2021 Clandestine Vineyards Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio

A lot of people have 9-5 jobs.  They rock up, do their job and go home.  I’m not saying it’s a boring thing because I have no doubt there are those who know they have done an 8 hour day by the time they have taken their shoes off at their front door.  I also know there are those who, because of their personality, just seem to add that little bit more to their 9-5 day at the office.  The type of person who brings a positive vibe, the cool calm collected one, the colourful clothes wearing one…you know what I mean?

This Pinot Grigio is similar to your ‘9-5’ grigio but it brings more life and interest to a person’s day (not before midday of course).  It has a vibrancy that appears when it’s poured, and the aromas of fresh pears and citrus fruits are released.  A calmness takes over as you taste the flavours of those fresh pears, delicate acidity, lovely texture and carry through the palate.  At the end of the day, this’ll make you kick your shoes off, put on your sloth gear and slump into your favourite recliner.  A second glass is a given.


Region: Adelaide Hills, S.A. Price: $25     Source: Sample thanks to Clandestine Vineyards and Savvy Comms 

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2021 Clandestine Vineyards Tempranillo Rosé

I’m sure I am not the only one who is not happy with how summer has been for the last 40 days.  There doesn’t seem to have been enough sunny summer days.  I mean, yes, plenty of warm-ish days but there seemed to have been more cloudy and rainy periods don’t you think.  So, what do we need to do to prise some ‘summer’ out of the remaining 49 days of the season?  Well, after tasting this delicious wine, this is a good place to start.

Bright, fresh and ready to go, this delightful Tempranillo rosé offers plenty, from the attractive aromatics to the bountiful palate, right down to the lack of impact it has on your bank balance.  Aromas and flavours of ripe strawberries and red cherries with the addition of a sprinkle of herbs, lovely texture and delicate acidity on the palate adding to the all-round drinkableness of the wine.  Open one of these and I reckon warm, sunny, summer afternoons will follow.


Region: Geographe, W.A. Price: $25     Source: Sample thanks to Clandestine Vineyards and Savvy Comms

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2018 Grey Sands Shiraz

Way back in the early years of ‘the law’, if a group or gang was involved in an offence, all those charged would have to be in court for the matter to be heard.  If one was not present, the matter could not continue.  The way it was viewed in those times was, you had to have every part of the evidence for the matter to be judged fairly.  It’s a bit similar with wine.  When it is being judged, all the facets, details and characteristics need to be present for it to get a fair trial, if you like, by those tasting it.

This wine presented all the evidence required in an articulate, sound and confident manner during the tasting trial.  This included the lovely aromas redolent of fresh dark berries with a gentle hint of spiciness.  This was followed by a generous, medium bodied palate of juicy black-ish fruits, blueberries, a smidge of black pepper and supportive tannins.  The jury didn’t take long to return a unanimous verdict.  Guilty of being a very good wine!  Sentence, 5 years in the cellar.  No parole.

Grey Sands Website

Region: Glengarry, Tasmania     Price: $45     Source: A generous gift

Grey Sands Shiraz 2018 bottle shot
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2018 Patina Orange Region Pinot Noir

When tasting a wine, I like to make notes.  Tasting this wine, I wrote: “this is not your normal Pinot.”  After re-reading my notes I thought, gee, that’s subjective.  One person’s ‘not normal’ could be another’s normal.  This can relate to anything I know, but for me, who drinks a lot of Tasmanian Pinot Noir, I immediately but not deliberately, compared it which is unfair and I should know better.  And my comparison, or judgement if you like, was also unjustified.

A bright, youthful cherry red colour in the glass, it’s quite fragrant and definitely Pinot Noir in the aroma category.  Think cherries and ripe plush raspberries, it’s a little earthy and some oak presents as well.  The palate is generous but still elegant.  Dark cherry, plums (weight watchers style. Flavour without the fatness if you know what I mean), there’s like a sweet/sour red fruit character, the oak is nicely in balance, the tannins fine and it finishes reasonably long.  This may offer a little more for a Pinot Noir than what I’m used to, but it’s a very good wine in its own right and we definitely enjoyed it.

Patina Wines Website

Region: Orange, NSW     Price: $45     Source: Sample courtesy of Patina Wines and Define Wine

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2021 Huntington Estate Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 

A particular blend of two red grape varieties has been dubbed, for many many years, the ‘quintessential Australian blend’ and I am a fan of it.  For as long as I have been interested in, and drinking wine, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc have been blended too.  The only ‘nickname’ (I suppose you could call it that) this blend has is SSB, which is not exactly exciting is it?  Considering the quality of this ‘quintessential Australian white blend’, and others in the market, I think it needs a more distinguished title than just SSB.  I’ll put some thought into it.

It’s an inviting fruit salad of aromas with a slight floral note (thanks to a touch of Gewürztraminer in the mix) and a touch citrusy too (the small Riesling portion playing its part).  The plentiful fruit flavours on the palate are fresh and just as inviting.  Lemon sorbet, peaches, ripe honeydew melon and a nice little bit of acidity on the finish make this moreish wine a definite, must-have, summer drink. 

Huntington Estate Website

Regions: Mudgee & Central Ranges, NSW     Price: $27     Source: Sample thanks to Huntington Estate

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2015 Levantine Hill Blanc de Blanc

I was listening to a podcast the other day about an enthusiastic bushwalker who was camping in the Tasmanian wilderness during winter.  He cleared an area of snow and lit a fire.  Interestingly, after a while, a number of different types of the local native fauna joined him.  The light and (probably more so) the warmth from the flames drawing them together.  Friend and foe alike were attracted to the heat and comfort the fire provided.

I reckon it would be the same if I opened a bottle of this wine in a restaurant or café.  As soon as the ‘pop’ of the bottle sounded out, people from all around would be attracted to that sound.  The aromas would draw in even more and, for those who tried it, their outward delight would be enough to draw everyone into the party.  This wine has that magnetism. 

It’s so fresh and citrusy on the nose, it just reeks of vivacity and verve.  There’s a slight herbal character plus a fresh shortbread note as well.  The palate is just so precise, pinpoint, and lively too.  Lovely acidity, stone fruit richness, it has a nice little toastiness and something akin to a ‘wow’ factor hit.  What you need to be prepared for is the finish.  You will think there is still a trickle of the wine in your mouth as you go to take another sip.  It is that persistent.  To say this is a wonderful sparkling wine seems such an understatement.  Pure delight!

Levantine Hill Website

Region: Yarra Valley, Victoria Price: $80 Source: Sample thanks kindly to Levantine Hill.

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Chardonnay Stars from Levantine Hill

I don’t know if you’ve ever had the opportunity to visit Milford Sound approximately 4 hours from Queenstown, New Zealand during the wet months. There are a myriad of waterfalls that, for me (not so my wife), were fascinating.  I say this because, no two were alike. When you think about it, the whole shape, appearance, and flow of a waterfall is dictated by the journey it took getting to the precipice where it cascades making every waterfall unique.

Same can be said for Chardonnay. Considering the mulititude of climates where Chardonnay is grown and produced in Australia, you know that no two are going to be the same. When it finally reaches its destination (my home) and it cascades from the bottle into my glass, what I know is, I am about to taste and drink something unique to a region, a climate, a soil type. It’s terrior if you like. Even if they come from the same producer, like these two from Levantine Hill, they are individuals in their own right with idiosyncrasies and characteristics unique to them.

Levantine Hill Website

2018 Levantine Hill Estate Chardonnay

This is a powerful, elegant and immaculately presented Chardonnay. It boldly stamps its presence on every one of your senses from the intense aromatic introduction to the indomitable stimulation of your taste buds through to the rich, graceful and complex finale.  Generous, mouth-filling fruit flavours, eminently textural, delicate yet impactful acidity and incredible length, it’s a beautifully balanced Chardonnay that needs to be experienced.

Region: Yarra Valley, Victoria Price: $80 Source: Sample thanks kindly to Levantine Hill

2021 Levant Chardonnay by Levantine Hill

I was immediately intrigued by this wine when I tasted it. It seems to have a business-like air about it yet is wearing chinos and thongs below the sleek suit jacket and stylish open neck shirt. It would sit well in your best glassware at a dinner party but also in an ice-bucket beside a deck chair on the beach.  It has freshness, texture and great fruit weight on the palate. There’s a flavour mix of stone fruit and citrus fruit characters, a slight minerally note and, personality and punch. Plenty to like in this bottled beauty.

Region: Yarra Valley, Victoria Price: $38 Source: Online purchase

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2019 Golden Grove Estate Mourvèdre

If you are reading this and are 168 years old (not likely of course), your parents planted the seed for you to grow the same year the first Mourvèdre vines were planted in Australia, 1853 in the Barossa Valley, and there were also vines planted in McLaren Vale in the early 1900’s. It was a very popular variety in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s but unfortunately, a lot of it was pulled out in the 1980’s. These days it still doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Wines like this one are bound to changed that.

It looks good in the glass, a lovely deep purple colour. It is very aromatic thanks to an array of dark fruits, slightly herbaceous (and I mean slightly) and just a hint of pepper. The palate is concentrated with generous fruit flavours of blackberry and spicy dark cherry being the mainstays here. There’s a really good mid palate lushness, a savoury element too while tannins and oak play minor roles in the scheme of things. This wine is all about the delicious fruit that just seems to keep on giving.

This one may not have come from very old vines but it is still a Ray Costanzo masterpiece.  Loved it!!

Golden Grove Estate Website

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

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2017 Grey Sands Shiraz Rosé

The colour of this Rosé got me thinking; how many different colours of the rose flower are there? I googled it (of course) and I was surprised to learn there are only 24 different colours (mind you, there are more than 2500 different varieties). And when you see Rosés in bottleshop fridges and on bottleshop shelves, there is an array of colours that probably total more than 24.

I’m pretty sure the colour of a Rosé is influenced by the grape variety it is made with, and there are many different varieties being used to make Rosés these days. I have my favourites and Shiraz is definitely in the top three.  Here is one that will grab your attention in any bottleshop for its striking colour alone. 

Speaking of colour, this one is so bright it just seems to glow in the bottle and glass. Even at four years of age, it’s still fresh on the nose with bright red fruits to the fore. Being a 100% Shiraz Rosé, those red fruits appear on the palate in a more juicy and generous way, but the wine remains in the Rosé category, if you get my drift, and there is a nice touch of refreshing acidity on the lovely, dry finish. Just how we like our Rosés.

I feel very lucky to have had the pleasure of trying this wine because, unfortunately, it has sold out. Mind you, I am not surprised. 

Grey Sands Website

Region: Glengarry, Tasmania     Price: $40     Source: A generous gift

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2021 Huntington Estate Unwooded Chardonnay

In the last month or so I have seen a fellow playing with a yoyo and a young lady on roller blades. These are things we don’t see much of these days. That’s not to say they haven’t been out there, it’s just they haven’t been as popular as they used to be. Now, I could only do the basics with a yoyo, nothing skilful and, when it comes to roller blades, well, let’s just say we were never friends.

Just like the yoyo and roller blades, unwooded chardonnay has been around for as long as I can remember. It is still out there. You have to look a bit harder for it, that’s all. It’s just that it seems to have become, as a mate said to me, almost the “forgotten white wine”. As far as I’m concerned, it still deserves a place in bottleshop fridges.

It’s fruit forward, fruit focussed and fruitilicious on the nose and palate. It got my attention early on for sure. It’s full of a lovely bunch of fresh fruits such as peach, pineapple, honeydew melon, juicy apple and a squeeze of lemon, that have come together very nicely with balanced acidity in a way that makes it so moreish. Hello unwooded Chardonnay, it’s very pleasing to see you again my friend.

Huntington Estate Website

Region: Central Ranges, NSW     Price: $25     Source: Sample thanks to Huntington Estate

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