Kim Crawford Marlborough Pinot Gris 2020
A youthful vibrant fresh and stunningly aromatic New Zealand white wine.
Pale straw in colour, you can see the purity of the wine from the first moment. The nose is full of lifted tropical fruits and a variety of enticing spices. Classic pineapple, mango, lychees then very nice ripe pears all make you anticipate the good stuff to follow.
Good refreshing acidity supports the fruit, providing a nice balance and a good overall body to it. It has the fruit and the substance to make it appealing on lots of levels. A delicious luscious well rounded moreish white wine for those that enjoy fruit driven flavour in their wine.
Try it with grilled lamb koftas.
About $22. Alc 13.5%. Drink Now. 91/100 - Excellent.
Patina Chardonnay 2019
Patina are a quality boutique outfit in the Orange region of NSW.
They do cracker Chardonnays and this one is up there.
A glorious bright straw to lemon colour. Vibrant lineal fruit emanates from the glass emitting classic and varietal aromas of peach melon, citrus lemons, some hints of butterscotch and an underlying spiciness. Youthful and fresh it evolves in layers of complexity over time in the glass. Quality stuff here and I spend far too much time with my nose in the glass sniffing away but there is a lot of good stuff happening here.
Long refined and elegant fruit on the palate. Nice classic peach melon, good supporting acidity and well imparted cashew oak. Moreish, call you in for more. Chardonnay from beginning to end. Damn good Chardonnay at that.
Try this with prawn and peas risotto.
Drink to 2026. About $40. 93/100 - Excellent.
Wynns Coonawarra Shiraz 2013
This is still a deep dark crimson purple, albeit with some garnet red hints. What I am trying to say is that this white label Coonawarra Shiraz red is still a youngster in the scheme of things despite its eight years of age.
Strong powerful aromas - red earth, black pepper, tobacco leaf, blackcurrants, blackberries and plums come through bigtime in what is a complex set of aromas.
The nose is there forward in nature and full of varietal and regional Shiraz fruit staking its claim.
Good fresh acidity supports, grainy coconut oak there and pronounced still as well as integrated tannins coming through. There is development here and it is drinking fine but the potential is there in every dimension. The palate delivers well rounded ripe firm fruit - currants, berries and plums and it is delicious to drink.
More to come, watch this space closely. Fine drinking now and every year thereafter for quite a long time to come.
Try this with slow cooked octopus stew and chat potatoes in a red sauce
Alc 13.5%. About $22. Drink to 2031. 94/100 - Excellent.
d'Arenberg The Olive Grove Chardonnay 2020
Consistency in quality, price and value are hard things to achieve for wineries and for wines. This one has ticked and continues to tick all those boxes and impress year in year out.
Lemony straw yellow, it is vibrant, quite elegant looking and yet youthful in demeanour.
The nose is evocative though. Full of Mclaren Vale upfront classic peach melon fruit. Robust, lineal with its just right impartment of acidity and wholesome oak treatment. You get luscious creaminess oozing from the aromas and then lovely well rounded apricots, peach, lemon curd and melon on the palate along with a nice spiciness and a long moreish finish.
Good solid no-nonsense Chardonnay drinking at a resonable price.
Try with paccheri in a genovese (octopus based) sauce.
About $17. Alc 13.5%. Drink to 2024. 92/100 - Excellent.
Penfolds Koonunga Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Deep purple with ruby red hints. Still youthful despite its age.
Intense deep powerful nose full of berries and currants. Think blackcurrants, blackberry jam and dark red cherries. Spice filled, hints of dark chocolate, the nose subsumes the glass with lashings of fruit underpinned by good sweetish oak.
Layers of fruit and oak come through in waves through the aromas developing nicely in the glass, promising more good things to come.
Deep ripe fruit with well integrated oak and tannins on the palate. Well blended and put together. Nice drinking, mid to full bodieness, well rounded but enough there for more development over the next 5 years. Delicious with a long dry finish, this pairs a treat with a variety of cuisine.
Try this with slow cooked Greek lamb shoulder.
Alc 14.5% About $20. Drink to 2027. 94/100 - Excellent.
Tahbilk Marsanne 2014
You don't see much Marsanne amongst the sea of white varietals that are part of the Australian wine market. Sad because it is a cracker varietal especially when well made and when sample with a few years of cellaring.
Tahbilk are a quality Victorian winery, been around forever and know more than a thing or two about growing grapes and making wine built to last the distance and get better with age.
Still a lemon yellow bright colour despite its age. Citrus lemons dominate, an inherent minerality supports them, apricots and peaches follow with a honeyness coming through with time in the glass. It is well balanced on the palate, yet still with dryness and crispness on the finish and delicious glorious fruit - think peach melon and ripe citrine lemon tart flavours.
Swirl drink and repeat results in a very pleasurable drinking experience.
Try it with pea and pancetta pasta risotto.
About $20, 12.9% Alc. Drink to 2024. 95/100 - Superb.
Coldstream Hills Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2018
Still a gloriously youthful lemon yellow in colour as you pour it.
Tight classy and pristine on the nose, it unwinds nicely in the glass revealing layers of complexity as you would expect from this respected Yarra Valley Chardonnay.
The aromas are classic as well. Citrus lemons, lemon curd and ripe peach dominate. They dominate in a tight, lineal and elegant way not overbearing in any sense. The acidity is fresh and crisp. The oak is there, french oak, noticeable yet again well integrated and not distracting in any way.
A cracker of a wine to drink. The years so far have given it some lovely hints of what is to come and elements of maturity and is delivering a very nice moreish creaminess on the long finish.
Try it with a Vietnamese crispy pancake.
Abt $30. Alc 13%. Drink to 2023. 95/100 - Superb.
4 Pines Brewing Company Pale Ale
This has been my go to beer for quite a while now. It delivers at lots of levels for me and is a versatile beer that lets you drink it easily solo and yet also pair it up with lots of different food.
A lovely orangy amberish colour. Fresh, real uplifted and fruity with citrus lemons, grapefruit and oranges really coming through. Has a fruit dimension and also savoury dimension to it, making it as I said before versatile drinking. Naturally brewed, full flavoured. Good dry and crisp in length and on the finish.
Try it with bbq chorizo sausages.
Alc 5.1%. About $20 for a six pack. Rated - Excellent.
Tarrawarra Estate Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2017
Very easy seamless effortable Chardonnay drinking here. The people at Tarrawarra are gifted with making good Chardonnay (and Pinot!) and this wine echoes how good the grapes and winemaking are.
The age has done wonders to the fruit, developed its citrus dominant nose with creamy and nutty nuances, balancing out any acidity very nicely. Peach melons and tropical fruits also emerge through but the ripe lush lemons are the stars here.
The oak is there, lees treatment adding character and depth but this all sits nicely under the fruit. A tight intricate and well structured Chardonnay that drinks ever so well on its own and with a versatile range of Asian cuisines.
Try this with Vietnamese chicken curry.
Alc 12.7%. About $30. Drink Now.92/100 - Excellent.
Soumah Yarra Valley Single Vineyard Syrah 2019
Wow what a sensational wine. And it is so young. How much potential has this Shiraz got to develop into a very respectable red, is the magic question here? It is delivering the goods big-time already in my books.
Inky crimson purple, the purity of fruit just subsumes the senses. The aromas are classic smooth and seductive. Spicy fruit, cherries, blueberries, plums and black liquorice all come through in a slow unwinding manner. Love the nose. Have sat here smelling it for an inordinate time!
The oak treatment is there subtle letting the fruit shine and do its work. The ripe fresh fruit resonates on the palate long lingering and smooth, ever so fine yet there tannins. There is much more to come but it is luxuriant drinking now. Very much so. Delicious and moreish. It will improve incrementally with time in different dimensions and it has as I said the hallmarks of a very very decent red.
Try this with Wagyu beef steak.
About $40. Alc 14.5%. Drink to 2029 plus. 97/100 - Exceptional.
Whispering Brook Touriga Nacional 2019
Whispering Brook is an excellent Hunter Valley winery gaining lots of attention for its quality wine. Susan Frazier and Adam Bell are its winemakers and established the winery in 2000. I say all of this as I think you should put these names squarely on your wine watch list as this is one cracking good red wine!
Touriga Nacional is one of Portugal's finest red grape varietals and is used extensively in making Port.
The folks at Whispering Brook have done a great job in developing this varietal here and given it the full treatment of hand picking, basket pressing to French oak and partial malo treatment.
It is still a youngster with its inky purple crimson colour in the glass. However the nose is just intoxicating, has its fruit focus well developed, is quite robust and yet also seduces with rich spicy plums, blackberries, cherries and an inherent earthiness to it all. The aromas just develop superbly in the glass making it a pleasure to savour.
On the palate you get those red and black fruits coming through in a sustained concentrated and prounounced manner. The Hunter earthiness is clearly there, good firm oak to support the fruit with a long haul in development and a good firm tannin structure to boot. Delicious and smooth spicy ripe plums on the palate, give it time in the glass to develop so you can really appreciate what this red is all about and the potential it has for a long future.
Try this with oven roasted porchetta, wild greens and roast lemon potatoes
About $55. Alc 13.5%. Drink to 2029 plus. 95/100 - Superb.
Angullong Merlot 2018
A rich ripe luxuriant Merlot from this boutique cool climate Orange region winery.
Very pleasurable drinking from begining to end. Deep brooding dark purple blackish. A youngster with time on its side. The youth and alcohol don't distract however.
The brooding spicy plums dominate the nose. Stunning vibrant and fresh, yes ripe, intense and uplifted but not over the top in any way. Balanced long smooth and seamless on the palate. Fruit check, oak check, acidity check, tannin structure check - the winemaker can take a bow.
Very moreish drinking here. Really good Merlot showing off what it can do. Giving it a few years may improve it but it really is drinking smashingly well now.
Oh and did I mention the word value anywhere here.
Try it with tagliatelle alla ragu.
About $22. 14.5%. 93/100 - Excellent.