Wine Talk, February 2006

Nugan Estate "Frasca's Lane Vineyard" Chardonnay 2004

Mid lemony yellow and classically varietal from the first pour. Cool climate Victorian King Valley - elegant and classy. Lifted and fragrant aromas flow with gorgeously peach and melon and vanillan oak with hints of nutmeg. Supported by fresh acidity. Luscious and smooth on the palate. An excellent sense of balance and quite moreish. Try with grilled snapper with tomato salsa. About $19.

Gemtree Citrine Chardonnay 2005

The McLaren Vale region of South Australia makes very good Chardonnay. You read it here first. Seriously, the 2005 Chardonnay I have tried across the region has been consistently excellent and this one is no exception. Lovely pale straw, the wine exudes nectarine, fragrant white peach, orange blossom, and cashew, nutmeg and citrus lemon. Soft marked acidity supports the fruit and balances well with the long citrus finishes. Tight, elegant and with finesse, it delivers on all levels. Value at about $17.

Annies Lane Chardonnay 2005

This Clare Valley winery has released an excellent Chardonnay from the outstanding 2005 vintage. A lovely pale greeny straw colour, it exudes youthful characters. Classic peach and melon aromas with tropical fruit nuances abound. Fresh and lively fruit with a good cutting edge of acidity. The oak imparts a subtle spice and nuttiness and is well integrated with the fruit and acid to produce a well balanced and easy drinking style of wine. Try with veal scallopine. Value at around $18. An excellent wine.

Jansz Vintage Cuvèe 2001

A cracker of a sparkling white from this high quality Tasmanian producer. Intensely citrus, upfront and strong in character. A level of finesse is delivered through judicious blending of the Pinot Noir in with the Chardonnay. Fresh crisp acidity supports the tight knit toasty elegance of the fruit. Quite classy and refined on the palate demonstrating complexity, good blending and winemaking. Superbly finished, a veritable explosion of fine tight citrus fruit characters with a touch of creaminess on the back palate. Top shelf sparkly at around $37.

Pieter Van Gent "The Matrix" Shiraz 2001/2002

Emanating from the Mudgee region in Western NSW, this glorious mid deep red wine exudes earthy, deep dark cherry aromas coupled with hints of forest floor and truffle. It is quite a complex red blend from two vintages of Shiraz resulting in a refined wine. Soft and medium bodied, it is berry fruit driven on the palate. Fine silky tannins support the fruit and well integrated oak. Some mature characters emerging as well. Drinking well now over the next few years. Around $22.

Mildara Coonawarrra Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

A deep dark crimson purple. Loads of upfront classic Coonawarra features such as blackcurrant emits from the nose. Mint leaf, liquorice, chocolate and other dark berry fruit ensues as well. Good, not high alcohol, balanced with the oak and fruit. Silky fine tannins with firm textures ensue. The length of finish of blackcurrant just lingers and lingers on the back palate and goes on and on. Should cellar 7-9 years and lovely with fillet mignon steak with a mushroom sauce. Value at around $30.

Jane Brook "Back Block" Shiraz 2003.

This Swan Valley Western Australian wine has been sourced from Shiraz vines that are 60 year old. Deep purple crimson and all youthful and fresh, there are lots of upfront spice filled blackberry, ripe satsuma plum and deep dark cherry aromas. Well integrated fruit with sweet oak follows accompanied by a good acid backbone. A savoury style nonetheless. Hints of earthiness and chocolate flow as secondary characters. Quite refined elegance with smooth silky soft fine tannins with a lingering berry fruit finish. Should cellar 5 plus years. Have with Spaghetti Bolognese. At around $25, very good value for a WA red of this calibre.

Wolf Blass Gold Label Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2005

Sensational! That's it! Don't you love my command of the wine lingo? This top Chardonnay delivers on all levels, fruit character, oak integration, acidity, structure, drinkability, cellaring capacity, elegance etc. This is one truly outstanding Chardonnay that is so damn good. You get all the varietal aromas of tropical fruit, peach and melon exhibiting lusciousness but also elegance. The acidity is minerally yet well integrated with the fruit to allow immediate enjoyment of drinking on its own and with food. The classic French oak treatment is not over the top but just right, along with malolactic fermentation imparts a lovely creamy finish to the wine, again not in a cloying fashion but with delicacy. Have with a seafood platter now and/ or cellar a few bottles for up t0 5 years. At around $22, outstanding value.

O'Leary Walker Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2004

Brilliantly water white and youthful. Gorgeous aromas emanate of polished pure fruit - fragrant. Tight, lean and elegant - minerally. Think peach, nectarine and tropical fruit notes with soft balanced acidity and smooth flavours. Lean bodied with a long aftertaste and creamy oak, well integrated with hints of toast and nutmeg. Subtle stirred lees complexity. Lusciously yet classically cool climate. Try with warm smoked chicken salad over 3-5 years. An excellent wine verging on the superb. About $22.

Pyramid Hill Semillon 2005

This Hunter Valley vintage was just a cracker and this in turn just accelerated into overdrive the classic Semillon grape that grows so well there. Gorgeously pale straw, the vibrancy emanates delivering delicate yet polished fresh fruit characters. Dry and flinty with aromas of lemon, gooseberry, straw and cut grass with hints of green apple. All citric lemon on the palate with classic varietal flavours. A good refreshing splash of acidity to boot provides just the right backbone for the fruit. Should cellar 5 plus years. A very good wine to have with Sydney rock oysters. About $17.

Stringy Brae Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2004

This is a classy elegant red that comes from this well regarded boutique Clare Valley winery. Well blended and crafted from varietals that fit together so well, with a splash of Malbec to boot. A youthful purple crimson violet, the wine exudes berry fruit. Blackcurrants, blackberry, mulberry, black olive and prunes. Luscious spicy distinctive deep fruit characters with a mocha quality. The French oak is well integrated and indistinguishable with smooth fine supporting tannins. Medium bodied with a long well rounded finish and a very pleasant aftertaste. Have with lamb shanks. Cellar 4-6 years plus. Very good value at around $22.

Blue Metal Vineyard Pinot Gris Sauvignon Blanc 2005

The people that make this wine are smart cookies. Why so you ask, well because they capitalise on what grows well in what can be a difficult region to grape some grape varietals i.e. the Southern Highland region of NSW. Blended well together you have this white that is predominantly and typically Pinot Gris touched up with Sauvignon Blanc. Classic pear, dry honeysuckle and rich musk on the nose which smoothly and softly reflects onto the palate with a lovely creamy rich nature contrasted with a good level of fruit acidity. Goes just right with stir fry chicken and cashew nuts. About $24.

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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