TOP SHELF WINES
17 October 2019
Castle Rock Estate Porongurup Shiraz 2017
A superb wine from beginning to end, just thought I would get straight to the point right from the start.
Blackish purple ink staining the glass, still a baby in its infancy.
A complex red with lashings of cool climate blackberry, currants, spice and white pepper off the nose. Fruit, fruit, deep luxuriant spicy fruit all the way. An alluring set of aromas that have "gotcha" all over them.
A smooth deep long palate of berry fruit, imparted with judicious oak, measured and accompanied with low acidity and fine effortless tannins. A big red wine but with class and elegance and depth of character and potential plus.
Drinkable yes but put-away-able as well. At least ten to fifteen years here plus.
Watch this space as I think this will develop into a classic aged red.
Try this with an aged Angus beef steak with mushroom sauce.
Alc 13.5%. Drink to 2027 plus. About $30. 95/100- Superb.
4 October 2019
Huntington Estate Tim Stevens Signature Shiraz Cabernet 2017
This youthful deep purple Mudgee red comes off a great vintage in that region and is named after winemaker Tim Stevens.
A well blended fresh medium to deep bodied red full of sweet ripe fruit imparted in a medium dry finish.
A special occassion wine that delivers balance in early drinkability but also complexity.
The fruit is there as I said shining through with its star blackcurrants, blackberries and chocolate features, but it has also got plenty of oak backing it up and soft fine tannins auguring well for the future.
Potential plus written all over my tasting note which has a big watch this space tag.
Try it with braised lamb.
Drink to 2032 plus. Alc 14.1%. $100. 92/100 - Excellent.
29 September 2019
Soumah Chardonnay 2018
Really enjoyed this top shelf Chardonnay from the Yarra Valley's Soumah stable of wines.
A bright lemony yellow showing off its youthfulness and potential.
A light to medium bodied Chardonnay that has elegance, grace and substance.
Aromas of peach, melon, citrus lemons and broiche shine through. The nose is where it happening bigtime.
I like the overall structure of this wine, the way the aromas show off the fruit along with its fresh and crisp acidity along with there oak, enough to make its mark and put everything into its rightful place.
The winemaker (and grapegrower!) should be suitably impressed with themselves.
Not a big Chardonnay but not a light pretty one either. An each way bet is the way I would call it.
It drinks really well, with a long peach melon creamy nutty finish. A beautiful classic Chardonnay.
It has 3-5 years in it at least. It will develop over time into a very decent Chardonnay of substance.
Try it with veal saltimbocca.
13.0%. About $80. Drink to 2024. 93/100 - Excellent.
23 July 2019
Huntington Estate Basket Dried Mudgee Shiraz 2016
A very decent special occasion Shiraz and very well crafted at that by Tim Stevens, Huntington's winemaker.
A cherry to garnet red colour, the wine is starting to settle in for the long haul and exhibiting potential plus (and not bad at all drinking right now as well may I say).
Deep brooding intense and spice filled it is a big red wine from beginning to end.
Spicy red and black and blue fruits dominate the aromas and later on the palate as well. Think currants, berries, cherries, a bit of rhubarb and then also some dark chocolate and mocha coffee and also a more savoury dimension provided by some dried herbs and black pepper.
Integrated oak (there present but working its way in with the fruit), the result is a big but also quite balanced for its age red, complex yes with multiple layers along with a long finish.
It drinks quite well now as I said and it developed well with some breathing in the glass and then also overnight but the oak and tannin structure is such that the best is yet to come IMO!
Try this with Beef Wellington.
About $75. Drink to 2026 plus. Alc 15.5%. 94/100 - Excellent.
17 July 2019
Zonte's Footstep Lake Doctor Shiraz 2013
The winery sent this across to show how the latest vintage hopefully stacks up with the benefit of a few years (ps they need not worry!)
I will write up the latest vintage later but this review went to the top of the pile to be publsihed as it is simply a cracker of a red!
Regrettably (and understandably) it is out of stock from the winery so you may have to look around for it to find it.
Gloriously deep blackish red Langhorne Creek fruit resonates from the glass.
A brooding maturing and soothing red wine ensues as a blend of Shiraz and Viognier sets forth.
Classic plums, ripe and seductive, forward and almost overpowering but in such a good way. The intense aromas put forth blackberries, raspberries, cherries all imparted beautifully in a way that marries it with the oak effortlessly and in sync and it all flows ever so well and lineally on the nose and then rewards again to the next level of the palate with a smoothness longness and mouth coating array of dark and red fruits providing long term deliciousness and calling you in to pour (and drink) another glass.
It still has at least 5-7 very good years ahead of it IMO (conservatively).
Try this with Spanish paella.
About $25. Alc 14.5%. 95/100 - Superb.
16 June 2019
Five Oaks Yarra Valley SGS Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
A deep youthful purple. Still very young. Quite tightly wound up. Took a good ten minutes to loosen up.
What follows is a spice filled fresh energetic and vibrant quite forward nose. Think blueberries, blackcurrants, spicy plums, cool raspberries, light mint, white pepper and hints of allspice.
A classy elegant red with silky tannins and seamless oak. The oak is there not OTT youthful and in sync with the rest of the restrained power that the fruit is also providing. The alcohol is also in sync.
So overall what you get are lovely plums and currants on the palate now, fruit focused, soft and well imparted.
It glides down the throat and is drinking fine now but as I said it has plenty more to come in the next decade.
A very decent special occasion wine.
Try this with roast lamb shoulder and lemon potatoes and sauteed peas and ham.
13.9% Alc. Drink to 2026 plus plus. 95/100 - Superb.
16 April 2019
Wente Morning Fog Estate Grown Chardonnay 2017
I couldn't wait to get home to write this up. It was such a good wine.
A Californian Chardonnay from the Livermore Valley in San Francisco Bay.
This is all class. Youthful pale honey lemon in colour, an elegant tightly knit set of aromas, pure and slowly starts unwinding.
There is oak treatment here but it has been done ever so beautifully and diligently that the balance is just ever so spot on. Part barrel fermentation adds the complexity to the solid primary fruit and together they marry and carry through the palate superbly. Citrus lemons, white peaches, ripe pear these carry through to a creamy palate fruit driven with just right acidity as well. A delicious and just perfectly seamless drinking Chardonnay. Top shelf winemaking here.
Try this with a Japanese omelette
Alc 13.5%. About $20.
96/100 - Outstanding