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.
Gartelmann Wines Diedrich Shiraz 2016
Diedrich is named after Jorg Gartelmann's grandfather, who would be proud of this excellent Orange region in NSW Reserve Shiraz.
Starting with some remnants of purple inkiness on the hue, this four year old benchmark red from the Gartelmann stable of wine is a classy and elegantly structured wine.
I like the spice filled nose of blackberries, plums, cherries and currants all melded beautifully and smoothly. An inherent earthiness underpins the fruit. The tannin structure is fine and seamless, the oak treatment working its magic on the fruit. Despite the high alcohol (which doesn't detract), it delivers effortlessly on the palate with delicious cherries and plums dominating. It goes on and on in finish and length with the tannins saying more good is to come. Not a big bold red but a classy refined red that impresses now but as I said watch this space.
Try it with pappardelle con ragu.
About $50. Drink to 2026 plus. 15.2%. 94/100 - Excellent.
Bird In Hand Two In The Bush Chardonnay 2019
Classic aromas off the nose citrus lemons, limes and grapefruit but also some varietal peach melon as well. A bit of everything coming off a tight but slowly yielding nose.
Fresh lively acidity supports the fruit well as does the judicious oak treatment, there but balanced in its impartment.
It drinks very nicely with its citrus and peach characters showcasing on the palate, a good crisp backbone to the fruit and a long lingering very nice aftertaste of Chardonnay flavours. Very well balanced as I said on the palate and not OTT in any of its dimensions.
This Adelaide Hills cool climate Chardonnay works a treat with a diverse range of cuisines.
Try it spaghetti and crabmeat or it will go just as well with a spanish tortilla.
About $25. 12.5%. Drink to 2024. 91/100 - Excellent.
Lark Hill Vineyard Chardonnay 2017
Top shelf Canberra District Chardonnay. Pristine elegant and purity of fruit from beginning to end.
Loved this cool climate high altitude Chardonnay. My style of Chardonnay, sharp, focussed fruit delivered with precision, judicious winemaking and making its mark in a deliberate measured way.
Pale whitish yellow representing early days. Youthful and developing on the nose, you have crisp upfront white nectarine, honeydew melon and citrus lemons off a beautiful aroma set. Tight at first then unwinding gloriously in the glass. Good just right crisp acidity supporting the fruit as is the oak, married well, providing that mock creaminess side by side to the fruit.
Long and extended in finish, it is delicious drinking with classic peach melon and lemon and limes that go on and one.
Top class wine drinking with plenty in reserve for further development (but seriously it is drinking superbly just now!).
Try it with oven baked barramundi and some canneloni bean mash.
Alc 12.5%. Drink to 2023. About $45. 95/100 - Exceptional.
Vickery Eden Valley Riesling 2019
Vickery is a brand synonymous with high quality Riesling.
Sourced from Eden Barossa Valley grapes, this has South Australian quality Riesling stamped all over it.
It is classic Riesling from beginning to finish.
Clear brilliant yellow straw. Upfront fullsome nose, again classic. Musk, orange, lime and lemons abound. An orchard of good solid aromas, deep and fruit focussed.
Lively acidity supports the fruit, marrying well with it delivering a fresh crisp palate of lemons, limes, green herbs and musk - dry and lightly sweet on the finish, a bit of sweet and sour but in a very nice long smooth easy to drink way.
All this augurs well for a long development in the future. Indeed it opened up like a beautiful flower in the glass, with me adding points by the swirl. And value drinking at this price point.
Try it with wood fired cherry tomato and buffalo mozzarella pizza.
About $23. Drink to 2029 plus. Alc 12%. 94/100 - Excellent.