Wine Talk, October 2005

Beechtree Frontignac 2003

Beechtree wines are a small boutique wine company based in Adelaide, South Australia. They get the grapes for this wine from the Rutherglen region in Victoria. Light aromatic yet with a subtle richness, the wine exudes vibrancy and is fruit driven in style. Quite floral on the nose with a touch of sweetness emanating. Light, citrus fruit on the palate with a certain minerality. Have with cheese platter. Drinking now. An easy drinking wine. About $15.

Doonkuna Shiraz 2001

This Canberra winery has pulled off quite a coup with this wine with a stack of well earned medals down the side of the bottle. Real medals from wine shows that count. A wine on the market with some serious bottle age together with characters that illustrate the potential of the varietal to develop positively. Lovely crimson red with garnet hues. Subtle earthy berry fruit with cigar box and light smokey hints. Medium length blackberry fruit finish, soft and well integrated with the oak, supple and well balanced. The age has done it good turning into a very good food match with roast beef. At around $25, well priced for an aged Shiraz.

Downing Vineyard Estate Merlot 2002

This is one very good Merlot from the Heathcote region in central Victoria. Deep dark ripe plum in colour with red brick hues. A vibrantly intense spice driven alluring red with a good measure alcohol and subtle vanillan oak influences. The fruit is pure distinct concentrated and potent. It is intensely varietal Merlot with lots of ripe plum, fresh blackberry and rich spicy fruitcake flavours. A lingering length with soft ripe tannins ensues. Have with Shepherds Pie. Cellar 3-5 years plus. Well priced for such top quality merlot at around $35.

Killerby Classic Wines - Dry Red and Dry White 2004

These two wines from this Western Australian winery recently caught my eye as very good quaffers that are exceptionally priced at under $10 given their contents. These are impressive wines of high quality representing very good value. The Classic Dry White is luscious and lively. Distinct and potent fruit emanates tropical fruit salad with dominant passion fruit and also classic varietal flavours of peach and melon. Light and fresh with lovely creamy finish. Have with king prawns. The Classic Dry Red is a deep purple plum colour. The fruit is concentrated and persistent accompanied by silky fine soft tannins. All blackberry and blackcurrants with a touch of liquorice. Medium dry style, a touch of vanillan oak and an extended length. A good casserole wine. Top buys, both of them.

Philip Shaw No 11 Chardonnay 2004

You probably recognise the name as it represents top quality Australian winemaking, 38 years of it to be exact. Philip Shaw worked with Rosemount Estate and Southcorp in senior winemaking roles from 1982 to 2002. In 1985, he developed an affinity with the Orange highland region of NSW which led to the purchase of the Koomooloo cool climate vineyard in 1988. Sixteen years later he has proudly launched his wines under his own brand. This Chardonnay is one of his dream wines. A gorgeous pale straw yellow, it exudes complexity and elegance from the first moment. Minerally and delicately fragrant, it has lovely white peach aromas complete with lemon and grapefruit hints, subtle yet persistent. Soft smooth yet with lively mouth feel. Stone fruit on the palate, resplendently luscious yet still restrained. Tight, young and still in its infancy. Has 5 plus years in it. Quality stuff. Have with lobster tails. About $30, which is well priced for such quality and style.

Redhouse 2004 Shiraz Grenache

This is the third release of this very quaffable high quality red wine sourced from McLaren Vale Grenache and Barossa Valley Shiraz in South Australia. Deep crimson red in colour projecting juicy succulent melded plum and blackberry fruit with hints of rich dark chocolate. Loads of upfront sweet ripe fruit but done in a savoury style of finish. Silky and velvety tannins mould with the fruit flavours and subtle oak producing a lovely smooth mouth feel with berry fruit on the finish. Lively and fresh yet well balanced despite a good measure of alcohol. Perfect with Indian cuisine. About $18.

Shadowfax Sauvignon Blanc 2004

A very drinkable Sauvignon Blanc delivered in a soft well rounded manner with no rough or sharp acidic edges that often spoil this style. Indeed what you get is a subtle elegancy form the aromas of tropical fruit, lychee and guavas - that just linger and waft effortlessly from the glass. As I said, really soft and smooth on the palate with the tropical fruit ménage` carrying through making this a very easy drinking style one that you don't need food to accompany it with. A lazy Sunday afternoon drop, a quality one at that and one worth the $30 price tag. Drink now.

Tim Adams The Aberfeldy Shiraz 2003

A top shelf quality wine from Tim Adams which has recently received accolades and recognition it rightly deserves for the consistency of the brand from respected Langtons Updated Classification of Australian Wine as one of Australia's best collectable drops. Sourced from the Aberfeldy vineyard in Clare, South Australia, the wine is worth every bit of its $50 price tag. Screwcapped with confidence by Adams, the wine exudes youthful rich purple succulence. This transfers into exotic tight black berry fruit and intoxicating rich plum aromas. The alcohol at nearly 15% is not overly reflected on the palate and sits in well with good acid structure and well integrated oak. Imparting smoothness, eminent drinkability and fine soft tannins that promise a long future - 10-15 years plus. Drink with roast lamb. An outstanding wine.

Water Wheel Memsie Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Rousanne 2005

This is a predominant Sauvignon Blanc wine with some Semillon and Rousanne blended into it. Pale straw, luscious and aromatic in its aromas. Young, fresh and quite pronounced crisp acidity. Distinct and potent fruit made in a dry style complement the acidity. Perfumed musk, peach, tropical fruit flavours all rolled into one wine. Drink now. A lovely Sunday afternoon quaffer. Well priced at about $12.

Wirra Wirra Woodhenge McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003

This wine is a tribute to the late Greg Trott's unique vision of Wirra Wirra wines. It is named after the massive post and rail fence which formed part of Greg's vision of the winery and its wines and how the fence represents Wirra Wirra as a monument to big ideas. Unsurprisingly the ensuing name of the big bold wine made in his tribute, was Woodhenge. Deep dark rich and brooding dark purple with crimson hues. The liqueur rich bold nose exudes intensely tight knit blackberry and ripe plum fruit aromas, restrained, concentrated and promising much. Smooth blackberry velvety rich succulent fruit on the palate with extraordinary lingering length that just coats the throat in chocolate, liquorice and fine berry fruit flavours. Good tannin, acid structure and oak integration for such a young wine. Should improve over the next decade. Well priced at around $28. A fitting and appropriate tribute for a man who devoted his wine making life to developing such a wine as this.

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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