Baileys of Glenrowan 1920's Block Shiraz 2003
Sourced from 1920's vines, and from an individual block of Shiraz, this is really deep dark purple in colour. Uplifted satsuma plum with rich sweet blackberry fruit, the aromas are intoxicatingly rich and earthy. A hint of liquorice with dark chocolate ensues as secondary characters. Smooth and lusciously blackberry fruit laden flavours with well balanced oak on the palate. Powdery fine tannin structure gives a lovely long finish. A really good wine with a long future of 10 plus years ahead of it. Try with roast beef. Around $25.
Cape Mentelle Shiraz 2003
This is what a Margaret River Shiraz should taste like. Typically varietal and regional is a pretty good compliment. This reknown Western Australia boutique winery under the leadership of respected winemaker/ CEO Dr Tony Jordan has deliberately set out to craft a high quality varietal example from its vineyards and the complexity of this wine demonstrates its capacity to deliver at the highest level and the fruits of its regional influence. Seductively purple crimson, it delivers brooding dark berry fruit of rich ripe blackberry entertwined with carefully integrated cigar box cedary oak, along with smoky hints. The spice filled fruit also delivers with a hint of pepper, liquorice and an earthy character flowing through to the palate. Soft well rounded, fine lingering tannins produce a long finish, fruit driven yet also with a savoury dimension to its style. Top notch stuff. About $35. Cellar 7 years plus. Have with roast pork.
Climbing Merlot 2004
Hailing from the cool climate Orange region in NSW and being crafted by respected winemaker Philip Shaw, this wine had good origins. Ripe plum with crimson hints, it exudes vibrant and luscious spicy fruit characters. The dark berry fruit is persistent, pure and distinctive in nature. Thick blackberry and satsuma plum. Quite fragrant and floral, it is accompanied by soft acidity and a velvety mouthfeel making it both generous and delicious to savour. Very well balanced for a relatively youthful red. Drinking for 2-3 years and well priced around $16.
Giant Steps Pinot Noir 2004.
The Yarra Valley in Victoria increasingly seems to be the place to craft out high quality examples of Australian Pinot Noir. Giant Steps winery is up there with the Yarra Valley stalwarts in producing really good Pinot Noir. No easy feat as it is one of the most finicky grape varietals to produce and make wine from. However when all is good, it's really really good and it makes you wax lyrically about it. A bit like me now. Moving on, this one has a lovely purple red character and vibrant and fresh as well as being fruit driven with loads of red cherry, sweet strawberry and ripe raspberry aromas - resulting in uplifted fruit laden complexity of the nose. Silky fine yet smooth on the palate, it delivers plum fruit characters with dark cherries and prunes as well as notes of truffle and forest floor. Drinking now for 3-4 years. An excellent wine. Around $25, which is a bargain price for good Pinot Noir that can at most times be hard to find in this country.
Lillypilly Estate Chardonnay 2005
No surprises here when I tell you this is a classic warm climate Chardonnay varietally. Lovely mid yellow in colour, its aromas are varietal peach and melon, delivered with a full lusciously rich character with fresh lively acidity supporting the fruit. Lightly oaked with a long smooth creamy finish on the palate. Not overwhelmingly big but generous nonetheless. Well made and should develop over the next 3-4 years. Try with tandoor roasted lamb cutlets marinated in yoghurt, sandalwood powder, ginger and saffron. Around $12 . A very good wine.
Lindemans Limestone Ridge Coonawarra Vineyard Shiraz Cabernet 2001
This is one of those wines I cut my wine teeth on in my wine youth. I get a bit nostalgic when I write about it, reflecting on its glory days and mine. You see fifteen years ago (yes I am only a young pup) this was benchmark stuff on the Australian wine scene. In the meantime the wine's history suffered some ups and downs, and had its fair share of trials and tribulations over the ensuing years. It copped flak quite a lot of it - some warranted, others not. Gladly it survived. 2001 is a very good (not great) Coonawarra vintage so the expectations for this one are quite high. At around $40 plus, this level of expectation gets even more accentuated. Shiraz and Cabernet are hand in glove grape blends. They may not be the sexiest combination in modern times, but they work well together, a lesson other winemakers might wish to take more heed of. Oh, the wine you ask. Well it delivers well in fact but please remember it is still a young pup (a bit like my good self). Broodingly youthful deep crimson purple. Gorgeous upfront vibrant berry fruit with blackcurrant notes. Full bodied, good fine firm tannins flow and a fine solid robust structure, it promises much. Lots of oak, a real lot of oak, so much some of you may not like it in its current state as some of it is still to integrate into the fruit. The ones that like bigger wines will no doubt like it now though. Velvety berry fruit lusciousness does linger long on the palate. This is not a drink now wine, instead cellar 7-10 years plus and start tasting in about 2 years time. Try with Wagyu beef and field mushrooms.
Pieter Van Gent Muller Thurgau 2005
Muller Thurgau! - don't thumb your nose up please. This Mudgee NSW wine producer has made a lovely aromatic white wine from this well known grape varietal that has Germanic origins and is viewed with commonality and indifference here in Australia. Fresh and tropical in nature, loads of pineapple, lychee and guavas. Clean and lean bodied in nature, with a good length of finish, this is fruit driven well balanced style that delights leaving a refreshing mouthfeel. Have with tandoori chicken. Well priced at around $ 15, it's well worth a try.
Seppelt Salinger 2002
Under crown seal, and not a bubbly cork, this sparkling wine attracts immediate attention. Emanating from a cool vintage, what ensues has great character and persistent flavour. Made in the classic French style by respected wine maker, Arthur O'Connor, the refinement and elegance of this wine is instantly recognisable. Compiled from a cuvee of Tumbarumba, Yarra Valley and Piccadilly fruit, the wine is blended excellently from classic 2002 vintage stock. Tight bubbles, quite firm citrine characters, some yeasty and light toast characters yet delivered with soft marked acidity and a lusciously smooth creamy aftertaste. Have with a dozen Sydney rock oysters. At around $30, this is high quality and excellent value.
Tollana Bin TR 16 Shiraz 2004
An interesting red from an often underrated producer that has fallen underneath the radar. Sourced from Shiraz from both the Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills regions in South Australia, this is an aromatic spicy red that is broodingly all dark berry fruit in aromas. Big upfront yet still quite balanced. Well oaked yet well integrated between fruit, acidity and oak characters. A fine soft tight tannin structure supports all of the above indicating a promising future. Long lingering dark rich blackberry flavours flow on the palate. Cellar 5-7 years. Drinking well right now and quite easy drinking - around $16. Good value and a nice wine to try with bbq pork ribs.
Wolf Blass Gold Label Sauvignon Blanc 2005
This comes from the cool climate Mount Gambier region of South Australia. Delicately pale straw, the wine is aromatically and varietal Sauvignon Blanc. You get lovely primary aromas of gooseberry, passionfruit and citrus with secondary notes of green pea and sweaty character. Fresh and zesty, it is well rounded in mouthfeel with softness in its subtle underlying acidity. Quite delicious and drinking very well now. About $25.
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 Paul_Ippolito@hotmail.com where you can also request to be placed on his mailing list for his newsletter.
or visit his website at: www.paulippolito.com.au
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