Basedow Johannes Barossa Shiraz 1999
This premium top shelf wine is released to honour Johannes Basedow who founded Basedow Wines in the Barossa Valley of South Australia in 1896. It is composed of especially selected parcels of top notch Barossa Shiraz and is matured in a mixture of French and American oak to produce a concentrated full bodied and full flavoured style of wine. Deep dark brooding brick red with crimson hues, it exudes lovely smooth rich aromas of blackberry and blackcurrants with hints of white pepper, vanillan oak and rich ripe dark plum. On the palate it delivers lingering soft smooth black fruit flavours with very fine tannins. Very mellow yet with a sense of unrestrained power in it. Years ahead of it, 7/10 years but drinkable now. Have with lamb shanks. Around $55.
Dominique Portet Fontaine Yarra Valley and Heathcote Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2002
What Dominique Portet does masterfully here is to bring together various classic red varietals such as the elegancy of the Yarra Valley Cabernet fruit with the substance and gravitas of the premium Heathcote Shiraz, all the addition of a touch of ripe soft Merlot to complete and augment the judicious blending. What ensues is a wine with depth of character, synergous of all the good things it brings together. Power, complexity and intense vibrancy ensues. Subtle yet well oaked entwined with distinct deep concentrated dark berry fruit savoury characters. Accompanied by soft fine tannins and a lingering length of finish. Perfectly blended and seamless in palate delivery. Have with roast lamb. Should cellar up to 5-6 years. At around $18, an absolute bargain.
Hungerford Hill Chardonnay 2005
Any wine from winemaker Philip John should put you on immediate notice of quality wine making to come. This Hunter Valley NSW winery has set out to craft a classy elegant number from Tumbarumba grapes of Southern NSW with Hunter Valley stock. It all comes together by way of some excellent blending. A youthful watery white, the wine exudes vibrancy and a clean tight nose. Minerally flintiness accompanied by citrussy grapefruit and green apple fragrances along with white peach. Supported by young fresh yet soft fruit acidity, the fruit is pure and persistent, well integrated with seamless subtle oak. A lean bodied style of wine with an extended length. Have with roasted vegetable salad with cous cous. Drink now for 3-4 years. Still very young though. At around $16, a bargain for this quality.
Island Brook Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2001
Respected West Australian Margaret River winery Island Brook Estate produces some very good quality wine from a magnificent location through its hard working owners, Peter and Linda Jenkins. This is reflected in the powerful yet elegant nature of the wine. A deep dark blackish purple colour with an incredible intensity. This is in turn reflected in the power of the primary blackberry and blackcurrant fruit broodingly deep aromas. It's also delivers smooth and richly on the palate with a generous array of chocolate and liquorice essences but in a savoury manner with a very good drinkability given its robust nature. The oak integration is just seamless but hand in glove with the deep dark berry fruit. An extended length of finish ensues that leaves a beautiful flavour on the back palate. At around $65-$70, at the super premium end of the market and deservedly so.
Lake Breeze Arthur's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Petit Verdot 2001
Deep dark purple in colour with crimson hues, this top of the range limited edition premium wine made by Greg Follett as a tribute to his great grandfather Arthur John Follett is one heavy hitter. Sourced from the Langhorne Creek region in South Australia, it is not a wine for the faint hearted. A dominant Cabernet blend ensues with 70% of it and the Petit Verdot balancing the rest. A big wine full of strong blackcurrant fruitcake allspice and nutmeg aromas with good solid cedary oak influence. Robust, strong concentrated blackberry and blackcurrant flavours lingering long on the back palate with firm fine tannins well integrated with the oak. Have this with Wagyu Beef. Will cellar 10 plus years and still nowhere near its peak. Around $30.
Murrin Bridge Chardonnay 2005
A new release for Australia's only Aboriginal community owned and operated vineyard near Lake Cargelligo, 500 km west of Sydney. The wine is made under contract by Bidgeebong Wines and this one is a blend of Wagga, Tumbarumba and Murrin Bridge fruit. A lovely pale straw colour, it emanates ripe clean crisp varietal Chardonnay fruit with classic white peach and tropical fruit aromas. Good supporting acidity makes this a lively fresh wine with a crisp fruit driven palate that lingers long. Very subtle oak influence ensues as well. Perfect with grilled barramundi fillets. At around $15, this is a very good chardonnay and indicative of what the winery is capable of achieving in coming years. Watch this space. Go to www.murrinbridgewines.com.au
St Hallett Barossa Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2005
A lovely straw colour with an alluring vibrancy. Spicy and upfront in fruit. All citrus and tropical fruit salad especially passion fruit with a hint of grassy or herbal nature emanating from the Semillon. Supported by lively marked acidity but accompanied with distinct potent intense fruit driven characters. Smooth and mouth filling, dry and lean bodied with an extended length. Have with Thai cuisine. Will hold 2/3 years. An easy drinking wine well priced at around $12.
Taylors Clare Valley Merlot 2004
The brand is all about quality, consistency of style and value for money. This Merlot reflects all of these tenets. A lovely purply crimson with ripe plum hues. Luscious vibrant and intense fruit characters. Soft black cherry, Satsuma plum and spicy fruitcake. Quite subtle cedary oak, good alcohol with velvety tannins, fine and soft with a lovely ripe plum mouth feel. Have with grilled lamb fillets. Drink for 3-4 years. Around $15.
Tempus Two "Ziggy" Viognier 2005
Wine dogs are the glue that bond wineries together. They are the characters that define each winery and make it its very own unique place. Ziggy is winery Tempus Two's wine dog and he has been there from the very start so a wine named in his honour is only a fitting tribute. This Viognier is a lovely mid yellow colour which exudes honeysuckle musk spice aromas that are upfront. A gorgeously refreshing palate ensues that is well rounded with apricot and spicy fruit characters and with a touch of sweetness, making it well balanced. Very easy to drink with Thai cuisine such as Pad Thai noodles. Nicely priced at around $15. Ziggy will be pleased with this!
Tyrrells Lost Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
A mid dark inky purply crimson youthful colour. Quite a complex nose, alluring in nature with intensity, vibrancy, hints of fruit spice and a good measure of alcohol. Persistent fruit flavours of Satsuma plum with dark berry fruit all in a concentrated manner. Secondary characters of liquorice, rich coffee with tobacco. Smooth tannins ensue, fine yet soft in delivery. Medium bodied in nature with a medium length of finish. Have with good strong camembert. Drink now for up to 3-5 years. At around $15, very good value.
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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