2016 Levantine Hill Katherine’s Paddock Chardonnay

How fitting, how appropriate, how perfect is it that the Latin meaning for Katherine is ‘pure’.  This wine is pure power, pure elegance, pure deliciousness and a pure delight to drink.  I actually don’t think I need to say anymore…but of course, I will.

Bearing in mind this is Levantine Hill’s premium chardonnay, the very best of everything has been given to it when it comes to wine making and it shows.

On the nose it speaks of youthfulness.  It’s flinty, it’s spicy, it’s stonefruity and rich.  The palate is where is shouts the loudest.  It offers up so much flavour it took me ages to work out exactly where to start.  Again, rich, textural, spicy,  bucket loads of stonefruits spread across the palate and there is some delicate but proud acidity.  It’s full bodied as expected but so beautifully balanced, complexity abounds and the length is incredible.

This has been so beautifully and meticulously built you can enjoy it immediately or stash it away for, I dunno, however long you can keep your hands off it.

Levantine Hill Website

Region: Yarra Valley, Vic     Price: $125     Source: Online purchase

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2017 XO Wine Co. ‘Single Batch’ McLaren Vale Grenache

Here’s something you may not know about Grenache.  They grow it in China.  Yep, there is 12,000 acres of it.  Now, that sounds a lot but when you take into consideration the size of China, Grenache only takes up 0.0005% of the country.  It doesn’t seem much does it?  Now, compare that to Australia where there is 3724 acres of Grenache which works out at only 0.0002% of our great country.  I would never have thought that those in the land of the Great Wall grow more Grenache than Australia.

I have never tried a Grenache from China but I don’t reckon theirs comes anywhere near the quality of those produced here, this one included.

Delicately perfumed it gives plenty of red fruits showing signs for what is definitely going to be a juicy wine to drink and it doesn’t disappoint.  Flavours of cherries, strawberries, dried cranberries giving a nice touch of sweetness, and a gentle spicy/peppery note adding a nice dimension too.  The alcohol sits at 14.5% but it has been very well tamed.  Juicy it certainly is.  Light to medium bodied it is very (or should I say too) easy drinking.

Considering the age of the vines, the quality of the wines (like this one)and the sort of new found popularity of the variety, I think there should be some consideration given to the building of a ‘great wall’ around the Grenache vineyards here…just in case.

XO Wine Co. Website

Region: McLaren Vale, SA     Price: $32     Source: Sample

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2016 Yelland & Papps Greenock Shiraz

These days there’s not much lasting 12 years.  Sports players, a television series, novelty gadgets and games (you know, yoyo, slinky, knuckles), washing machines or gym memberships.  I mean, even in the workforce, it’s becoming quite rare for people to persist in a job for that long even with the ‘carrot’ of long service leave!  For a husband and wife team that don’t have the Barossa ancestry behind them, or any descendants in the cemetery, they deserve congratulations for making it to the 12th Yelland & Papps Greenock Shiraz.

Wild yeast fermented, 12 days on skins, almost 2 x 12 months on oak with a small percentage of that new.  It’s clearly all about the fruit, letting it be the star.

You look at the colour and you think, I’m going to be tasting some dark berry fruits with this one.  But then you smell it and it gets you thinking, maybe there is going to be some red cherry on the palate as well as the dark fruits and certainly some spice with a hint of charcoal (I wonder if the barrel’s had an element of char?).  So far, looking good and smelling great.  By this stage, I’m hooked.

Wow!  The palate is complex but very nicely balanced.  The dark fruits are unmistakable, plums helping to fill out the palate and the spices doing their bit of ‘seasoning’ perfectly (if you ask me).  Where’s the oak?  Oh, hang on, there it is.  Making a quiet, supportive appearance on the smooth, long finish.  Gee it’s been handled well.  Very well made, very moreish, very delicious.

Yelland & Papps Website

Region: Barossa Valley, SA     Price: $40     Source: Sample

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2015 Windowrie Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

I’m not a fan of being sneaky when it comes to serving wine to my wife.  99 times out of 100, I’ll tell her what wine she is about to taste.  However, sometimes it’s necessary not to as long as it’s for a good reason, to get an unbiased response and to introduce her to a variety she frequently turns her nose up at.  Yep, Cabernet Sauvignon is a variety that my wife struggles to warm to.

I’ll get to the point shall I?  When I tried this wine, I knew she had to try it.  Bearing in mind, I didn’t tell her I was trying this wine nor did I tell her what the wine was, the variety or where it originated.  Well, let me tell you…she liked it…a lot!  So much so, she had a glass with dinner (she didn’t go back for a second because it was a school night).

Quite aromatic.  Fresh blackcurrants, a bit of charry oak and a slight hint of sweet oak on the nose.  Plenty of flavour on offer too.  Dark fruits mainly with a good and complementary lighter fruit influence making it not so, sort of jammy (it’s not the right word because it’s not jammy, but I can’t think of another descriptor).  Being a chocoholic, I loved the dark chocolate character too.  This wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the delicately fine tannins and great length on the better than medium bodied palate.

I very much enjoyed this wine and, with my wife the ‘Cabernet Courtier’ being impressed, this may not be the last bottle I see in our home.

 

Windowrie Wines Website

Region: Cowra, NSW     Price: $35     Source: Sample thanks to Windowrie & Define Wine

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2017 Yelland & Papps Devote Rousanne

Rousanne is a grape that originated in the northern Rhône area of France and, from the pictures I’ve seen, they are reddish-brown in colour.  Roux is the French word for this colour meaning russet and it’s believed this is where the name was derived.

Not that I have checked but I don’t reckon there would be much Rousanne grown in the Barossa Valley, an area known famously for its rich and bold shiraz.  The grapes for this wine come from vines planted in 2001, so I say bravo to the person or people who took the chance and planted it in the region.  It’s getting treated very well by Michael Papps that’s for sure.

Apologies, but I’m going to skip over the colour and move straight into the aromas and flavours because that is where the delightfulness (I think I just made up another word) is with this wine.

The aromas are such that I just knew what to expect on the palate and I literally couldn’t wait to taste it.

Plump pears are the lead flavour for me with macadamia nuts and a slight honey note all add up to a rich, lush, smooth and creamy wine.  There’s some terrific texture, great palate weight, lots of length and plenty of flavour from start to finish.

I checked my notes for the 2016 Devote Rousanne and I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is another step up and, as much as I loved that wine, I like this one even more!

Yelland & Papps Website

Region: Barossa Valley, SA     Price: $40     Source: Sample

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2017 Jim Barry Assyrtiko

When it comes to white wine varieties that are either hard to pronounce or difficult to spell, we can thank the Spanish for Albariño, the Austrians (amongst others) for Grüner Veltliner, the Italians (mainly) for Gewürztraminer and now, the Greeks for Assyrtiko.

Peter Barry decided to bring this variety to Australia after trying it in Santorini in 2006.  The cuttings arrived here in 2010 (I think) and had to sit in quarantine for 2 years before they could be given the go ahead.  I’m very pleased they passed all the tests.  They were planted in 2012 and the rest, as they say, is history (clichés, love ’em).

Very light in colour when it was poured but wait until you smell it.  Terrific nose!  Citrusy, floral and very inviting.  Tasting it was just as good.  Lemons, limes and a deft touch of spice are the highlights with this wine for me.  There is some nice, gentle acid balanced out beautifully by a smidge of texture.  Getting the pronunciation right and trying to spell it correctly may be difficult, but drinking it was not.  I very much enjoyed this wine.

Jim Barry Website

Region: Clare Valley, SA      Price:  $35     Source: Shared by a Generous Mate

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2015 Mérite Wrattonbully Cabernet

More often than not, when someone pays a premium price for a wine they expect a premium wine.  If they don’t get what they thought they were forking out for, there is usually a bit of a hoo-haa and carry on.  Fair enough I suppose.  I’m sure I’ve experienced that.  What about if you got a super premium wine at a very reasonable price?  Like me, I don’t reckon there would be too many complaints, if any!

When the quality cork was pulled, there was a distinctive Cabernet aroma and a juicy one at that.  The colour is incredible.  Very youthful looking, primary is the most common word I suppose, but either way, you can tell this is barely out of nappies.

Delicious black berries, black currants, black cherries and black plums (dark plums but black plums worked better here) are sitting nicely in all the seats of a sleek, black Lamborghini as it cruises along effortlessly.  This has been beautifully built, very nicely put together, and so comfortable in a glass.  A wine that will turn heads, deserves the best parking spot in your cellar and requires very limited maintenance to ensure a long life.

Merite Wines Website

Region: Wrattonbully, SA     Price: $60     Source: Generous Gift (Thanks Colleen)

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