Wine Talk, January 2006

Wirra Wirra Vineyards Scrubby Rise Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Viognier 2005

A nice easy drinking Summer time white wine. Brilliant pale straw in colour. Think gooseberry, green apple, citrus, lychee and a hint of passionfruit. Vibrant and attractive in nature. Young fresh acidity supporting the fruit which is persistent and pure. Medium dry yet lean bodied. Have with chicken burritos. Have now. A good wine at around $15.

Montana Reserve Marlborough Pinot Gris (NZ) 2004

Light yellow with an alluringly aromatic classic varietal nose. This is what a Pinot Gris should be like. Gorgeous gushy ripe pears, rich apricots, honeysuckle spice and succulent apple. Just delightful aromas. Smooth rich and succulent on the palate, just lingers with the right touch of acidity. Mouth filling and quite full bodied with long flavours on the finish. Have with tuna pasta bake. Well priced at around $17. An excellent Pinot Gris.

Rothvale Vineyard Reserve Series Chardonnay 2002

A glorious yellow signifying this Hunter Valley wines maturity. Luscious aromas of delicious fruit, obvious, smooth and distinctive in nature, quite potent accompanied by soft fruit acidity. Citrus and peach with melon, a hint of buttery character. Generous, delicious and ample bodied. Quite muscular with along length of finish. Seamlessly balanced with totally integrated and some nutty vanillan oak. Have with moussaka, should cellar 2-3 years and value at around $22.

Ladbroke Grove Compadres Blend Cabernet Merlot 2002

A lovely crimson ripe plum colour accompanied by an alluring luscious vibrantly intense spicy nose, resplendent with upfront ripe fruit Persistent distinct potent fruit which has been well blended. Think blackberry and blackcurrants with lovely plum as well as liquorice and coffee mocha. Smooth silky tannins well rounded delivered in a medium dry style with mouth filling flavours of dark black fruit and an extended length. Have with salmon steaks over next 3-5 years. Around $25.

Stonier Chardonnay 2004

Made from top quality fruit from the Mornington Peninsula in Southern Victoria, this wine has a brilliant straw yellow hue. Quite floral yet classically varietal with nectarine, melon and a swirl of butterscotch. Elegant and vibrant with persistent and purity of stone fruit characters. Well integrated oak imparting a creamy texture and a lovely mouth feel that lingers long. Have with warm chicken salad. Well priced at around $25 and drinking for 3-5 years plus. An excellent Chardonnay.

Charles Melton Sparkling Red 2005 Disgorgement

A non vintage classic sparkling red blend from this top quality Barossa Valley winemaker. A special occasion wine that is a deep dark brooding purple red in colour. It exudes classically persistent ripe blackberry and rich blackcurrant fruit aromas with subtle plum nuances. Quite alluring and aromatic, luscious and full bodied. Tight berry fruit bubbles on the palate, quite young and assertive with fine lingering tannins. Good stuff, very drinkable and with the potential to develop into a very respectable classic over next 5-7 years plus. Top quality. Appropriately price at around $60. Have with roast turkey or roast chicken.

Arranmore Vineyard Black Pinot 2004

Premium boutique winemaker John Venus has crafted this little gem of a Pinot Noir from his Arranmore Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia. What you get here is a brick garnet red coloured wine with crimson tints. It is quite complex and vibrant aromatically. Amazingly distinct concentrated varietal Pinot characters. A ménage of dusty, cigar box, earthy cherry, tree bark, forest floor, black truffle and game aromas. Very French in style. Smooth potent fruit lingering with an extended length on the palate with cherry dominant flavours. Quite refined and intricate. Drinking perfectly now and for up to 2/3 years. Have with homemade lasagna. Well priced for such quality at around $30.

Mt Jagged Southern Fleurieu Single Vineyard Shiraz Viognier 2003

A powerful yet elegant Shiraz. Crimsony purple with brick red hues. Accompanied by a vibrancy and intensity of aromas. Spice filled and white pepper lashings flow from the persistent pure distinct potent fruit characters. Lifted floral elements from the 2% Viognier with stacks of black olive, blackberry fruit, aniseed and liquorice with earthy overtones, done in a savoury manner. Smooth silky tannins support the fruit, ample bodied and with a strong backbone and robust structure. An extended length of finish with well integrated spicy and nutmeg nuances from the 18 months of French oak treatment. Should cellar 5-7 years but drinking seamlessly now. Have with char grilled lamb cutlets in a Moroccan style marinade around $22. A very good wine.

Smith & Hooper Wrattonbully Limited Release Merlot 2002

I came across someone the other day lamenting how they just don't "get" Merlot. I can understand this sentiment as I too have felt along these lines many a time. Merlot is a very good and effective grape varietal when it comes to blending it with Cabernet or in Bordeaux style wine but on its own it can mean hard work for the drinker in finding one that suits. This one is worth a closer look. Winemaker, Peter Gambetta says the Wrattonbully region near Coonawarra in South Australia has synergies with this Merlot grape varietal. He has crafted this luscious example which is delivered with an intense and spice driven nose. The dark red cherry and ripe plum fruit is soft yet pure and distinct in nature. Smooth silky fine tannins present a well rounded wine, medium dry and balanced in components and structure. Have now and for the next 3-4 years with grilled Italian pork sausages. Quality at around $36.

Hungerford Hill Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2004

Greeny straw. Complex and alluring. Lusciously fruit driven. Vibrant with soft yet marked acidity. Pure distinct fruit characters, intensely varietal. Green olives, citrus lemon, peach and melon and tropical mango. Medium to ample bodied in style with a certain richness, a swirl of butterscotch and creamy texture on the palate. An extended length of finish with a lingering finish. Subtle French oak influence supports the cool climate fruit well. A very good wine. Priced at about $25.

Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Beautiful. Magnificent. Classic. I think you get the drift. This is top shelf Margaret River Western Australian Cabernet. All gorgeously crimsony purple in relative youth. Lovely deep blackcurrant and blackberry. Intense and brooding. Pure potent fruit that just flows from the glass. Silky smooth fine tannins support the wine's classic and elegant structure. Lingers long. Have with spaghetti puttanesca. Value at around $25.

Pyramid Hill Verdelho 2005

Nick Adler from this Upper Hunter winery has crafted a very nice easy drinking summer style of Verdelho. Verdelho is a Hunter stalwart and here it just delivers beautifully. Fruit driven, fresh and lively, all tropical fruit in nose. Lovely and clean with a citrus and tropical fruit palate, lingering long with good refreshing acidity. Smooth and really fruity. Perfect with prawns and scallops with lemon grass. Value at around $20.

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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