This fantastic Merlot from the boutique Gartelmann Hunter Valley winemaker is sourced from cool climate high altitude vineyards in Mudgee and named after owner Jan Gartelmann's grandson Joey. Joey should be proud of his grandmother over this Merlot as it ticks all the wine boxes for me bigtime. Deep purple, it is just bursting with fruit as you swirl the glass. Pure plums, black cherries and blackberries come leaping out. Juicy sweet ripe deep but not overdone in any way - balanced and poised are the words. The time through aging so far has served it really and has allowed the oak and fruit to work their magic together. The alcohol is high but not noticeable in any negative way. The velvety fruit finish just rewards at every level here through really good integration, smooth seamless classic Merlot flavours, smooth tannins and a sweet ripe extended finish that has just right acidity to make it a beautiful drinking experience. Has a few good years to develop in it but seriously I think you will struggle to put some bottles away for cellaring once you try the first bottle now!
Drink with Korean fried chicken.
About $30. Alc 15.3%. Drink to 2022. 97/100 - Exceptional.
This is a superb Cabernet! I thoroughly enjoyed it and it just goes to show how good McLaren Vale is at not just Shiraz but also Cabernet. This is still a baby coloured youthful purple, auguring for a great future. However it is its completeness, seamlessness, deliciousness and balance that will impress you through the drinking experience. Intense, ripe, fruit sweet and again I repeat still in its early days of youth, the aromas reward. They are fresh and yet layered and complex in their delivery. You get your blackcurrants, blackberries, coffee, cherry ripe mint, spice and an inherent earthiness all coming through and onto the palate the seamless velvety smooth longness in finish. It has also had a splash of Cab Franc added which gives it complexity. The wine is well oaked, has had 18 months of cellaring that makes it drinking now very viable, has its alcohol in check and delivers integrated silky fine tannins for more development into the future. It has at least 5-7 years easily and is bargain priced IMO. Drink this with Spanish seafood stew.
Drink to 2026 plus. About $25. Alc 14%. 95/100 - Superb.
16 June 2019
Robert Stein Mudgee Reserve Shiraz 2014 I did a double take on the vintage of this one as this 100% Single Vineyard Shiraz from the Robert Stein Reserve stable of wine comes across as so youthful still even after 5 years! A glorious deep purple you get intensity and ripeness and a freshness exuding from this slowly developing Shiraz. This wine says keeper all over it from beginning to end. Classic blackberries, spicy plums, cherries, fruit fruit and more fruit, not dense nor overly sweet indeed quite classy and elegant. A hint of earthiness and spice add to its complexity. A refined palate ensues with well integrated tannins, silky ones at that. The oak is there noticeable but not sticking out in any way. A medium fruit focused delicious finish shows off the wine's future potential beautifully. Drink it now if you must but please do put a few bottles aside for later. Try this with oven roasted Italian pork and fennel sausages, roast potatoes, sauteed peas and pancetta and some eggplant parmigiana.
About $50. Alc 14.5%. Drink to 2029. 93/100 - Excellent. 27 April 2019
Robert Stein Mudgee Reserve Chardonnay 2017
This is a quality single vineyard Chardonnay. Handpicked, 50% French oak and a small bit of malo, Jacob Stein the winemaker has certainly given this the works. A lovely youthful pale straw. Fresh and vibrant are my first impressions. The aromas, are classic - think lush citrus, fresh fig, tropical fruits such as melon and passionfruit. Lightly spiced. A smooth well integrated Chardonnay follows. The fruit is seamless, almost velvety luscious smooth and long. Delightful drinking, effortless down the throat. Bring me more it says. The melon dominates nicely on the finish. You might think all this fruit detracts a little from a structural perspective but this is an elegant classy Chardonnay overall. It is really well put together, again I use the word seamless in my notes and that reflects the synchronicity of the fruit and the long lovely mouthfeel and finish. A very nice special occasion wine. Try this with panfried lobster tails.
Alc 13.0%. Drink to 2022. About $40. 94/100 - Excellent.
Castle Rock Estate Diletti Chardonnay 2017
The usual Saturday tasting bench has me tasting a standard measure of this West Australian Chardonnay. However before long the glass is filled right up as I enjoy this wine as part of my Saturday lunch. That in itself should be enough of an endorsement for you to tell how much I enjoyed drinking this Chardonnay made by Rob Diletti. The Chardonnay is from the cool climate Porongurup Ranges in the Great Southern region of Western Australia and it is quite deservedly the winery's flagship Chardonnay. A light pale yellow youthfulness in colour, the aromas are classic citrus dominated, fresh and lush and vibrant. Lemons, apples and oranges shine through. The nose is lifted, quite pronounced, not overly sharp but does its job well in announcing the positive fruit in the glass. The palate however is softer and smooth. The acidity as implied is not sharp but actually quite soft and rounded resulting in the marriage of the fruit and oak being well integrated and producing a long smooth finish with plenty of citrus and some lovely honey melon. At its price it is value drinking and it is also a wine for all occasions. If I were you I would drink this in the next 2-3 years. I in turn will be finishing this off in a much much shorter period of time. Try it with oven baked barramundi.
Alc 12%. Drink to 2021/2. About $30. 95/100 - Superb.
This is unmistakenably 100% McLaren Vale Shiraz. This is a big bold shameless Aussie shiraz. Glorious ink staining deep cherry purple hues. The aromas oozing from the glass are classic McLaren Vale The nose is intense, quite complex and has a lot going on. Strong berry and good solid milk chocolate flavours come to the fore and remain there for ages. Hints of tobacco, classic elements of red earthiness, lots of spice follow in what is a full bodied fruit driven red. There is good alcohol here at 14.5%, noticeable but not distracting, plenty of heavy red and black fruit and solid French and American oak working its way through it all. The palate is solid and chewy, well integrated delivering blackberries, spicy plums, cherries and yes of courrse plenty of chocolate. The smoothness coupled with the length of finish makes it delicious drinking now, developing and with the silky tannins to keep delivering for quite a few years yet. It is a very good cooler weather red that demands to be paired with food, good solid wholesome home cooking. I am thinking of a slow cooked beef stew with parmesan dumplings.