2021 Yalumba Y Series Viognier and Riesling

I remember the times when visiting a cellar door to try wines and the person behind the counter would start with, “…our entry level wines.”  I have to say, I am not a fan of the words ‘entry level’.  It seems so, I don’t know, derogatory, for want of a better word.  I was saying recently to a wine loving mate of mine that, thankfully, it has been a very long time since I have heard the term used.  These days, wineries are giving all their wines an identity which I applaud.  Take these wines for instance.  Most punters know this particular range of Yalumba wines as the ‘Y’ Series, full stop.

These are two of my all-time favourite wines from the range.  Ones that I purchase regularly.  They consistently offer incredible value for money. 

Yalumba Website

Region: Various, Australia     Price: $15 (regularly discounted)     Source: Retail Purchase

2021 Viognier

Utterly varietal on the nose.  Tropical fruit aromas, a little floral and that pollen/honey blossom like character too.  The palate is fresh with the distinct apricot characters, a little addition of peachy notes, it’s textural with a lovely mouth-feel and just a hint of acidity giving some extra character on the finish.

2021 Riesling

It offers plenty of lemony and limey characters, as you’d expect. However, the difference is, considering it can be found regularly at around $10, you get more than you would regularly expect.  It’s fun and refreshing with great palate presence and a nice little pinch of acid on the finish.  It’s such that, it is so reliable, if it was found in the dictionary, the definition would be, ‘fall back, Riesling’, which it is for me.

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2017 Levantine Hill Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

You can’t have lamb and not have Cabernet Sauvignon as the wine of choice.  They go together, as Forest Gump famously said, “…like peas and carrots” (He meant this in a good way).  Any of the Bordeaux blends too, of course, but that’s where I draw the line.  When lamb shanks are served up for dinner, choosing the right Cabernet, for us anyway, was a no brainer.  This excellent one, from a superb Yarra Valley vintage, was an easy pick.

Berry basket of goodness on the nose with just a hint of leafiness.  The palate is rich with blackcurrant and ripe blueberries, texture, just above medium bodied yet elegant and soft, and there’s a little stemminess to it as well.  There’s no beg-your-pardon on the finish either as it sticks to the taste buds, so the enjoyment lasts and lasts.  It seemed to get better too the longer it was open. A gem.

Levantine Hill has moved on to the 2018 vintage, and I’m sure it will be just as good, but there is still some of this available out there in retail land. It will be well worth the search.

Levantine Hill Website

Region: Yarra Valley, Vic     Price: $80     Source: Online purchase (of sorts)

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Domaine A and Moorilla Pinot Noir Releases

When I decided to sit down and have a look at these wines, I said to myself, “I’m going to check out the three pinots.”  I had a little chuckle to myself because it sounded like a movie title, you know, like the Three Amigos or the Three Musketeers (there were actually four, that’s always baffled me).  I envisage these three fine examples of Pinot Noir turning up to a dinner party that was floundering with wine choices, or a food/wine match that was sadly lacking.  Glasses, seemingly appearing from nowhere, being filled with the delights from the bottles bringing relief and pleasure to those imbibing in the feast.  Let’s see what each of these Three Pinots bring to the party.

Moorilla Website

Source: Samples thanks kindly to Domaine A and Moorilla

2019 Moorilla Praxis Pinot Noir

Three words: freshness, flavour and fun(k).  But that’s not all.  Hanging off these words is vibrancy, juiciness, personality and moreishness.  There’s nothing trying to be hidden with this wine from go to woh.  Everything is up-front without being in your face.  You know what you’re getting from the first smell and the first taste, seemingly dragging you into its bright and cheery world and you’re more than happy to stay there. Price: $33

2017 Moorilla Muse Pinot Noir

Two words for this one: Oh yeah!  Nothing is missing from this wine.  It’s brash while having finesse, it’s bold yet maintains elegance.  Plenty of dark fruit flavour on offer (while still sitting beautifully in the Pinot Noir world), a sprinkle of spice, juicy plum palate presence and lovely length.  And all of this seems to be on repeat as it keeps coming back to tantalise your taste buds.  It’s classy and mighty impressive. Price: $56

2016 Domaine A Pinot Noir

I only need one word: terrific! Alluringly aromatic, there’s plenty to like just from what wafts from the glass after pouring it!  The palate is rich, generous, balanced, velvety and long.  The abundant flavours of ripe cherries and dark berries seem to spread across the palate at a snail’s pace and are in no rush to leave. There’s also a delicate savouriness in support and the tannins aren’t shy either…in a good way.  A Pinot with poise, presence and persistence. As I said earlier, terrific! Price: $85

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2021 Serere Wines Whitlands Chardonnay

Your face is capable of so many different expressions.  In any one day, I reckon we must show so many emotions and feelings through facial expressions thanks, or not, to what we experience.  It could be something we see, are told, touch, smell or taste.  And when one, or more, of our senses is stimulated, people can generally pick our feelings about something by the raising or furrowing of our eyebrows, the screwing up of your nose or that face-filling smile.  If anyone was watching me as I tasted this chardonnay, they would know I was feeling pretty bloody good about it.

Aromatically, this wine stimulates the senses immediately with its youthful vivaciousness. It’s citrussy, minerally and a touch spicy on the nose, and it warrants some serious attention here.  The palate is quite rich yet so so elegant. The usual stone-fruit suspects to the fore, a creamy macadamia nut textural feel to it, lovely mouth-watering acidity and it lingers beautifully.  Nicely done, again, (winemaker) Joe Warren.

Serere Wines Website

Region: Whitlands, Victoria     Price: $45     Source: Online purchase (of sorts)

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Grey Sands Pinot Blanc and Blanc de Noir

If you haven’t already done so, do yourself a favour and look up at the sky at night?  So many stars!  Some brighter than others, of course, but all shine and contribute to the wonder that is the Milky Way.  In the galaxy of wine producing stars in Tasmania, some stand out more than others for various reasons, but they all shine equally in Tasmania’s vinous constellation.

True vinous astronomers don’t look for the biggest or brightest.  They seek out the hidden stars, like Grey Sands, who may not shine the brightest but is a star in the Tasmania Wine Galaxy.

2018 Pinot Blanc

The nose is fresh, clean, slightly floral and a little citrus like.  The palate is the same but includes flavours of juicy peaches and pears, there’s texture and elegance, zippy acidity and finishing dry with medium persistence.  This has a lovely mouthfeel to it and seemed to open up more the longer it sat in the glass.  It was an easy decision to indulge in a follow up glass, just to check my notes of course. 😊

2019 Blanc de Noir

It’s hard to describe, but the colour is quite alluring.  It’s quite rich and complex aromatically.  The palate is the place for me though, where the complexity ramps up a notch or two.  Bordering on full bodied and youthful, all sorts of flavours and characteristics poke the palate into life.  Fruitful, thanks to ripe red fruits and cherries, and a pear flesh/juiciness character coming together nicely.  Texture and gentle acidity join the ride to the lengthy dry finish.  This is a lovely wine that just seemed to intrigue me more and more after every taste.

Region: Glengarry, Northern Tasmania     Price: $45 each     Source: Generous gift

Grey Sands Website

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2019 Domaine A Lady A Sauvignon Blanc

The sea water in Tassie is freezing.  There’s no escaping or denying that.  As a kid, I’d watch as other people would walk slowly into the water so they could get used to it before going for a swim.  Me, I would run and dive in to get it over with because, once you got past that stage, it was so cool and refreshing on a hot Tassie day (yes, we do get those down here).

I’ve learnt to do the same when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc.  No point in procrastinating, no point in easing my way into it, just get in and try it.  With the pedigree and reputation this wine has, those thoughts shouldn’t enter my head in the first place.

Went it comes to this wine, it is more about complexity than freshness.  It shows typical Sauvignon Blanc characters, each in small quantities, such as; grassy notes, snow peas, and asparagus but also stone-fruits and a hint of citrus too.  The palate has flavour richness, elegance, balance and terrific length.  There’s some lovely texture too with delicate acidity playing the perfect supporting role.  With time, it seemed to flesh out and develop even more delicate yet intense richness of flavour and, sat longer on the palate too. 

This is not the first Sauvignon Blanc I have tried but, from memory, it is certainly up there as one of the best I have tried.

Domaine A Website

Region: Coal River Valley, Tasmania     Price: $66     Source: Sample thanks kindly to Domaine A

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2019 Mapleton Vineyard Riesling

Gospel music. Admittedly not my go to music genre. However, you can’t but appreciate how the whole church congregation gets involved, and it is easy to understand why. The songs are usually catchy, so upbeat and lively, and of course, involves plenty of religious words like, ‘God’, ‘Jesus’ and ‘Hallelujah’.  Those in the choir are usually very good singers too, which helps.  If you are in the congregation and not a good singer, it’s okay, nobody will notice.

The first time I tasted this wine I was with a small group of Riesling loving friends.  I’d like to tell you that we all broke out in song about it, but that was never going to happen.  We did, however, sing its praises with statements that included, “god this is good” and “Jesus!” (with an excited inflection). The second time I tried it, very recently in fact, it was served to me blind, and my thoughts remain the same. This time I will say though is, thank God for Riesling!! 

Please, let me to you about this wine. The citrus aromas are lively, fresh, and juicy.  This continues on to the lovely limey palate, with a touch of lemon and green apple like crispness, and lots of flavour while maintaining poise.  There’s some soft citrusy yet mouth-watering acidity and, to cap things off, it finishes nice and dry with very good length.  Seeing as it is Easter, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jesus served this up at his last supper.

Mapleton Vineyard Riesling

Region: Coal River Valley, Tas Price: $35 Source: Tasting

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2021 Storm King Wine Co. Releases

On my walk the other morning, it was a beautiful, clear and still start to the day. The sun was up enough to bring light and warmth to everything it touched. I walk across a short bridge over an inlet. When the tide is out, the inlet is more like a pond and, on this particular morning, it was so still it was like a natural mirror. The reflection was almost a perfect copy of everything surrounding the pond with just the slightest ripple. The trees, clear sky and fading moon reflected along with the natural colours mother nature provides with the inlet’s embankment framing the almost perfect picture.

Pouring these wines in their respective glasses reminded me of this pond. It was almost like I was looking at the surface, taking in the aromas, and experiencing the flavours, and the wines are a reflection of Ray Costanzo and his wife Jen, the people behind the Storm King wines. They seem to possess a naturalness, with their care, attention and focus evident, excluding the ripples. You just can’t help but sit back, taste each wine, and appreciate what was being reflected from the glass in which it is framed. The reflection may not be real, but what is being reflected about Ray, Jen and the wine is.

2021 Mataro Graciano

Fresh and fruit driven from the first to the last pour. It’s a lovely deep colour and so beautifully aromatic. There’s a brightness and richness on the medium bodied palate showing these two varieties work very well together (thanks to some clever Ray Costanzo blending).  Dark fruits, spicy red cherries and a nice touch of white pepper showing through too. To sum this wine up, it’s a palate and people pleaser in a bottle. Sure to delight and excite.

2021 Vermentino

I really liked this wine from the first whiff until it eventually left my taste buds. It’s delightful on the nose with a fruit salad bowl of aromas getting things started. The palate offers up stonefruits and pear juice like characters, lovely texture and presence, a hint of acidity and spice, and very good length to top it off. Deeeelicious!

2021 Shiraz Malbec

Another delight from top to toe. Fruitful, characterful, wonderful. There’s a bountiful array of black and red fruits providing richness yet maintaining a medium bodied palate feel, plus a slight pepper and spice influence all of which just glides across the palate. Gee it’s good. This has to be one of the most popular blends going around at the moment and, when you see examples like this one, it is easy to see why.

Region: Granite Belt, Qld     Price: $55(each)     Source: Sample thanks kindly to Storm King Wine Co. Website

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2020 Montalto Estate Pinot Noir

It’s not uncommon for me to get into trouble for bringing my work home and/or doing work in my free time.  I can’t help it.  I just need to make sure my team are okay, that things in the town where I work are okay and there is not going to be any surprises when I turn up for work the next day.  I bet Montalto’s Winemaker, Simon Black’s doesn’t get any grief if he takes his work home and, I don’t reckon my wife would complain if my work involved this excellent Pinot Noir.

Bright, dark cherry aromas with a hint of herbs too.  Fresh and juicy on the palate provided by dark cherries, a slightly plummy influence brings mid palate richness and a lovely touch of spice.  There is plenty of flavour and intensity, yet it has elegance and remains beautifully varietal.  Tannins and a touch of acid are perfectly in balance to ensure a good future and it has terrific length (understatement!).  I am a Pinot Noir fan and this is an absolute beauty!

Montalto Website

Region: Mornington Peninsula, Vic Price: $50 Source: Sample thanks kindly to Montalto

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2020 Montalto Estate Chardonnay

There have been many times I have enjoyed a bottle of wine that has resulted in a certain level of sadness because it was my last bottle, my only bottle, or one that is not so readily available at my local bottle shop.  I had a sort of melancholy feeling when I tasted this wine.  At the time, I wondered why because I very much enjoyed it.  So, I decided to adopt the attitude of Theodor Seuss Geisel (commonly known as Dr Seuss), “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Flavours of stonefruits, melon and citrus characters are unmistakably and beautifully presented along with nicely balanced acidity, and freshness comes with its youthfulness.  What struck me with this wine when I tasted it was how complete it seems.  By this I mean, flavour was there in abundance, it has personality (yep, this is a thing with this wine), eyebrow raising palate presence and length.  I’m smiling because tasting this wine happened.  I guarantee you will too when you try it.

Montalto Website

Region: Mornington Peninsula, Vic Price: $50 Source: Sample thanks kindly to Montalto

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