2019 Golden Grove Estate Malbec

Put your hand up if you have walked into a bottle shop and asked for a bottle of Malbec. Thought so…not many people have. Okay, so, that’s just an assumption by me but a pretty fair one I reckon. Let’s face it, the main ones that punters handed over their hard-earned dollars for are usually Cabernet, Shiraz, GSM blends and Pinot Noir.  Personally, I think it’s a shame because when you see examples like this one from the Granite Belt, people really need to expand their palates.

The colour, or should I say colours, are terrific! From the middle, it’s a glossy, shiny deep red/maroon, then towards the edges it becomes a vibrant plummy purple colour. The nose and palate exude that same vibrancy. Plenty of black fruits and dark plums present so beautifully and richly yet in no more than a slightly better than medium bodied way if you know what I mean. There’s a smooth and juicy, textural feel that fills every nook and cranny of your mouth. It’s nice and savoury with hints of herbs and spice, the tannins are a little drying but in balance with the abundant fruit and has pretty good length too. My word this is a good wine!!

Region: Granite Belt, Queensland     Price: $35 (Great buying!)     Source: Sample thanks to Golden Grove Estate

Golden Grove Estate Website

2019 Malbec

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Dynamic Rosé Duo from Angullong Wines & Huntington Estate

It’s that time of year isn’t it? In Tassie, weather wise, you just don’t know what the day is going to bring.  Take yesterday for instance.  It was a really nice morning, albeit a bit chilly and then we got wind and some rain.  Not a lot of rain but they were big chunky drops.  By lunchtime, nice and warm with the sun showing its face until grey clouds appeared and more rain but it was quite warm and bordering on humid.  Reading this back, I think the weather people need to introduce the term ‘confusing’ into their forecasts.  It seemed Mother Nature was unable to make up her mind what mood she was in.

It must be said that the Rosés of today are not, and I emphasis ‘are not’, just made for summer drinking.  They are so well made and most in such a style that makes them so universally adaptable, they are compatible to any situation be it weather wise, food wise, circumstance wise or mood wise.  These two really good Rosés seemed to have been made in preparation for anything Mother Nature is prepared to throw at the wine and food world.

2021 Angullong Fossil Hill Sangiovese Rosé

In the words of my wife, it’s a pretty, strawberry colour.  Very inviting aromatically thanks to fresh red berries and a touch floral too.  The palate is the place though.  It’s fresh, it’s juicy and a little savoury too.  Red berries and cherries are the go here, a hint of spice as well.  As you would expect, it’s nice and light in body but there is a nice bit of texture that provides some gentle palate weight, and lovely acid on the good dry finish.  It had me licking my lips for more that’s for sure.

Angullong Wines Website

Region: Orange, NSW Price: $26 Source: Sample courtesy of Angullong wines and Define Wine

2021 Huntington Estate Pinot Rosé

Lovely strawberry aromas get things started and things just move on up from here.  The palate is fresh, vibrant and full of flavour.  Fresh cherries and strawberries are the scene stealers with this gem.  Yes it’s light-ish but, similar to the previous one, it has a creamy/textural addition that seals in the flavour on the palate as it finishes dry, crisp and deliciously long.  With the smile on my face, I was like a cat coming out of the dairy.

Huntington Estate Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW Price: $27 Sample thanks to Huntington Estate

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2015 Grey Sands Pinot Noir

There is a really good, well worn, walking track close by that runs along the edge of the Derwent River.  It provides uninterrupted views of the river, Hobart and Mount Wellington/Kunanyi. Lately, there’s been some upgrading and it’s not as ‘worn’ as it was.  I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I find myself kicking rocks off the track in an attempt to make it more user friendly.  It didn’t take long before it was smooth again and the lumps, bumps and obstacles from the upgrade were ironed out and it was back to being a pleasure to walk on.

I sensed that this Tassie Pinot Noir would have been similar in its youth in that it would have had a few lumps and bumps that, over time and with a little patience, have been ironed out, resulting in a smooth and easily negotiated wine that is a pleasure to explore.  I have no doubt that is why Bob and Rita Richter hold their wines back so they themselves can ‘smooth the path’ for you to enjoy their wines at their absolute best.

Love the colour.  It is so pinot perfect.  The aromas are enticing as much as they are pretty and delicate.  You struggle not to want to look further.  It’s quite bold on the palate, a little meaty too, savoury for sure, dark cherries, blackberry plumpness and a ripe strawberry like character all working well together.  Tannins are, as you’d expect, present but providing support to the wine as a whole rather than a distraction from it, as it finishes long and with a certain elegance too.  From a very good vintage in Tasmania, this is a wine that I have no doubt has plenty of time on its side.

Grey Sands Website

Region: Glengarry, Tasmania     Price: $60     Source: A generous gift

Bottle shot of Grey Sands 2015 Pinot noir
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2019 Golden Grove Estate Granite Belt Joven Tempranillo

Taking nothing away from plenty of other wines I have been drinking, I am really enjoying this style of red wine.  There seems to be quite a few available now that have freshness coupled with plenty of flavour without needing a slab of protein to support them.  I also like that Tempranillos of this style are so easy to sit back and enjoy with a nice long lunch, and are so versatile when it comes to having them with a variety of foods/dishes.  This one, crafted by winemaker Ray Costanzo, fits the bill perfectly, thank you very much!

Mmmmm, the aromas captured my attention with this wine very early on.  A fresh berry and cherry bomb of a nose with just a hint of earthiness.  The medium-bodied palate has a nice, neat, balanced package of fruity, savoury and spicey elements.  Think blackberry, dark cherry, subtle hints of spice and black pepper, that earthiness is here too and a touch of red fruits giving it a sort of brightness kind of lift (if you know what I mean).  It’s very smooth with a touch of tannin sitting pretty, and very little oak influence at all.  It’s a very attractive wine now, so tuck in I say!

Region: Granite Belt, Queensland     Price: $35 (worth every cent!)     Source: Sample thanks to Golden Grove Estate

Golden Grove Estate Website

2019 Joven Tempranillo
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2021 Castle Rock Estate Riesling Triple Treat

We have friends who are triplets, 3 sisters, who we’ve known for many years. All born on the same day, the same year; obviously making them triplets.  Yet, they have such different personalities and idiosyncrasies that was attractive to their respective partners/husbands who themselves are different (meaning personality wise).  Nonetheless, they are very likeable in their own special way. 

These three Rieslings were harvested on the same day and subsequently (pretty much) bottled on the same day.  I reckon that makes them triplets.  Like our friends, they have their own personalities, are likeable in their own way and will each attract particular punters who like their individual characteristics.

(FYI, all were tasted over three days. The Skywalk and Porongurup hardly changed yet the RS21 seemed to develop more flavour and show the excellent balance between acid and sugar even more so).

2021 Castle Rock Estate Skywalk Riesling

A little shy to begin with but soon opened up and showed freshness and good aromatics of citrus, a little musky and floral too.  That freshness is repeated on the palate with rich flavours of lemons and limes, lemon sherbet like characters, mouth-watering acidity and it finishes long and dry.  This is lovely Riesling and great value for money.

Price: $21

2021 Castle Rock Estate Porongurup Riesling

This one is certainly not shy on the nose.  Nicely aromatic straight up in similar fashion to the Skywalk with citrus and floral characters.  Generous fruit flavours on the palate where it’s more limey than lemony, a minerally note there too. The acidity is obvious but is so delicate and fine on the excellent, elegant and lengthy finish.  This is exceptional value for money and would easily sit alongside those in the $30+ range.

Price: $26

2021 Castle Rock Estate ‘RS21’ Riesling

This was a very pleasant wine indeed.  Gee it’s beautifully balanced.  The natural acidity providing freshness and vibrancy while the 21grams residual sugar adding some body to the mid and back palate.  It has lovely, smooth lime characters (yes, that seems odd but it’s true), a nice textural feel as well, and finishes a little crisp and refreshing.  There’s no doubt Rob Diletti has nailed the acid and sugar equilibrium.  Like its two siblings, this too is great value.

Price: $21

Castle Rock Estate Website

Region: Great Southern, WA     Source: Sample courtesy of Castle Rock Estate and Define Wine

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2020 Pig in the House Organic Shiraz

This may sound a bit odd, but when I opened this wine, poured it, smelt it and then tasted it, the first thing that came to mind (with a grin on my face) was, gee this is a cheeky little bugger. I couldn’t help but think about my (nearly) 4 year old grandson who does and says things that are so cheeky, yet so innocent that you can’t help but love him for it. 

This wine seemed to do the same for me in that it presented everything from the start in such a way that I couldn’t help but smile and nod my head in appreciation, almost like it looked at me out of the corner of its eye with a coy look on its face telling me, “You like me don’t you?”  Damn right I did.

As you’d expect, it smells fresh, youthful and so, so primary.  Red fruits aplenty and a little spicy too.  BUT (capital letters are deliberate) tasting it is where you really get to know this wine.  Dark cherries are balanced out by the freshness of raspberries, there’s a mid-palate plum like textural feel with a delicate spice character note too.  This may not make sense, however, there is modest richness about the flavours making this wine such a congenial and affable, yet cheeky youngster. 

piginthehouse.com.au

Region: Canowindra, NSW     Price: $25     Source: Sample courtesy of Windowrie and Define Wine

Pig in the House Shiraz 2020
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2021 Carillion ‘Lovable Rogue’ Vermentino

Another lovable rogue to get your mitts on, gee I enjoyed this Vermentino and so did my better half.  It was such that we both even took the time to contemplate it, consider it and briefly talk about it together.  Not that that is unusual, but it actually speaks volumes of the wine.

The aromas are a very good introduction to this wine.  It’s fresh, citrussy, a little floral too.  Those aromas hang around as you take your first sip where it’s rich, vibrant and textural on the light to medium bodied palate.  It’s a little complex too when it comes to the flavour profile.  It has a subtle zing to it like lemon sherbet but an apricoty character providing a nice mouth feel.  A refreshing apple like acidity and a hint of a spicy note also present as part of the complete package, finishing off nice and long.

https://www.carillionwines.com.au/

Region: Hunter Valley, NSW     Price: $30    Source: Sample courtesy of Carillion Wines and Define Wine

Lovable Rogue 2017 Vermentino
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2021 Carillion ‘Lovable Rogue’ Fiano

A work colleague asked me what interesting wines I had drunk lately and, amongst others, I showed him a photo of this wine.  His response, “I’ve never heard of Fiano.”  I had a bit of a chuckle because he pronounced it like ‘piano’.  In his defence, he doesn’t drink a lot of wine so it is an easy mistake to make.  He proceeded to ask me about it and, after providing him with a bit of information, he genuinely thought it sounded like a wine he and his wife would probably enjoy.  I couldn’t help but encourage him to do so.

I found this to be a very interesting yet very enjoyable wine.  It was nice and fruity (think stonefruits and pears) with a bit of a citrusy zip (grapefruit like) to it, a hint of residual sugar and some good texture to boot.  It seems to linger on the palate too where that texture and delicate acidity combine perfectly with the fruit to provide balance and pretty good length.  I have long been a fan of Fiano and this one just reinforces why.  A lovable rogue indeed!

https://www.carillionwines.com.au/

Region: Hunter Valley, NSW     Price: $30    Source: Sample courtesy of Carillion Wines and Define Wine

Lovable Rogue 2021  'Abboccato' Fiano
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2021 Golden Grove Estate Brosé Rosé

I think the days of rosé being a light red wine and not being taken seriously are long gone.  Even the term, ‘Rosé Revolution’ seems to have faded off into the wine horizon.  Rosé stands alone as a wine style in its own right now and so it should.  Many are consistently receiving high scores from critics, being draped with medals, awarded trophies and featured in magazines.  I’ve been lucky to have tried many excellent ones over the last couple of years or so and here I go again!!

A blend of mainly Sagrantino with a good portion of Vermentino and a small percentage of Sauvignon Blanc, this is all geared up to provide great aromatics (and it does) and plenty of flavour (and it does this too).

Lovely fresh strawberries dominate the aromas, but the other varieties contribute a slight stonefruit and herbal like characters.  The palate is the place to get excited though.  That freshness continues with strawberries again the main player with a hint of red cherry in support.  Again, like the two previous Golden Grove Estate wines, texture is a beautiful part of the whole of this wine.  Combine this with the fruit flavours that linger longing on the taste buds, and it is not hard to keep topping up your glass.

Golden Grove Estate Website

Region: Merbein, Victoria     Price: $26    Source: Sample thanks heaps to Golden Grove Estate (Ray Costanzo)

2021 Rose Brose
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2021 Golden Grove Estate Vermentino

I sometimes see on social media where people I went to school with have done quite well for themselves.  Interestingly though, they were never a ‘shining light’ at school.  They were not a teacher’s pet nor a star sports person, just one of the students in the class.

My opinion only of course, but Vermentino is a variety that seems to fit in this category.  Amongst all the other white varieties, and I realise it is not the only one, it seems to have risen in popularity in a quiet, unassuming way and it’s done it on the back of top quality wines like this one.

Delightfully fresh and aromatic, things got off to a very attractive start with this Vermentino.  On the palate there is plenty of flavour on offer yet it seems so smooth, subtle and self-effacing.  It’s peachy, peary, slightly citrusy and creamy too.  There’s texture, mouthfeel and very good length adding to its ‘all-round, damn good wine’ status.

Golden Grove Estate Website

Region: Granite Belt, Queensland     Price: $35    Source: Sample thanks heaps to Golden Grove Estate (Ray Costanzo)

2021 Vermentino
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