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4 May 2019

d'Soumah Cabernet Sauvignon 2017


This is a cracker of wine. And at a RRP of $25 is sensational value and batting well above its weight on all fronts. I thoroughly enjoyed drinking this Yarra Valley red and was disappointed when the bottle was empty. 
Soumah make great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and have since day one but this Cabernet is also on the mark. The winemaking has gotten the fruit just right so that the elegant cool climate nature of the grapes is preserved but yet delivered through effortless smooth lineal fruit.
The ripeness of the fruit is no doubt what draws you to this gem. 
Inking stain purple, the colour is vibrant and takes you to the vibrant nose where deep and intense and spiciness comes through in droves. Fresh and lively the structure comes through as classic on the nose. Aromas of spicy plums, blackcurrants and dark cherries come out. Sweet dark brooding spicy fruit. On the medium to long palate, the fruit is the shining star. It follows with some cool mintleaf and some light tobacco.
It is seamless as I said with judicious well integrated oak and silky tannins.
More to come with say up to the next 5 plus years in development. However it is drinking beautifully now. And I would just make this your house red this Winter and it won't stop pleasing.
Try with veal saltimbocca with roasted potatoes.

Drink to 2023/24. About $25. 14.2%. 94/100 - Excellent.

24th April 2019

d'Soumah Chardonnay 2018


Easy warm weather drinking wine here in Autumnal Sydney. Youthful, crisp and fresh, full of upfront citrusness at every stage. This is greenish yellow in colour in the glass reflecting all of the above. A medium dry white with fresh acidity that delivers lemons, limes and crisp green apples all the way. Lemon curd and limes dominate the palate nicely and invigoratingly so with a tantalising finish. It has been given some decent barrel treatment to add to its fruit focus. The quality Yarra Valley fruit is there and discernable as it should be and delivered with a medium to long lingeringness on the palate. A wine that will have popular appeal for its versatility. Calls out for salt and pepper squid.

About $28. 12.7% alc. Drink now til 2022. 90/100 - Very Good. 

20 April 2019

Z-Force Shiraz 2016


The flagship release for Zonte's Footstep, a quality McLaren Vale outfit.
This Shiraz Petit Sirah is a stunningly youthful deep purple towards blackish red.
Big, bold and rich fruit on offer and coming. A deep and intense set of aromas, fruit focussed, earthy and gutsy. McLaren through and through.
Full bodied, good legs with smooth silky tannins. Well integrated oak, youthful, there but yet married well with the fruit in these early days. The nose and palate reflect blackberries, plums, spicy mixed fruit and sour cherries. Some liquorice hints as well. Very good winemaking here folks.
The wine although upfront is also complex and unwinds nicely offering layer upon layer of intrigue.
Seamless and smooth on the palate, it is now 3 years so some integration is starting off and thus it provides a delicious blackberry and cherry filled long finish.
Not OTT in any way, not warm, just right for its early stage of development. It has long haul stamped in it, 10-15 years plus IMO
A really lovely red wine that will augur well for special occasion drinking this Winter and for many more Winters to come.
Try it with roasted beef ribs and potato galette.

Alc 15.5%. Drink to 2029-2034. About $70. 94/100 - Excellent.

Five Oaks Yarra Valley Merlot 2016

Yarra Valley estate grown Merlot made by Wally Zuk who has done a fine job with this excellent Merlot.
I like its easy drinkability and adaptability just from dipping my nose into the glass.
What I mean it is my sort of wine drinking in every sense. One reflective of where it comes from, the purity of the fruit coming through and a suitability as a stand alone drink by itself wine but one that will marry well with a range of cuisine. It appeals to the wine buff in me and as a consumer. It is the type of wine I like to drink. 
The winemaking as I said has been very good here, starting with the hand picking and then 18 month French oak treatment both reflecting in the freshness and purity of the fruit.
Ruby red in colour, it is the vibrant uplifting floral nose that draws you in. Almost Pinot like in delicacy on one hand especially with the evocative fragrances, but clear enough in substance to make it sit out as a quality Merlot. Strawberries, raspberries, light spicy plums, light nutmeg, the nose is all fruit though. A still youthful fresh light to medium bodied Merlot with good lineal acidity supporting the fruit, alcohol in check and the oak is there but almost indiscernable in the sense that it is letting the Yarra Valley fruit be the shining star as it should be.
Fine tannins, tight ones at that follow through on the finish as do lashings of plum, sweet and then spicy plum. Delicious and with a delicacy of finish making it moreish.
Try this with crispy duck pancakes.

Drink to 2029. About $40. Alc 12.9%. 94/100 - Excellent.

7th April 2019

Zonte's Footstep Chocolate Factory McLaren Vale Shiraz 2017


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.

         Drink to 2025 - RRP $27.50 - 90/100 - Very Good

31 March 2019

Devil's Lair The Hidden Cave Chardonnay 2017


This is bang on drinking for me. A really good Chardonnay from the Margaret River region of Western Australia that has had me going back to it regularly as my go to wine for all sorts of occasions.
It has substance and a defined fullsome structure.
It isn't afraid to say I am Chardonnay through and through and it delivers on this from the first moment onwards.
Fermented in a fair bit of French oak, the richness of the wine comes through the aromas big time. It has the ability to polarise I accept, but once you start drinking it its real value comes to the fore.
A pristine light yellow in colour. Classic peach on the nose comes through the palate along with light melon and a lovely butteriness, smooth and long on the finish. Delicious and moreish.
It has a year or so left on it but it is seriously good drinking right now.
At about $20 and often found on special a fair bit under this price, it delivers as I said at all levels.
Works well with Vietnamese cuisine, say some crispy chicken
      Drink now to 2020        Alc 12.5%.
             92/100 - Excellent.