitterness and the prickly acidity first up. 91

Tasted on: Friday 13th July, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: 13.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.toolangi.com/

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Friday, 13 July 2018

Yelland & Papps Divine Shiraz 2014


Comes off a Greenock vineyard planted in the early 60s; 1076 bottles produced (bottle #1009). Pretty hands-off in the winery, a small percentage (18%) of new French oak, seasoning, for 27 months before being bottled, both unfiltered and unfined.
Deeper representation of the variety, compared to the vogue and certainly within the portfolio. 

Yet for that depth, it carries the lighter red fruit elements of plum, veering toward a little cassis; it's spice tinged with cinnamon and clove. Lighter blue fruit elements start to shine, as it slowly unfurls. 

The elegance of the fruit shines, a stark contrast to its inherent depths. Haunting, it clings to the very recesses of the palate and lingers, long, in the memory. 94

Tasted on: Saturday 7th July, Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $115
Alcohol: 13.1%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yellandandpapps.com/

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Thursday, 5 July 2018

Mitchell Peppertree Vineyard Shiraz 2014

At four years old it presents a position of elegance and freshness. There’s a hint of gum leaf that can often be seen if Clare Valley reds, not overpowering, rather it lends a freshness.

Cool and composed on the palate, that gummy/ mintiness is further evident. Straddled with blue/black fruit in the plum and blackcurrant spectrum. 

Restrained, with fine tannin on a good length. Goes well now and will reward over the next 5-8 years. 91 

Tasted on: Saturday 9th June, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $26
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.mitchellwines.com

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Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Mr Riggs Scarce Earth Shiraz 2014

I've not heard so much of McLaren Vale's much vaunted 'Scarce Earth' initiative of late. This bottle here carrying that mark simply around the neck foil. 

Upon enquiring the same of the twitter I subsequently learned that the initiative has been pulled, with no planned replacement. A shame in my opinion, it had been excellent in exploring geological differences and subtleties within the region and highlighting that through single block-level wines.

This Shiraz comes from Ben Riggs’ ‘Burnt Block’ from the wonderfully named Piebald Gully Vineyard, up in the Clarendon sub-region of McLaren Vale.

Presents itself as a dense brew, chocolate and maltiness lingering; suggestive of figginess and a little violet, blackcurrant and mint patty.


Whilst it possesses depth and intensity on entry, it's lighter in how it actually sits on the palate. Has a latent sweetness afore chewy and powdery tannins present themselves, flows gently and with a sense ease. Sure to win over many 92 

Tasted on: Tuesday 12th June, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $50
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: DIAM
Website: http://www.mrriggs.com.au/

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