2015 Levantine Hill Colleen’s Paddock Pinot Noir

I haven’t met the owner of Levantine Hill, Elias Jreissati, but I have read and been told quite a bit about him.  He is a self made man who worked bloody hard to get where he is today not withstanding a bump or two along the way.  Despite all of his success, he hasn’t forgotten from where it all began for him.  Talking to those who work for him at Levantine Hill, he is a kind and genuine person and the only reason they will leave is retirement.  I don’t work at Levantine Hill but I hope to be drinking Levantine Hill wines long after I retire.

If only you could see the colour of this wine.  It is truly lovely and beautifully burgundian in appearance.  It took some swirling to get the aromas up and going but, when it showed itself, it was extremely inviting with primary red fruits, cherries and a little bit herbal and stemmy (some whole bunch maybe?).

A paragraph for the palate I think.  It is gorgeous. Plain and simple.  It’s juicy, fruity (ripe raspberries and red cherries), a touch savoury, delicious and smooth.  It’s rich and powerful yet delicate, lush and incredibly mouth-filling.   It finishes a bit dry with lovely fine tannins picking up the terrific fruit again taking it on a lengthy ride for what seems like days.

An excellent example of just how good the 2015 Yarra Valley vintage was, and of how a winemaker let it show its best.

Levantine Hill Website

Region: Yarra Valley, Victoria     Price: $200     Source: Generous Gift


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2018 Gartelman ‘Benjamin’ Semillon

With summer pretty much telling us it’s here, we will be looking for fresh, fruity and zesty whites for warm nights and lazy weekends on the deck.  It’s completely understandable that some people go for the ‘mainstream’ whites but please don’t forget to add Semillon to your list.  Excellent ones like this at such a good price offers great value.  Get on it!

Loved the aromas, loved them.  It smells clean and vibrant with lovely zesty lemon freshness.  This love continued on the palate with terrific citrusy fruit intensity.  Lemons again, limes riding alongside with delicious fine and persistent acidity.  There’s a deft touch of texture then the acidity comes again providing a fresh, delightful finish.  I thoroughly enjoyed this wine regardless of its obvious youthfulness and I’ve no doubt it will bring enjoyment in a decade or so…if you can leave the screwcap in place for that long.

Not only will the price attract some immediate attention, winning the trophy at the 2019 Hunter Valley Boutique Wine Show will definitely shine a light on this little beauty.

Gartelmann Website

Region: Upper Hunter Valley, NSW     Price: $27      Source: Sample courtesy of Gartelmann Wines and Define Wine

Gartelmann 2018 Semillon

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2019 Angullong ‘Fossil Hill’ Rosé

As things warm up and we get deeper into the Summer season, we are going to see advertisments encouraging us to slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat.  Well, I’d like to encourage you to slip a bottle of this Rosé in the fridge, slop some into a glass, and slap your mate with a high five for doing so.  The Rosé train does not appear to be slowing down at all.

Made completely from Sangiovese, the nose reeks of strawberries and redcurrants luring you in and piques your curiosity to find out more.  Lovely flavours of cherries, cranberries and a dash of spice make this an extremely attractive proposition for the summer months ahead (or with Asian style food).  There’s something zippy, refreshing and acidic too as it finishes nice and dry, just how we like our Rosés.

Angulong Website

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

Angullong FH Rose 2019

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2019 Angullong ‘Fossil Hill’ Vermentino

Vermentino is a native grape variety of Italy grown in the small region of Luguira in the north west of Italy, and on the islands of Sardinia and Corsica off the west coast of Italy.  The quality of the variety has reached such high levels in Italy that it now has its own appellation, Vermentino di Gallura DOCG.

Apparently there are over 100 producers in Australia now and, although it’s primarily grown in the warmer regions, it is clearly doing very well in Orange, New South Wales.  Also, it now has its own class (technically two, 6A & 6B) at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show where, in 2019, there were a total of 45 entries with one gold, 4 silver and 17 bronze medals awarded.  That’s a very good strike rate (48.888888888889% according to my calculator).  It may well be on track to reach the quality of that grown in Italy.  I wouldn’t be surprised.

Beautifully aromatic with citrus fruits, peaches, pears and a herb that my wife and I just could not put our finger on.  The palate is fresh with those citrusy characters (more limey than lemony), also juicy peaches and a hint of apricots and green apples.  It feels good on the tongue displaying texture and body, and it continues on with good length finishing with nice delicate acid.

I really enjoyed this wine.  It’s a very good example of the variety from a region not as well known for it as others in Australia.  Nice work Team Angullong!

Angullong Wines Website

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

Angullong FH Vermentino 2019

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2019 Robert Stein Dry Riesling

People who know me are well aware of the fact I don’t mind a chat.  It is also common knowledge that I don’t mind a glass or two of Riesling.  You can imagine my excitement when this Riesling arrived at my door.  So, I invited some mates around to try it (and another Robert Stein Riesling) and I was able to talk to my heart’s content about Riesling.  It was made easier by the fact that this is so very good and I had a captive audience who were happy to chat about it…and we did…for quite some time, and we could not fault this wine.  One thing we all agreed on, was the consistently high quality Rieslings Jacob Stein is producing.

Fresh and lively aromas of lemons and limes with a slightly floral element sneaking through.  The palate is pure, pristine and vibrant.  Juicy citrus fruits shine thanks to those Riesling favourites of lemons and limes.  The intensity of flavour hangs for what seems like forever on the taste buds until a slight touch of sweetness chimes at the long, crisp finish.  No wonder this wine has, so far, won two trophies and seven gold medals.

Robert Stein Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $30     Source: Sample courtesy of Robert Stein and Define Wine


Robert Stein 2019_Dry_Riesling_Gold_Web

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2018 Main and Cherry Pinot Syrah

From what I have been able to find out on Google, the legendary (in the wine industry anyway) Maurice O’Shea made a blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah during the mid 1900’s that proved to be quite popular (the French would have had conniptions).  Unfortunately, the trend faded for a number of years in the late 1900’s, but thankfully, there are now a few producers reviving the blend.  This is the first one I have tried and, if this is anything to go by, I intend to try more.

Pinot Noir makes up 56% of the blend while Syrah (Shiraz) makes up the remainder.  There’s 20% whole bunches and I’m guessing it has spent time in seasoned oak because it’s all about the fruit when it comes to this wine.

Smells fresh, fruity and juicy.  On the palate, cherries, plums and blackcurrants provide everything required for a delightfully flavoursome wine which this is.  There’s a delicate spiciness and subtle licorice note (both probably thanks to the Adelaide Hills Syrah) that complements the lovely, juicy berry fruits of the Pinot Noir perfectly.  I must say, for a wine built to drink now, this has pretty good length too.  This is a very easy wine to like, full stop.

Main and Cherry Website

Region: Adelaide Hills, SA     Price: $30     Source: Online purchase

Main Cherry Pinot Syrah 2018

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2016 Patina Wines ‘Jezza’ Red Blend

I have been watching a television series all about building and/or renovating houses.  Very fancy houses too, I might add, and the end result is usually a very high quality.  The most recent episode involved the building of a lovely seaside home made up of a number of separate components that were different sizes and materials.  There was the largest section that was effectively the main component.  Then smaller components of various sizes were brought in and added to the main component.  As much as each component was smaller than the last, each part was integral to the final family residence.  Even the ‘one percenters made a big difference to a very polished and beautifully finished home. The other thing I noticed about the house was, when the builders came in and did their bit, all the components came together seemlessly.  You would not have even noticed the house was made up of bits and pieces.

This wine is similar.  Merlot is clearly the main component making up 75% of the blend.  As much as the other contributors, being Cabernet Franc (17%), Cabernet Sauvignon (7%) and Petit Verdot (1%) are in significantly less percentages than the Merlot, their contribution can not be underestimated or understated.  That’s right, even the smallest contributor, the Petit Verdot  was a valuable inclusion to the final resultant blend of this terrific wine.

It’s an amazing colour, just so dense and beautiful in the glass.  The nose is similarly captivating.  It smells rich and juicy, dark berries as the main player with blueberries, dark chocolate and just a hint of herbs.  This sounds so good I know but the palate is simply incredible.

Lush and complex flavours made up of an abundance of fresh berry fruits.  Blackberries, blackcurrants and blueberries, just to name a few, with what I thought was a freshness of raspberries having a little bit of a say.  Yes, there is plenty of fruit, but there is a savoury and spicy edge complemented by a smooth, creamy dark chocolate characteristic (this showed itself with more time in the glass).  As you would expect from a quality premium wine, the oak and tannins don’t miss out on proceedings, but the wine is so beautifully balanced they are but one of the many wonderful facets of this wine.  The finish is rich, long, lingering, persistent, sumptuous, mouth filling, suave and divine.  I could go on.  It is simply a very impressive wine, no question.

Patina Wines Website

Region: Orange, NSW     Price: $65     Source: Sample courtesy of Patina Wines and Define Wine


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