2017 Yelland & Papps Vin de Soif

Two’s company, three’s a crowd. As it turns out, this phrase has been around for hundreds of years. Thankfully, it doesn’t relate to wine because, the number three in this ‘crowd’, if you like, is about 5% Carignan which perfectly complements the Grenache/Mataro couple that make up the bulk of this blend.  As a trio, they seem, I don’t know, personable and friendly, a greet-you-with-open-arms type of wine.  And it’s easy to want to spend more time getting to know the wine too…in a glass of course…drinking it…with company…even if there is a crowd of three!

Bright and fresh aromas of red cherries and berries kick things off very nicely indeed.  It’s also a little savoury but one thing that is unmistakable is how inviting it is. The palate is where you realise winemaker Michael Papps has hit a bullseye with the fruit combo.  Flavour, flavour and more flavour!  Gorgeous and juicy dark cherries with a lovely red fruit freshness (probably thanks to the grenache).  Some spice introduces itself to the mix as it lingers nicely on the palate for a good length of time.  Serve it up to your friends and you would struggle to drag them away from it. My advice, make sure you have more than one bottle at hand.

Region: Barossa Valley, SA     Price: $30     Source: Sample thanks to Yelland & Papps (Website)

Y & P Vin De Soif 2017


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2019 Robert Stein Half Dry Riesling

I have been known to store a lot of photos on my phone.  I’m probably not alone on that point but there is always a reason for me not deleting a photo.  Well, I’m glad I chose to keep a photo of this wine.  It reminded me of the fact I had forgotten to post a review.  I’m also pleased I always make notes when tasting wines.

This gold medal and trophy winning half dry Riesling, also made by the talented Jacob Stein, was tasted at the same time as the 2019 Dry Riesling.  I honestly thought I had finished the review and published it.  I know they say ‘the older you get the more forgetful you get’, well, I don’t consider myself that old, and I can be forgetful at times, but not when it comes to doing something I enjoy.  Oh well, thankfully it hasn’t happened since.  Huge apology to Jacob Stein and Dave Cumming of Define Wine Marketing.  So, to the wine in question.

An intense and aromatic nose of lemons and limes with a slight sweetness coming through.  The impact of the terrific fruit flavours on the palate are quite something.  Again, there’s lemon and lime characters that are perfectly balanced by a touch of sweetness.  Add in texture and lovely acidity on the finish and you get a delicate yet rich, impeccably balanced and beautiful wine.  Served blind, I challenge anyone to pick the 15 grams residual sugar.

Robert Stein Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $40     Source: Sample courtesy of Robert Stein and Define Wine

Robert Stein Half Dry 2019

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2018 Serere Beechworth Chardonnay

I find it both interesting and funny the perceptions of Chardonnay.  Over the last couple of weeks I have had three people provide different views about the variety, all of which were fair but, dare I say, closed.  They were, “all chardonnay is the same isn’t it?”, “there are no better chardys than those made in Margaret River or Yarra Valley” and, the piece de resistance, “I don’t like Chardonnay because it’s so common.”  I have to say, I had quite the discussion with each of these friends, yes friends, about their views.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the fact everyone is entitled to their opinion but, goodness me, people don’t need to wear blinkers when it comes to wine anymore.  It’s a totally different wine world these days and there is no better example than this Chardonnay.

It has quite a lovely nose.  Aromas of cashews and hazelnuts and fruit salad like, but mainly pears but not dominating, if that makes sense.  The palate is so interesting and intriguing and complex and moreish.  Plenty of flavour for sure.  Juicy peaches and pears, it’s smooth and creamy texture is very nicely complemented by some delicate and fine acidity while finishing long and persistent.  This wine sits between the ‘I want people to try this wine’ and ‘I don’t want to share this wine with anyone’.  I compromised and shared it with my wife.  A delicious wine indeed!

Serere Wines Website

Region: Beechworth, Vic     Price: $42     Source: Wine Swap

Serere Chardonnay 2018

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Hastwell & Lightfoot ‘Fat and Skinny’ Range Releases

I don’t know who else will be able to relate to this but, when I read the name of these wines, and saw the picture on the label, I immediately thought of Laurel & Hardy, the comedy duo from the early-ish to mid 1900’s.  Now, I’m not that old, but I do remember my parents watching their movies and I thought they (not my parents) were pretty funny.  If my memory serves me correctly, their movies appeared to be ‘budget’ types in the scheme of things, well promoted and were popular with many…very much like these wines.  Just to clarify things, the ‘fat’ refers to big man Mark Hastwell while the ‘skinny’ is Martin Lightfoot.  Mmm, I wonder if there is any similarities between Laurel & Hardy and Hastwell & Lightfoot?

2018 Pinot Grigio

Quite aromatic with it being citrus and pear like.  Palate is Grigio for sure with those expected dominant pear characters.  There’s a little bit of a spicy note there as well and the finish brings with it a touch of acid.  It goes alright and will tick the ‘easy drinking’ box for a lot of punters.

Region: Fleurieu, SA     Price: $22

Fat n Skinny Pinot Grigio

2017 Picker’s Choice

Very good nose of black and red fruits.  There’s a slight floral note and vanilla like aroma as well.  The better-than medium-bodied palate is where it really shines for me.  Lovely rich-ish dark berry fruits, I thought licorice was in there too and it has very good length to boot.  The oak influence has been well managed culminating in an excellent value wine and my pick of the two reds.

Region: McLaren Vale, SA     Price: $22

Fat n Skinny Pickers Choice

2018 The Red Fury

A surprisingly clear bottle houses this juicy blend of Tempranillo and Grenache.  It starts off providing red fruits galore on the nose.  It shows fruity and juicy red fruits on the palate also with some dark cherry influence in there too.  It’s just medium bodied with slightly drying tannins on the finish but there is a good amount of fruit in support.  An easy drinking, easy going wine that has been built for the now.  I enjoyed it and it’ll be a winner with punters for sure.

Region: McLaren Vale, SA     Price: $22

Fat n Skinny The Red Fury 2018

Samples courtesy of Hastwell and Lightfoot and Define Wine

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2018 Angullong ‘Fossil Hill’ Orange Region Tempranillo

The wines from Angullong are always a pleasure to try.  The ‘alternative’ varieties they have been punching out have been spot on every time, including the whites.  I would even go as far to say they are some of the best I have tried, and consistent…boy are they consistent…consistently excellent quality!  Here is yet another one.

Very inviting on the nose with dark fruits, cherries and a touch of licorice with a herb like character in there too.  It’s young and vibrant on the palate where it’s more dark cherry with a plum like mid palate texture and a nice savoury element as well.  Well played oak and obvious but okay tannins complement the juiciness and deliciousness of the fruit on the very good finish.

Angullong Wines Website

Region: Orange, NSW     Price: $28     Source: Sample thanks to Angullong Wines and Define Wine


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2018 Angullong Fossill Hill Orange Region Sangiovese

Literally every time I have a bottle of Sangiovese with dinner, I can’t help but make attempts to put on an Italian accent.  “Sangio – VAY – see” with emphasis on the ‘VAY’ part with a few hand and arm motions thrown in.  It sounds pretty lame I know, and doesn’t seem the same in the written word, but it’s a bit of fun and that’s part of the idea about wine.  Let me tell you about this “Sangio – VAY – see”!

Rich on the nose with blue fruits and cherries with a nice herbal note to it.  The palate is  concentrated yet medium bodied with fresh and juicy red fruits, blueberries, dark cherries and a hint of spice.  Those herbs I smelt earlier appear again, while the oak is just poking through in support of the delicate tannins and, to top it all off, it has very good length.  An excellent example of the variety of which we couldn’t help but finish the bottle over dinner.  Bellisimo!!

Angullong Wines Website

Region: Orange, NSW     Price: $28     Source: Sample thanks to Angullong Wines and Define Wine


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2018 Angullong Fossil Hill Orange Region Barbera

It’s been a long time since my wife and I were in Italy.  I can’t remember if we visited the Piedmont region but, being an area that grows the third most planted grape variety in Italy, I reckon I’d remember which suggests we probably didn’t.  I would have to get out all the brochures and photos we have to work out if we did, and that would involve a lot of time and the searching of cupboards.  I think I’d prefer to spend the time drinking more Barbera.  Have a look at the photo below; that’s just one of the many I found via Google.  Piedmont looks like an amazing place and has now been added to my growing bucket list of places to visit.

Piedmont Italy

I can see why I love this variety.  The aromas trigger your senses immediately.  They are fresh, lively and it’s all about the fruit (think red cherries and black currants).  Very similar when tasting it too.  It is (those words again) fresh, lively, juicy and fruit forward on the medium bodied palate.  Black fruits, dark cherries and subtle plum and herbal characters present to me.  The oak is there but only a minor player; the tannins are lovely and soft, and the expected acidity sits nicely with every component of this wine.  It’s deliciously good drinking and great value.

Angullong Wines Website

Region: Orange, NSW     Price: $28     Source: Sample thanks to Angullong Wines and Define Wine


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2019 Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling

I was trying to roughly work out when I started getting into Riesling.  I recall talking to a mate’s dad many years ago about the fact I didn’t drink white wine.  I met my mate in late 2004 so it had to have been after that year.  I can’t even recall when I first tried it or the circumstances.  I can only think it was strongly suggested by someone.  If that someone is reading this, please make yourself known to me.  I need to show my appreciation with some sort of vinous gift!  It’s the least I can do.

If you are not a Riesling drinker but interested in getting interested, this wine is the place to start.

Very aromatic, very rieslingy and very inviting.  How’s that sound for starters?  And, this ‘Tony Peters favourite of a Riesling’ just keeps on giving when you drink it.

Citrus characters aplenty on the flavour packed palate.  It’s lemony and limey and grapefruity and a bit herbal, and the best thing of all, lipsmackingly delicious.  The acid is soft and delicate and fills out the palate as it finishes clean, crisp, dry and lovingly long.  Big yum factor present in every taste!  If you couldn’t tell, I very much enjoyed this wine.

Pewsey Vale Website

Region: Eden Valley, SA     Price: $25     Source: Retail purchase (for $17!)


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2019 Serere Beechworth Rousanne

Chinese businessman and philanthropist Jack Ma is quoted as saying, “Trust the young people; trust this generation’s innovation. They’re making things, changing innovation every day. And all the consumers are the same: they want new things, they want cheap things, they want good things, they want unique things. If we can create these kind of things for consumers, they will come.”

What I have discovered over the past year or two is a number of young, and not so young, winemakers are doing pretty amazing stuff when it comes to putting that red and white fermented grape juice into bottles for our enjoyment.  Some methods being used are ‘innovative’, some are ‘back to basics’, some are ‘hands off’ and some are ‘minimal intervention.  Which ever way they are made, the wines that end up on our dining table alongside a terrific meal, or being drunk out on your patio on a relaxing afternoon, are unique to that winemaker.  She/he has put their stamp on it and owns what you smell and taste.

Joe Warren was a chef for 12 years before deciding to move from the kitchen to the winery in 2010 eventually starting up Serere Wines in 2018.  He sounds like he’s a ‘hands off’ sort of winemaker.  He says, “just let the sites speak for themselves”.

The fruit for this Rousanne came from the Indigo Vineyard in Beechworth, which is quite a stunning place.  All hand picked then basket pressed before being placed in old French oak where it went through wild fermentation.  The resultant wine is simply beautiful and delicious and textural and lush!  One of my mates used the word “Gorgeous”!  There’s lovely fruit flavours dominated by juicy pears, with hints of peaches, apples and apricots, along with a herbal note in there too.  There’s some terrific texture and a deft touch of acid on the fruitful  palate providing lovely width and weight on a very good long finish.

Joe certainly has a ripper wine on his hands with this one and, as Jack Ma said, “…consumers, they will come.” Get some while you can.

Serere Wines Website

Region: Beechworth, Victoria     Price: $32     Source: Wine Swap

Serere Rousanne 2019

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2017 Hastwell & Lightfoot McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon

I read somewhere that McLaren Vale is not so well known for its Cabernet Sauvignon.  I have to admit, I can’t remember where I read it, but Shiraz and Grenache were the main red varieties given the most focus in the article.  I’m not, never have been and never will be, one to compartmentalise wine regions for what they are best known for.  I’m sure those who grow the grapes and produce the wine from said grapes know what they are doing.  I know that what they put in the bottle will be the best they can produce regardless of the variety.

As they left the bottle, destined for the glass receptacle, the unmistakable Cabernet Sauvignon aromas filled the air around me and beyond.  They were quite complex and full on too.  Blackberries aplenty, earthy, and I thought a bit dusty on the nose, there’s a licorice like aroma and a slight herbal influence as well.  I said it was a bit complex but that makes it all the more interesting don’t you think?

There is plenty to like when tasting it too.  The flavours just flood every crevice of your mouth.  Rich, dense and concentrated dark fruit flavours are complimented perfectly with a dash of spice.  The oak and abundant tannins at the finish are both in balance with the aforementioned bold fruit flavours.  Its cellaring potential was evident too because, the longer it sat in the glass, the more it seemed to open up and reveal even more of its good qualities.

Yet another excellent value wine from the crew at Hastwell & Lightfoot.

Hastwell & Lightfoot Website

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

Hastwell & Lightfoot Cab Sav 2017


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