1 June 2020

Howard Park Miamup Chardonnay 2019

Really like this Margaret River Chardonnay at all levels - quality, value and price as well as the way it delivers as standalone drinking and its ability to pair very nicely with an array of cuisines. Not much more you ask for in a wine.
Gloriously shiny youthful greeny yellow in the glass.
Peach melon and lemon and grapefruit, some vanilla bean and some cashew creaminess come through the aroma set. Sharp and quite sophisticated on the nose. Promises a lot just off the nose. The acidity is fresh and lively and cuts through the French oak treatment of the fruit very well. Put together it is an uplifted Chardonnay with class and substance. I like it a lot.
Try with a prawn risotto.
Alc 13%. About $28. Drink to 2024. 94/100 - Excellent.

17 May 2020

Yalumba The Y Series Sangiovese Rose` 2019

Was shaking my head whilst looking at shelf upon shelf at my local wine shop the other day at the range and assortment (and price) of Rose` on the Australian market. Ten years ago we were scoffing at Rose` as a style as opposed to scoffing it down like we are nowadays.
Fresh and uplifted on the nose, the plums and cherries and strawberries come through nicely on this blush light salmon pink South Australian example. Dry and lighter in style, the fruit still is the star on the palate with balanced fruit flavours as well as a medium dry finish that is just right stand alone drinking. Having said that it will sit neatly beside a plate of freshly grilled fish.
Drink Now. About $12. 11.5%. 91/100 - Excellent.

3 May 2020

Mino + Co Signor Vino Nebbiolo 2016

This is a top notch example of the Italian grape varietal Nebbiolo grown here in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia from this excellent boutique winery.
A really well made red that shows off why Italian varietals such as Nebbiolo work so well here in Australia at so many levels.The excellence comes primarily from keeping the fruit flavour up and the alcohol in check resulting in a perfectly balanced red wine that is robust and upfront and substantial all the way through but not overdone in overripe fruit denseness, alcohol warmth nor too much oak.
Eminently drinkable is one of my favourite wine phrases and it has the drinkable X factor from beginning to end.
The aromas shows off blackcurrants, cherries, plums and violets in a measured way but imparted as well with a savoury dimension of black olives, cinnamon and mixed dried herbs. Uplifting and enticing you in with more to come. It delivers long deep red cherry and plum flavours on the palate with just right oak treatment, fine tannins and a savoury-ness to boot, adding to the wine's overall complexity. Good grape growing matched with good wine making. Yes I liked it a lot.
Try it with roast pork.

Drink to about 2025. About $25. 13.0%. 94/100 - Excellent.

26 April 2020
Rosemount Estate Diamond Label Chardonnay 2019

This Chardonnay will be going right into the value drinking section of this website - pronto. Available at under $10, it represents a quality, price and value combo which at this price point is hard to achieve nowadays.
A bright yellow in the glass, it shows off classic peach melon aromas and a touch of butterscotch all off a fresh crisp nose. It doesn't pretend to be something it is not but having said that it delivers the features just like I would expect of a quality mass produced South Eastern Australia Chardonnay.
The palate is a medium bodied array of tropical fruits along with a light creaminess and some cashew nuts imparted with uplifted lineal acidity resulting in a long delicious finish. Job done, well done at that.
Try with bolognese arancini.

Drink Now. About $10-12. 13.5%. 91/100 - Excellent.

24 April 2020
Hastwell & Lightfoot Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

McLaren Vale gets the kudos here in Australia for its Shiraz and justifiably so but please don't ignore its Cabernet Sauvignon and especially this one as it is a cracker.
Deep dark purple crimson even just with around three years under the belt, it still shows off like a youngster. Intoxicating inking staining it hits you up with 14% alcohol with great legs showing off on the glass. 
Lovely mulberries, rich milky chocolate, deep red cherries and the classic blackcurrants subsume the glass with Cabernet aromas. The fruit is just all class imparted with purity and elegance, just right applied oak, fine tannins and the alcohol is there but in check. An excellent red wine that just glides beautifully down the palate and is just liquery currants, berries and chocolate all the way through.
Will develop further but seriously good right now.
This is going everywhere - front of stage, value drinking and a fine boutique McLaren red.
Try this with lamb korma.

About $25. 14%. Drink to 2027. 95/100 - Outstanding.

10 April 2020
Ole! Vino Tinto Tempranillo 2018

This Spanish red ticks all the boxes more me - price, value, drinkability and versatility.
It is a really good allrounder in the sense you can drink it all through the seasons and it adapts well to a whole range of cuisines.
It is full of fruit, deep and stewed but tempered in its delivery so it is not OTT. Classic cherries, plums and raspberries, along with an inherent depth of spice.
The blending is good, the tannins are soft and fine, the alcohol in check...all making for easy seamless unpretentious and effortless drinking.
As I said at the beginning, easy effortless and value priced drinking.
Try this with rigatoni alla norma or a pizza napolitana.
Alc 13.5%. About $15. 90/100 - Very Good.

22 March 2020

Devil's Lair The Hidden Cave Margaret River Chardonnay 2019

This has been my go to Chardonnay for a long time now as it ticks so many boxes for me. Consistently excellent quality, price, value and versatility either as standalone drinking or with a plethora of cuisines.
Youthful strawy green in its hues. A youngster by sight and by nature with crisp zesty aromas emanating from the glass.
Classic MR Chardonnay, quality stuff. Classic peach melon, hints of citrus, vanilla spice and grilled nuts come through. Well measured oak, french oak, some lees-iness and balance from start to finish, delivering a creamy highly drinkable moreish Chardonnay.
It has cellaring potential and will develop nicely but the challenge will be not to drink it now.
Try it with Vietnamese crispy pancake.
About $20. 13%. Drink to 2025. 94/100 - Excellent.

8 March 2020
Stonier Chardonnay 2018
A classic yet modern Australian Chardonnay here.
All of what should be expected in this quality Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay but delivered in a style that is demanded of modern day Chardonnays in Australia.
A gloriously vibrant lemony straw. Evocative melon and stone fruits, then citrus lemon curd all coming off from the aromas, lifted and delivered with a classiness showing off the potential to come.
Drinks just beautifully with a seamless creaminess and yet with good supporting acidity and judicious oak treatment that marries very well with the fruit.
Delicious and moreish to drink and savour. Still more room for development as well. And value drinking!
Try this with prawn, peas and chorizo risotto.
Alc 13.5%. Drink to 2025. About $25. 94/100 - Excellent.

9 February 2020
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.

27 October 2019

Nugan Estate Cookoothma Chardonnay 2017

Sourced from the Darlington Point area of the Murrumbidgee River region of NSW, this is a good value Chardonnay that shows itself in both a varietal and regional manner. 
Youthful lemony greenish tints, shining through the glass. 
The nose is just simply Chardonnay, unmistakenably so. Ripe upfront lifted classic peach melon and also tropical fruits. 
The acidity is fresh and crisp, giving plenty of support to the fruit. 
The mouthfeel is creamy and fruit focussed with just right oak. It is developing well and drinks just fine right now.
On a price quality scale, it rates up there at $15 RRP and drinks well as a standalone Spring into Summer drop but will pair very decently with say crispy skin chicken, Vietnamese style.

Alc 13%. About $15. Drink to 2021. 89/100 - Very Good.

12 October 2019
Coldstream HillsChardonnay 2018

Very decent and value drinking from this quality Yarra Valley outfit.
This is made in the mould of the modern elegant classic Chardonnay and is user friendly for all Chardonnay drinkers making it a very versatile white wine for all types of cuisines and occassions.
Pale youthful greeny to straw, a very youthful drop.
Fresh and mid bodied, it is a bit tight on the aroma front at first and then it opens up with quite a complex set of aromas.
A beautiful wine to savour and drink. The aromas are citrus with lots of green apples, hints of pear, peaches, fig and spice.
The palate delivers a light creaminess coupled with classic peach and tropical fruits. The oak is there integrated and seamless. The acidity tempered yet fresh and there. Balanced and in sync, everything is working with each other well and will continue to develop very nicely over next 5 years.
Just lovely drinking say my notes. I like it a lot!
Try this with pan fried barramundi and olive potato mash.

About $25. Alc 13.0%. Drink to 2024. 94/100 - Excellent.

18 July 2019

Hastwell & Lightfoot Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

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 July 2019

Majella Riesling 2018

Smooth, delicious and well balanced are the tasting notes that jump out from the page.
A gloriously straw coloured youthful Riesling from this respected Coonawarra winery.
Deep, intense and fulsome on the nose, resplendent with sweet ripe fruit, it exudes ripe fruit and fresh acidity.
The aromas abound with guava, lychee, passionfruit and citrus green apples and limes and lush lemon curd imparted with a mock creaminess.
An excellent moreish Riesling that is bang on quality and value.
Try this with crab patties.

Drink to 2023 plus. Alc 11%. About $18. 92/100 - Excellent

14 July 2019

Scotchmans Hill The Hill Chardonnay 2018

I like the way that for about $12 if you look around you can still drink a very decent cool climate Chardonnay.
This unoaked one from this quality Geelong outfit exudes a brilliant lemony yelloe colour showing off deep ripe fruit characters.
A simple easy drinking delicious Chardonnay follows where obviously the primary fruit is the star feature.
Think a litany of tropical and stone fruits being banana, lychee, mango, passionfruit, peach with lashings of cream on the nose and palate.
Medium length of finish follows, the alcohol is there but in sync with the fruit and overall it is low in acidity all only adding to its drinkability. 

Try it with lamb tagine and prunes.

About $12. Alc 13.5%. Drink to 2021. 90/100- Very Good.

27 June 2019

Huntington Estate Mudgee Fortified Shiraz 2013

This fortified wine is meant to be put away and drunk much much later.
The only problem with that is that it is drinking so bloody decently right now, that you will have difficulties with my advice to put some away and try it again over 10-15-20 years time.
In the old days we used to call this Port but nowadays we respect that Port comes from Porto in Portugal and so we label it fortified shiraz.
It is a deep ripe rich dense red fortified wine that screams drink me on a cold Winter's night and lo and behold we have had one or two of those!
Deep youthful blackish purple it exudes its 20% plus alcohol visually as well.
The deep intense ripe sweetness of the body knocks forward some classic forward and decent aromas that augur for enticing you to drink it now but also for storing some away for later.
It has layers of youth but also of potential and complexity. The oak is there noticeable, pokes out (because the wine is still so young!) and is quite firm, the tannins also are forward and strong. Future potential stands out.
It drinks very nicely albeit now however it is a young ripe rich dense sweet wine with a long and extended finish and demonstrates also the longevity it will be capable of.
Currants, blackberries, jam, chocolate, cigar and spicy cherries all were noticeable all with a very long and extended finish.
Try this with a cherry clafoutis.

Alc 20.5% About $25 - 375ml. Drink to 2033 to 2043 plus.

95/100 - Superb (with further potential emphasised) 

8 June 2019

Majella The Musician Cabernet Shiraz 2016

My initial notes on the tasting sheets were value, value, value, how do they do this for the price?
This is a quality sexy youthful and vibrant Coonawarra red made from the unsexy but effective synergy of Cabernet and Shiraz grapes that were made to go hand in hand and have been proving their effective marriage for many decades, often ignored by modern winemakers.
Yes I like this wine.
An ink staining youthful deep purple, the deep intense ripe body comes through the nose beautifully.
A medium dry red with a medium finish and delivering good fresh acidity, seamless softly imparted oak and silky tannins. 
The primary aromas are blackcurrants, red currants, mint and a hint of rhubarb, yes rhubarb. On the palate it drinks beautifully and effortlessly delivering those currants, spicy plums, cherries and hints of cool black pepper. 
Try this with oven baked sausages, mash, sauerkraut and peas and gravy. Yum!

Alc 14.5%. Drink to 2024 at least. About $19. 

92/100 - Excellent.

4th 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. 

Soumah_CabernetInking 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.

13th April 2019

Stoniers Chardonnay 2017

A really good Chardonnay from Victoria's Mornington Peninsula. The winemaker is Mike Symons and he has done a great job in crafting a very user friendly Chardonnay that is well integrated and balanced and moreish. He has given it the treatment it deserves with part malo and good French oak and the grapes are from an excellent vintage there. A glorious pale yellow reflects a youthfulness and vibrancy. The citrus lemons resonate from the aromas, bright upfront, not OTT though. It does not polarise in any way even though the French oak and fullsome fruit are both there. Balance and good structure are the key words here. You get the citrus lemon, light tropical fruits and honeydew melon on the nose and then a medium to long creamy smooth finish. A delcious moreish wine as I said. Very easy drinking and excellent drinking at that. I really enjoyed drinking this as you can tell.

Drinking to 2022 easily.

Try this with oven baked barramundi.

Alc 13.5%.About $25 but found for less on special. 94/100 - Excellent.