Wine Talk, December 2005

Cape Mentelle Walcliffe Sauvignon Semillon 2003

This top quality Western Australian outfit has just released this complex, vibrant, quite intense and upfront wine. The aromas are a conglomerate of classic canned asparagus, cut grass, crisp green apple and grapefruit with a touch of herbaceous notes. Young fresh acidity supports the fruit and provides a good firm backbone to the complex structure of the wine. The distinct concentrated potent fruit is well blended and quite assertive, persistent but well treated with subtle oak. Overall a lean bodied high quality number that packs quite a lingering length. Have with bbq Thai chicken salad. Drink now for up to 1/ 2 years. About $35.

Centennial Vineyards Reserve Shiraz Viognier 2004

Tight youthful yet elegant in nature. It's the Viognier and the cool climate Shiraz that just seems to go seamlessly together in this wine. Deep purple crimson berry fruit aromas delicate yet persistent in their influence. Ever so subtle apricot kernel influence, not out of kilt or balance like some of these blends can be. Soft mouth filling blackberry packed flavours delivered just so fine and mellow, lingering long on the palate with sour black cherry as well. Beautiful. Around $30 and well worth it. Have with rigatoni with Italian sausage in roasted tomato sauce.

Five Oaks Riesling 2004

Wally Zuk makes this lovely lemon coloured Yarra Valley Riesling. Quite tight elegant citrus aromas with predominant lemon and lime essences resonate from the glass. A light touch of lanolin and also of a hint of mature character with the wine now into its second year. Crisp fresh acidity with a good length of finish provides a citric burst of fruit flavours in the mouth - a combination of lemon and green apple dominating. Would go well with pasta - say tortellini boscioala. Should hold over 2/3 years. Around $20.

Jamiesons Run Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Typically Coonawarra from the first glass. Out of this deep dark purple crimson red, you get classic aromas such as blackcurrant, intense cherry and blackberry fruit with the subtlest hint of capsicum and tobacco leaf character. An alluringly deep intensity of fruit which is tight and restrained. Still young. Luscious smooth and soft velvety fruit flavours emanate on the palate all with a lingering length. A well rounded array of mouth feel of blackberry fruits ensues and this is followed by fruit which is enmeshed with secondary characters such as dark chocolate and cedary notes. Should cellar 5-7 years. Value at around $18.

Lenton Brae Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2005

This small boutique family owned Margaret River Western Australian winery brings to us a white blend from the outstanding 2005 vintage that is just stunning. Stunningly upfront in fruit, stunningly fresh in vibrancy and also in the delivery of lively tropical flavours. A gorgeous pale straw colour exhibiting its youthful vitality. All of this accompanied by an alluring attractive nose with hints of spice and persistent pure fruit. Aromas of green apple, citrus, passionfruit and lantana follow. Soft fresh fruit acidity supports this with tropical fruit and gushy pears on the palate. Very well blended. Medium dry in style and a long length with a refined complexity. At $20, value plus and have it with Pad Thai noodles.

McWilliams Hanwood Estate Merlot 2004

Very young upfront fresh and fruit driven aromas emanate from this gorgeously crimson purple coloured wine. The purity of the Satsuma plum is seductively intoxicating with a touch of violet and mulberry adding to what is quite a complex and interesting nose. What follows is soft smooth blackberry and plum fruit characters with a long finish. A fine tannin structure supports it and provides in all quite a well rounded wine. At around $10, this is a very good value easy drinking Merlot to have with char grilled chorizo sausage.

Pikes "Lucio" Sangiovese 2003

This Clare winery has crafted an easy drinking style of wine made predominantly from Italian origin wine varietal of Sangiovese. Topped up with Cabernet and Petit Verdot to give it structure and support. A dominant cherry and plum filled nose emanates from the lovely garnet red colours. Lots of fresh acidity from the fruit components with fine firm tannin structure in place. Quite good alcohol and well integrated. Have with spaghetti marinara. Drinking well now and priced at around $15.

Riverby Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 (NZ)

Violet plum red in colour, it exudes a pleasant and alluring array of subtle earthy aromas of slight spice filled blackberry, cranberry and plum. Hints of tar, cinnamon and leathery complexity also ensues. Quite subtle and a touch restrained overall. Soft berry fruit lingers on the palate with a lovely mouth feel. Medium length of finish ensues leaving a silky aftertaste. Would go nicely with fettuccine in a tomato and black olive sauce. Around $22, which is well priced for such a good Pinot Noir.

Rolling Cabernet Merlot 2004

Cumulus Wines Philip Shaw has released a new vintage of this "Rolling" brand of wine that in his words epitomises fruit, soft tannins and power, reflecting the inherent qualities of Central Ranges region of Western NSW. A gorgeous purple crimsony violet plum coloured wine, the nose is just alluringly vibrant and earthy with good oak and black fruit spice character. The fruit component is deep, strong, potent and well blended. The supporting tannins are velvety, well rounded making the wine approachable in its relative youth. Mouth filling berry and blackcurrant fruit and plum jam flavours just linger in sync with the subtle oak treatment. Some complexity with liquorice, chocolate and coffee. Have with roast pork. Drinking now for 3-4 years. At around $13, excellent value for a very good red blend.

Rothvale Luke's Shiraz 2002

The Patton family craft quality wine primarily targeted to the restaurant trade but do sell some out of their Hunter Valley cellar door operation. Max and Luke Patton are the winemakers and this is Luke's baby so to speak. Classic Hunter blackberry Shiraz aromas ensue with a luscious intoxicatingly seductive array of fruit nuances including cherry and mulberry. Subtle restrained earthy overtures also ensue. Purity of fruit with distinct deep black fruit forms the backbone of the wine in sync with the subtle oak. Medium bodied in length and quite soft and well rounded on the palate with a long aftertaste of blackberry, cherry and plum. A good wine at around $22. Have with scotch fillet steak.

Tempus Two Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2005

A brilliant pale straw with lemon tinges. A gorgeous vibrant fresh and lively white blend that exudes youth. The fruit characters are delicate, pure and well blended. The Semillon gives out dry, citrus lemony fragrances and good acid. The Sauvignon Blanc provides freshness, crispness and zest through gooseberry, green apple, grapefruit and passionfruit. A medium dry style of lean bodied white wine that provides an extended length providing a long aftertaste. Well balanced.Have now with Thai beef salad. At around $12, very good value.

Wirra Wirra Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2004

A translucent light to mid yellow vibrant coloured wine, just picture it. Then, succulently luscious white peach, orange blossom and rich honeydew melon aromas abound albeit in a restrained and refined fashion. Lovely smooth lingering tropical nuances on the palate delivered with a rich creamy vanillan oak character supporting the gorgeous well rounded fruit driven flavours. The persistent fruit and French oak are however in sync and the harmonious interplay between the two delivers the goods big time. Not an over the top Chardie and really quite complex and elegant. Yer, I know I'm waffling, but this is really good Chardonnay from a top region. At around $25, its pretty good value as well for such a top shelf Chardonnay. Can you tell I'm enjoying my second glass with my honey prawns!

Paul Ippolito writes about wine for publications across Australia, overseas and the Internet. He speaks on radio and writes a free monthly wine newsletter for consumers. Paul can be contacted by email at where you can also request to be placed on his mailing list for his newsletter. or visit his website at:

2007 Reviews

Wine Talk - January 2007
Wine Talk - February 2007
Wine Talk - March 2007
Wine Talk - April 2007

2006 Reviews

Wine Talk - January 06
Wine Talk - February 06
Wine Talk - March 06
Wine Talk - April 06
Wine Talk - May 06
Wine Talk - June 06
Wine Talk - July 06
Wine Talk - August 06
Wine Talk - September 06
Wine Talk - October 06
Wine Talk - November 06
Wine Talk - December 06

2005 Reviews

Wine Talk - March 05
Wine Talk - April 05
Wine Talk - May 05
Wine Talk - June 05
Wine Talk - July 05
Wine Talk - August 05
Wine Talk - September 05
Wine Talk - October 05
Wine Talk - November 05
Wine Talk - December 05

Meet Paul Ippolito - The Mystery of Wine Tasting



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