2017 Huntington Estate Cabernet Shiraz

It’s been said over and over again; Cabernet/Shiraz, or Shiraz/Cabernet, is the classic, quintessential, Australian ‘Claret’.  It doesn’t matter what the proportions are of each, it still deserves the term ‘classic’.  This particular wine is not just classic (my popular word at the moment) because of the varieties.  It’s thanks to Bob Roberts, the original owner and winemaker at Huntington Estate, who established the vineyard 50 years ago with Cabernet Shiraz blends being virtually part of the family from the beginning.  I have no doubt he’d be mighty proud of what current winemaker, Tim Stevens, has produced with this wine.

Deep, dark and gorgeous colour gets things off to very good start.  It’s all black fruits on the nose, but that is just a small introduction to the rich, juicy flavours this wine has.  Blackberries galore and they are perfectly ripe and lush.  Blueberries and plums are about too adding some delicate but precise middle palate richness.  The tannins are obvious and a bit drying, but the abundant fruit soon puts paid to that little problem bringing it home to a good, lingering finish.

The thing about this wine is, it doesn’t seem big.  The plentiful fruit and tannins I mentioned may give that impression, but it’s not like that.  It has an elegance and smoothness about it thanks to the two varieties working so well together.  Tim Stevens has nailed this classic combination.

Huntington Estate Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $32     Source: Sample thanks to Huntington Estate and Define Wine

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2017 Grey Sands Blanc de Noir

Dare to be different.  We see it everyday.  It could be the way some people dress, colour their hair, cut their sandwich or position their driver’s seat.  But it is only different to us because it’s not how we wear our clothes, do what we do with our hair, eat our food or drive our car.

There was instantly a ‘wow’ reaction from my guests, followed by “that’s different” after tasting this wine.  When I queried why they thought it was different, the response was, “well, it’s a white pinot noir, different to a normal pinot noir.”  The comment was due to the colour of the pinot noir, not the wine itself.  Don’t get me wrong, it is different, but only because it’s not what we are used to seeing.

Just like that person with the ‘different’ haircut or wearing the ‘different’ coat are now seen as part of the ‘norm’ these days, this ‘different’ pinot noir could become, let’s say, not so different.

From the website, “…whole bunch pressed to old French oak barrels, indigenous yeast ferment then nine months lees contact before bottling.”  It’s a wine that almost demands interest.

It’s a beautiful colour, so very attractive.  It has very pretty aromas too.  Not entirely sure how else to describe it, however, there is a red fruit character that reminds me of it’s varietal origins if you like.  There is heaps of flavour which doesn’t let up.  It’s like strawberry and apple juice but with alcohol included, in a complementary way, but not sweet at all.  There’s some lovely texture too that seems to spread and coat the palate with just a delicate touch of spice that lingers long.  It’s another delicious wine in the Grey Sands stable that is definitely worth seeking out.

Grey Sands Website

Region: Glengarry, Northern Tasmania    Price: $40     Source: Generous gift

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2017 Hastwell & Lightfoot Tempranillo

How’s this for coincidence.  Very recently we went to a dinner with a group of wine appreciative friends and one of the group brought up the variety Tempranillo.  He gave us three different versions of the word in the space of one sentence.  He did his best but even others struggled with their pronunciation of it as well.  Luckily, there was also a winemaker at the table and he let us know that it was pronounced ‘tempra-nee-oh’.  I was corrected a few years ago while holidaying in Spain by a local fellow and I’ve never had a problem saying the word since.  I actually think it’s a word that just rolls off the tongue with ease and this wine seems to roll over the tongue with just as much ease.

It’s a lovely dark colour with irresistible aromas of dark fruits, a little bit of a floral note, savoury and quite intense too.  The palate offers up plenty of everything.  Flavour is certainly up there in the pleasure scale when tasting it.  Those dark fruits reappear, plums play a part, in comes some chocolate characters, there’s the expected savouriness and it has pretty good length, even if the tannins seem a bit dry.  As I mentioned earlier, this has got everything including versatility.  It would be beautiful with beef, pair perfectly with pizza or easily share a chair with chorizo.  Try it with friends.  You’ll soon have an empty bottle, I bet.

Hastwell & Lightfoot Website (currently undergoing maintenance)

Region: McLaren Vale, SA     Price: $25     Source: Sample thanks to Hastwell & Lightfoot and Define Wine

 

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2017 Windowrie Family Reserve Pinot Noir

My wife and I are drinking more and more Pinot Noir these days.  Not that we are drinking less of the other red varieties, it’s just that during the warmer months, Pinot is less weighty for our palates to have to deal with and more versatile when it comes to summer style foods.  At this point, may I remind you, I live in a state where, when it comes to red wine, Pinot is the undisputed king.  To have a bottle of this variety from an unfamiliar Pinot region arrive on my doorstep, I had to put my bias aside and, to be honest, that can be difficult.

A nice bright crimson colour to kick things off, this had varietal aromas of red fruits and dab of spice.  On the palate it was light to medium in body with rumblings of raspberry  and hints of spice.  With some more swirling in the glass and having it alongside our dinner, red cherry notes, some earthy characters and a hint of pepper came in over the top.  Generally speaking, Pinot Noir is a food wine and that’s what this needed to bring out some of those flavours.  In saying that, it will fit into any casual gathering and lunchtime soirées.

Windowrie Website

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

Windowrie PN

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2018 Resolution Vineyard Pinot Noir

Boy and girl go to a vineyard in 2011.

Boy and girl love the pinot noir and the views from the vineyard.

Boy and girl decide to get married at said vineyard in 2012.

Boy and girl help out at said vineyard.

Same boy and girl purchase said vineyard in 2017.

The story is not necessarily that simple but, if we are talking “long story short”, this is taking that theory to the enth degree.  The ‘said’ vineyard is of course, Resolution Vineyard, situated about 70 kilometres south of Hobart producing only Pinot Noir.  It’s an idyllic location.  I have been a fan of the wines before the boy, Daniel, and the girl, Caroline (Lamont), purchased the vineyard.  With the very talented Alain Rousseau (of Frogmore Creek) making the wine, it has been a consistent, top quality, pinot noir for as long as I can remember (I think my first try of the wines was the 2010 vintage).

Terrific varietal aromas of dark cherries and savoury characteristics.  That may be brief and sound a little simple but buy a bottle, pour a glass and dive your nose in. You’ll see what I mean.

Taste it and you are greeted with richness, juiciness and plenty of flavour. Those dark cherries appear here too, black currants stride alongside, some mid palate plumminess and svelte tannins lead into a long lingering finish.  This is comes across as a ‘proud as a peacock’ pinot noir, poncing around showing off its delicate finery and beauty…and so it should.  It deserves the attention.

Resolution Vineyard Website

Region: Middleton, Tasmania     Price: $30 (purchase via email: contact@resolutionvineyard.com.au)     Source: Cellar door purchase…sort of.

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2018 Atze’s Corner Wild Rose Vermentino

I read an article recently (this one) that suggested Vermentino could be the “next big thing in Australian wine”.  Well, I can understand that.  I’ve tried a few and I don’t mind admitting to being a bit of a fan.  It’s pretty easy to like.  This Barossa Valley version helps shore up this headline.

Just like the rosé the bottle is a pretty good looking thing and will attract attention on bottle shop shelves.

The nose is definitely dominated by fresh citrus notes that gives a first up impression of having quite a skip in its step and that is exactly what you’ll find when tasting it.  Plenty of zippy citrus characters here too with mainly lemons/limes for me,  green apple seems to poke its nose in and a deft touch of texture as it sails into a nice dry grapefruit acidity type finish.  It’s pretty damn nice I gotta say.

Atzes Corner Website

Region: Barossa Valley, SA     Price: $25 (bargain)     Source: Sample thanks to Atze’s Corner & Wine Marketing Hub

2018 Atzes Vermentino

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2010 Clemens Hill Fumé Blanc

You read right.  Nine year old Tasmanian Fumé Blanc that belies its age.  I’ve always been a fan of this Clemens Hill style of wine but it has always been the current release that I’ve had the pleasure of trying (or should I have said drinking?).  I was stoked to be gifted this to try from Rob Ware of Clemens Hill.

Still quite youthful in appearance, starting off with a green, but not an under-ripe character, with more of a herbal note.  A touch of citrus, a hint of peaches, nice texture, and sits on the palate very nicely too, and the oak has integrated beautifully.  There is a hint of acid still present on the moderate to good length finish which rounds out a very impressive wine.

This may not be available now but I can certainly recommend the current release (check it out here).

Clemens Hill Website

Region: Coal River Valley, Tasmania     Price: N/A     Source: Gift

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