An Australian Wine Blog

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Killerby Foundations Chardonnay 2017

Killerby is owned by Ferngrove winery, and whereas the owner produces great wines down in Great Southern, Killerby is a Margaret River focussed producer with a cellar door in Wilyabrup on the prime Caves Road.

Stonefruit, wafer oak, fig, somewhat delicate aromas - no bad thing in Chardonnay!

Spiced, creamy French oak, elements of Vanilla. Fine-bone acidity with a suggestion of textural width through lees stirring. Complexity here, contrast to the aromatic delicacy: stonefruit, lime, perhaps some ginger spice indicative of some barrel ferment character. 90 

Tasted on: Sunday 14th October 
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.killerby.com.au

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Pizzini Prosecco 2018

Quince and bruised apple aromatics, melon, a hint of baked tart - rather slightly browning pastry.

Delicate zip, fine minerality - unlike many Prosecco it has a gentle tickle of petillence rather than the aggressive and voluminous bubbles.

Second taste, a line of citrus acidity, possessive of a good tickle across the palate. 89

Tasted on: Saturday 3rd November 
Source: Sample
Price: $21.50
Alcohol: 11.5%
Closure: Crown Seal
Website: https://www.pizzini.com.au

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Shaw Vineyard Estate Winemakers Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Bright and vibrant intro, all blue fruit and leaf at its heart. There's a drying, dusty element sitting, lurking in the background.

Smoothly medium bodied. The palate is a little off, the silken body somewhat offsetting it. Lacking a little in flavour - particularly compared to the intro. Reasonable, given the ask 87 

Tasted on: Friday 12th October 
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://shawvineyards.com.au

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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2016

Rich, chocolatey, a malty edge framing the wine. Oak on display, handled somewhat sensitively.

Unwilling to release the wine that it has nurtured through its formative years. A powerhouse, having a compelling presence: oak, spice - pepper in the main. 

Its tannin structure is forceful, the sudden onset reminding this is a wine of substance - and not for now. Possessing the structure to last, there's a slight flash of warmth, minor, from a generous vintage. The finish though, seemingly perpetual. 93

Tasted on: Saturday 8th December 
Source: Sample
Price: $75
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.darenberg.com.au/

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Superfly Shiraz 2018

Solid youthful Barossan Shiraz, in a very modern vogue.

Caught something like a peanut brittle (?) aroma here, black fruit pastille, barest twist of black pepper. Fruits of the forest jam, medium bodied. Good freshness. 

Tannin and spice wrapped in a tandem drive through the palate. Good definition, length. Persistence and sustaining length. 90 

Tasted on: Tuesday 30th October 
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://rock-of-wisdom.myshopify.com

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Heartland Directors' Cut Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Compared with the Shiraz, this Cabernet conveys itself more varietal. It's tobacco, bay and chocolate - less of the immediate oak. 

More assured, medium veering to full bodied. Deep set black fruit, Mulberry and plum. The oak is evident here, robust, loses a little definition. Certainly assertive in flavour; firm and long on the finish. 91 

Tasted on: Sunday 14th October 
Source: Sample
Price: $33
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://heartlandwines.com.au

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Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Ballycroft Small Berry Shiraz French Oak 2015

Unusually gave this a good decant hour or two before opening. 

Remnants of toasty oak, deep and rich - honouring the Greenock terroir. Mulberry and plum, suggestion of aniseed.

Palate is more of the same, rich and luscious. The fruit is present, lavish in its presence. Generous length here. 92 

Tasted on: Sunday 14th October 
Source: Sample
Price: $47
Alcohol: 15.3%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.ballycroft.com/

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Monday, 10 December 2018

Silkwood Estate The Walcott Cabernet Malbec 2015

Not the best release, bretty, giving the appearance of raw and untreated wood. Palate-wise, it's a silken slip of a thing, pitched seasoning - cedar and black pepper, freshly milled. 

Black, briar fruit, violets. Tannin is fine, Just the issues with the aroma. 84 

Tasted on: Wednesday 31st October 
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.silkwoodestate.com.au/

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Sunday, 9 December 2018

Rock of Wisdom Grenache 2017

The current trend towards making Grenache, in what I consider a less is more approach, is seemingly reaping dividends for the variety. Whilst that is anecdotal, at best, purely from a personal perspective the examples that cross the bench seem to allow the variety to shine and express themselves, free of the shackles of oak and, to a different degree, hang-time on the vine.

Here, whilst still clocking in at a more than respectable 14.5%, the berry and hibiscus notes flourish and emanate from glass. Background spice lurks, in the spectrum of what can broadly be considered ‘brown’ spice - descriptive, I know.

The palate has that succulence, and light-handedness, again very much in the modern vogue of Australian Grenache. Powdery and crunchy tannin blossoms further in the mouth, adding volume, substance and length to the wine. 

Acting as a vehicle for the carriage of flavour, savoury with with a fruit tinged outer. It’s a deceptive wine, in that whilst it may not have the substance, structure or weight of other examples, the indicative quality of fruit and resultant wine is expressed manifestly in generous length. 91

Tasted on: Thursday 1st November
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://rock-of-wisdom.myshopify.com

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Thursday, 6 December 2018

Terre à Terre Crayères Vineyard Reserve 2015

You could sense it coming. The increasing brand presence, confidence, and consistency. A premium release was surely always on the cards given the pedigree across the range and for quite some time now.

Here, subtle black fruit and aniseed twists on offer. For me, the magic happens on the palate, an exquisitely honed palate with fine-grained tannin. You'd like to say it leads a charge, except it seems to confidently saunter and gently flow.  

For a Cabernet dominant - being Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Shiraz (20%) and Cabernet Franc (20%) - wine it's a gentle slip of a thing, with a structure that assertively reveals its class. Superb. 94 

Tasted on: Saturday 6th October 
Source: Sample
Price: $110
Alcohol: 14.4%
Closure: Cork
Website: https://terreaterre.com.au

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Tuck's Ridge Turramurra Chardonnay 2016

It will be interesting to see where these wines are taken to, given the acquisition of the brand and vineyards by Montalto, and the intention for Grape tinkerer Simon Black to take on winemaking duties.

For now, these 2016 releases under the Tuck's Ridge brand remain poles apart from the Montalto Chardonnay under that label. Buttery, rich, creamed corn almost - regardless, heavy on the dairy. 

The palate, lavish with minerally, flinty hints sitting in the background. There are elements of stonefruit and a little citrus, yet seemingly the winemaker's hand has done all it can to show itself, rather than the fruit. 89

Tasted on: Saturday 24th November 
Source: Sample
Price: $50
Alcohol: 13.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://tucksridge.com.au/

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d'Arenberg Stephanie The Gnome with Rose Tinted Spectacles 2018

Perhaps Stephanie might like to get her eyes tested, pouring as much like a light red, than a Rosé. Berry accents on pour: strawberry, raspberry and a little toffee apple.

Cherry adds a play on the palate, it's fruity - not sweet mind - playful, and has enough about it in width and weight to keep things interesting - aided by fruit-driven length. Playful little - she is a gnome after all - minx. 89

Tasted on: Sunday 25th November 
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.darenberg.com.au

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Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The Natural Wine Co. Shiraz 2018

Their website could do with a little SEO.

Fresh, raw, touch of blood and bone. There's fruit at the periphery, Mulberry and blackcurrant. There's violets, with spice - it's savoury, yeasty.

Soft, plush, touch of iodine. It's an easy going 'soif' style red. Product of its youth and vintage, tannin is barely a thought - a minor rasp at best.

Faint edge of anise, licorice, gentley ebbing to a finish. 88

Tasted on: Wednesday 28th November 
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 14.5% 
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.natural-wine-co.com/

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Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Tapanappa Tiers Chardonnay 2017

Beautiful vanilla and creme French oak here. Sits over the top of some perfectly ripe stonefruit. 

Toasty, spicy oak greets you and runs long on the palate. A spine of precise acidity its focal point, as if guided by laser.

That's probably best how to sum it up: exquisite, precise and unforced. Top tier (pun somewhat intentional) Chardonnay. 95 

Tasted on: Saturday 6th October 
Source: Sample
Price: $90
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://tapanappa.com.au

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St Hugo Shiraz 2015

St Hugo's way, lead with the oak (and it's French, all 70% of it). 

It's a marker, a house style if you wish. Blackcurrant, Plum, the vanillin oak - there, again. Black. Fruit and sweet oak remnants, singular and solid. Whether that oak settles into itself remains to be seen. 90+

Tasted on: Friday 5th October 
Source: Sample
Price: $54.99
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.sthugo.com

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Margan Aged Release Semillon 2013

Sitting there, reserved, the wine equivalent of arms and legs folded. Sullen. Hints, perhaps, of citrus and grass. Rock melon, maybe. 

The palate, livelier. There's a minerality, a tingle across the palate, a drying pucker. Freshening acidity - you get the impression it still has much to yield. 


At this early (ignore the fact it's 5) juncture it's hard to say. 91+ 

Tasted on: Friday 5th October 
Source: Sample
Price: $50
Alcohol: 11%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.margan.com.au

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Monday, 3 December 2018

Brand's Laira Blockers Chardonnay 2017

Cannot immediately recall too many Coonawarra Chardonnay across the bench. Perhaps Katnook and Hollick being those prompt some instant recall.

Here, Brand's Laira, part of the ever growing Casella stable, offers up a Chardonnay that's heavy set, oak and a creamy custard-vanilla frame dominate. 

The palate, chewy with remnants of citrusy acidity. Pulls a little short. Fair try. 86 

Tasted on: Friday 5th October 
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Srewcap
Website: www.brandslaira.com

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Cook's Lot Cabernet Merlot 2016

Cabernet in the cooler margins, with some assistance from old mate Merlot. Softer, almost mellifluous manner, yet tannins are somewhat firmer than that might suggest. 

It comes across as more like a milk chocolate, mocha, with cedar, mint and a touch of tobacco. Beyond the tannin it finishes well - if a touch narrow. 89 

Tasted on: Thursday 4th October 
Source: Sample
Price: $
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.cookslot.com.au

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Saturday, 1 December 2018

Shaw + Smith Shiraz 2016

The unison of the earth and the flowers that grow in, spicey a hint of meatiness - whole bunch evident - combiner floral aspects: rose hip, hibiscus.

Lighter touch on entry, a fine-grain of mouth coating, powdery tannin. Gives length, stature and volume. Freshening acidity brings the wine home, paradoxically racing to a gentle conclusion 92 

Tasted on: Saturday 17th November 
Source: Sample
Price: $49
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.shawandsmith.com

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Liv Zak Syrah 2016

Liv Zak is a second label, of sorts, for COldstream (Yarra Valley) based Warramunda Estate.

Brambley mix of fruit, spice, suggestion of whole bunch. Invitingly fresh and vibrant, fruit at its core with a savoury frame. 

Feels slick, polished, a veneer of glossy black fruit with aniseed and black pepper twists. Sensuous and easy going, yet with enough gravitas to elevate it to more than a thirst quencher. 91  

Tasted on: Wednesday 28th November 
Source: Sample
Price: $35
Alcohol: 13.6%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://warramundaestate.com.au

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Silkwood Estate The Bowers Shiraz 2015

Deep and robust Shiraz from Silkwood Estate of Pemberton, in Western Australia's South-East. 

Plums, a meaty - almost gamey - edge, gives it a firm and deep profile. Hints of pencil shaving, cloven spice and pepper add to the depth and allure. 

Light and supple, at odds to the aromatic depths it charts, a feint minerality. Freshness by way of Satsuma Plum. 89 

Tasted on: Saturday 24th November 
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.silkwoodestate.com.au

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