2018 Yelland & Papps Second Take Rousanne

Adding interest to a wine can be as easy as letting a wine add interest to itself. Take this wine for example.  Extended maceration, wild ferment, placed in 100% old French oak for a year, unfined and unfiltered and plenty of ‘sediment’ to stir up before pouring.  Definitely a wine that provides some intrigue for your wine loving friends and will certainly get the conversation started, if not about it’s construction, then about it’s tasting and drinking.

If you do the recommended thing and “mix before serving”, you are in for a lovely surprise, for the intrigue starts here.  The colour itself is interesting.  Clarity is a word that needs to be forgotten.  Cloudy is certainly the word but not to the detriment of the aromas or flavours.  It gets started with aromas of honeyed pear juice, a dab of banana and a nice citrus note too.  Similar flavours on the texturally generous palate but it seems almost alive.  I know what you’re thinking, but that’s how it seemed.  A virtual naturally natural, genuine and nicely balanced wine that proved to be a winner with our little group of wine appriecianados.

Yelland & Papps Website

Region: Barossa Valley, SA     Price: $45     Source: Sample thanks to Yelland & Papps

Second Take Roussanne

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2013 Huntington Estate Vintage Fortified Shiraz

This was quite, let’s say, interesting for me.  I cannot remember ever reviewing a fortified wine…ever!  I mean, I’ve tried plenty of them and I am, without a doubt, a fan so to put one in a glass for me to try, there’s definitely going to be a positive attitude towards it.  This however required a different approach (if you like) because it involved reviewing it.  I was sort of compelled to look at it more deeply and, fair enough too.  I rather liked the challenge and welcomed it.  Ultimately, on a good note, it gave me more of an appreciation of this style of wine rather than just utter the words, “I like this” or just sit back and enjoy it.

To start with, I felt sorry for this wine because I’ve no doubt it confuses those who don’t know how to treat it.  Fortified is not a word that rings true to many thanks to a European country that ‘patented’ the words ‘Port’ and ‘Tawny’, which are more in keeping with the knowledge of the masses (no offence intended).  It looks just like any other red wine in the glass, yet it can’t, and doesn’t, say, “I’m not your usual red wine so don’t have me with steak” kinda thing.  This only becomes obvious when you smell it and try it.  Speaking of which, let me tell you what I thought of it.

If you do buy a bottle, have a look at the colour from the top of the glass.  It is deep and dense in the middle and peters out to a pretty crimson on the edges.  It smells fresh and fruity and sweet thanks to some blackberry and blackcurrant aromas.  The palate is quite rich where those same fruits are dominant and complimented by some slight licorice notes.  As I tasted it over three days, the black fruit characters hung around with the addition of fulsome mid palate plums as the licorice character faded. You can’t escape the sweetness but it is in balance with the fruit, and gee it lingers beautifully on the palate.

People may not agree with me on this but, as much as it will stand the test of (some) time, drink up I say.  It is most enjoyable now too.

Huntington Estate Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $25     Source: Sample thanks to Huntington Estate and Define Wine

2013 Huntington Estate Vintage Fortified Shiraz

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2017 Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Shiraz

Scrubby Rise as a straight Shiraz?  Did Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot want nothing to do with it, or did Shiraz think it was that good it could go it alone this vintage?  Is there going to be a Scrubby Rise Cabernet Sauvignon?  I’m secretly (not so anymore obviously) hoping there will be.  If Wirra Wirra can produce a Shiraz of this quality and price, I’ve no doubt they can do the same with a Cab Sav (with a touch of PV).  How lucky are we punters?

A very fresh, juicy and fruitful nose and I thought it almost a bit floral too, but it’s the tasting and drinking where it counts for this wine.  There’s a certain level of richness thanks to plenty of red fruits and plums, a minimal dark fruit influence with a hint of spice (don’t ask me which ones, it just has some).  There was a bit of a medicinal character to begin with but that proved to be not a worry as it dissipated with air and time. The tannins and oak don’t demand attention from a wine that is perfectly made for early consumption and is definitely going to be a crowd pleaser.  Bargain buying right here!

Wirra Wirra Website

Region: McLaren Vale, SA     Price: $15 (Bargain)     Source: A very kind mate


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2018 Dr Edge Pinot Noir

In case you didn’t know, Dr Edge is a play on the surname of the winemaker and owner of this label, Peter Dredge.  If you have met him and/or know him, this sort of thing comes as no surprise.  He is a creative fellow who is an extremely efficient, particular and talented winemaker, yet an affable and genuine person too.  You can’t help but like the rascal.

He makes four pinot noirs all up, but this one is made from fruit sourced from vineyards in the north, south and east of Tasmania.  If there was a vineyard on the west coast of Tasmania, I’ve no doubt Pete would’ve sourced some grapes from there too and included them in this wine.  He has brought the climatically and regionally different fruit together to produce a beautiful wine that is true to the variety.

A glistening cherry red colour in the glass, it has delicate yet intense aromatics.  This sounds odd I know but that’s how it seemed to me and it’s all red fruits at this stage of proceedings.  No different on the palate either and don’t be fooled by the colour.  There’s plenty of juicy raspberries and strawberries, with a slight sour cherry note, all of which are the fruits of choice.  There’s a funkiness that, to me, suggests some whole bunch inclusion, lots of flavour to take in, delicate tannins, and there’s persistence and elegance.  Everything seems in perfect balance right now but I’m sure it would appreciate some time in the cellar, but not too much.  Loved this pinot noir a lot!

Dr Edge Website

Region: North, South & East Tasmania     Price: $50     Source: Online Purchase



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2017 Huntington Estate ‘Tim Stevens Signature’ Shiraz Cabernet

I know this sounds bizarre, but have you ever been in a situation where you thought time just stood still?  I realise this is not possible, but people say things like this has happened to them in some situations.  How about an experience where there was a certain stillness in everything around you, yet what you were doing or feeling seemed like the only thing happening.  Has a wine ever done that to you?  This one seemed to do it for me.  What an amazing wine this is.  Grabbing and owning my attention for the whole experience…seriously!  That’s not an easy thing to do which says a lot about this wine.

Now, I have to admit to having certain expectations about this wine.  I was lucky enough to try the 2016 Tim Stevens Signature (which is a straight Shiraz) and was blown away by it.  Add to that the price and I don’t reckon I’d be criticised for having high expectations.  Well, after trying it,  I am of the view this wine should increase in price commensurate with its quality, just like certain other premium Australian wines.

A beautiful, youthful purple colour of course.   Delightful aromas of juicy red and blue fruits, herbs and a pleasant oak influence (not surprising considering the 60% new American oak used for the shiraz) but you can tell this is just a tease for what is in store.  ‘Exuberance’ would be the number one way to describe what you find when tasting it.  A close second would be luxurious.

It has all the freshness and up front fruit of a young and exciting wine.  Abundant black and blue fruits partnering up nicely with the oak providing a balanced and lush feel on the palate.  Smooth, suave and sophisticated tannins add to the class of this wine as it shimmies and saunters its way to a terrific length.  If you couldn’t tell by my notes, I loved this wine.  It seems so complete now (with a bit of air time) yet has a great future as well.  The best of both worlds!

Huntington Estate Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $100     Source: Sample thanks to Huntington Estate and Define Wine


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2017 De Iuliis LDR Vineyard Shiraz Touriga

I recently mentioned in another review that there is only one state in this mighty fine country of ours that has wine regions that I am yet to visit.  In case you didn’t read it, New South Wales is that state I was referring to.  Now, I’m not sure how that came to be and I have no excuses or reasons, it’s just how things have played out over the last 20+ years.  As fate would have it, my wife and I now have very close family (our 2 grandsons and their parents) living in Sydney.  As a result of that, there will be frequent trips to see them and the distinct possibility of factoring in a journey ‘out west’.  I simply have no excuse anymore.  It’ll be the perfect opportunity to visit wineries like this one and experience tasting terrific wines just like this one.

A very pleasant floral nose with added aromas similar to a berry basket full of ‘fruits of the forest’ too.  The palate is pretty darn good! Fresh, fat, rich and juicy ripe fruits galore.  There’s plums, blueberries and blackcurrants with a creamy vanilla and milk chocolate kind of texture.  It’s beautifully broad on the palate, the tannins are lovely and fine, and there’s plenty of length to please many a punter.  This is a super delicious, yummy wine that is very well, almost ridiculously priced.

De Iuliis Wines Website

Region: Hunter Valley, NSW     Price: $40 (Seems wrong but it can be picked up cheaper if you shop around)     Source: A gift from a generous mate who certainly knows his wine, Steve Lezynski


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2014 Robert Stein Reserve Shiraz

We caught up with a small group of friends recently, all of whom have travelled.  ‘Extensively’ would not be quite right but they get about.  The discussions revolved around where in the world we had all seen (not that we have seen that much of it) but it quickly came back to how much of Australia we haven’t seen.  For my wife and I, it even got down to how much of Tassie (our home state) we are yet to explore.

Our friends know my interest in wine and the subject came up about the wine regions in Australia.  They all assumed I had been to them all.  When I mentioned how I had been to all except any of the regions in New South Wales, they were a bit shocked to say the least. One of the couples had been and, yes, they spoke of the more “well known” region in NSW, but they were very complimentary about Mudgee and surrounds.  Yep, Mudgee.  They said it just seemed more personal and intimate and not so touristy.

I know I’ve mentioned this before but, thanks to Dave Cumming of Define Wine, I now have more of an appreciation of the wineries of the Mudgee area and the wines being produced.  It is indeed on list of places we must visit, and sooner rather than later.

The first thing that captured my attention was the age of this wine.  It doesn’t resemble a five year old wine, certainly not when it comes to the colour and aromas.  It seems so fresh on both counts (apart from a slight earthy aroma on the nose).  There is a sweet fruit (blackcurrant?) note on the nose with a complimentary cedary oak character too.

There’s a lot to like with the flavours even if it is only medium bodied (and I mean this in a good way).  Rich black fruits, a plummy mid palate (I like this in a wine) and a licorice/fennel sort of influence as well as it trails off on a long, smooth finish.

Bearing in mind this is a quality, premium wine designed to be drunk with a bit of age, expect some tannin (quite delicate but showy) and oak at this point in it’s youth.  They are simply part of the structure of the wine and, at this adolescent part of its life, it’s doing very well considering.  To be fair to it and yourself, give it some time in a decanter.  Otherwise, may I suggest you buy some for your cellar.  It will reward patience.

Robert Stein Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $50     Source: Sample thanks to Robert Stein Wines and Define Wines

Robert Stein Reserve Shiraz


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