2019 Clandestine Vineyards McLaren Vale Shiraz

I no longer run anywhere.  These days it’s walking and to call it brisk would be an overstatement.  Near where I live there’s an area of sports fields where I like to walk. It’s not very exciting but it is flat and the grass is thick and always cut to a nice cushioning length.  I was walking there recently and out of nowhere came about half a dozen swallows (the bird variety) darting around at speed and low to the ground.  They were so smooth and effortless at times I wondered if they were actually using their wings!  Their stamina was incredible too. It went on for the entire time I was there and was pretty impressive to watch.  Talking of smooth, effortless and impressive, this wine will have you interested in a different type of ‘swallow’.

A terrific deep-ish, inky purple colour in the glass screams youthful…and it is.  The aromas of (mostly) red berries and herbs and a touch of spice prepared my palate perfectly.  It’s beautifully weighted.  I’d like to say medium bodied but it seems richer than that, yet has a certain elegance about it. There’s plenty of delicious dark fruits to the fore, a liquorice like thing happening, an earthiness yet a freshness too and finishing with smooth effortless tannins. The swallows were impressive to watch but this was impressive once swallowed.

Region: McLaren Vale, SA

Price: $30

Source: Sample thanks kindly to https://clandestinevineyards.com.au/ and https://savvycomms.ninja/

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2019 Clandestine Vineyards Margaret River Malbec

I have a mate who definitely, without question, knows about wine.  Mainly from one particular state but has been involved in many a tasting and judging panel over the years.  I will never forget a comment he made a couple of years back.  It was, words to the effect of, “Why would you drink Malbec (as a stand-alone variety)?” Not that he dislikes the variety, he just believes it does better when in a blend.  I have given him straight Malbecs since that day (I can’t remember if I served them blind) and I have still struggled to convince him.  I wish he was around the day I opened and tasted this one.  It would have gone a very long way to convincing him that Malbec does well as a stand-alone variety.

This is a beautiful deep, dense and dark purple colour in the glass.  It smells rich, robust and fruit forward thanks to a combination of plums and dark red fruits.  My first taste made my eyebrows involuntarily and instantly raise.  What lovely, juicy flavours it has! Where do you start with the dark fruits?!  There’s plenty of them in the mix.  Add a touch of black pepper notes to the rich fruit flavours and you have a delicious, smooth wine that finishes nice and long.  Yum!

Region: Margaret River, WA

Price: $30

Source: Sample thanks kindly to https://clandestinevineyards.com.au/ and https://savvycomms.ninja/

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2020 Clandestine Vineyards Tempranillo Rosé

It’s that time of year isn’t it.  The days and evenings are warmer, and bottles of wine start taking up space in the fridge and, you shuffle food items around to make room for more wine.  I don’t know if it’s the same in your home, but Rosé seems to be appearing in equal numbers to white wines in our fridge these days.  When I see and taste Rosés such as this one, I know why the ‘Rosé Revolution’ will continue for some time and not just in the summer months.  Ones, like this good example, are also great accompaniments to Asian style cuisine.

It starts off quite aromatic with strawberry, floral and herb like characters on the nose.  It’s really fresh on the palate.  It may be light-ish in body but still flavoursome thanks to red berries and cherries the main contributors.  There is lovely texture on the mid palate where a savouriness comes through and it finishes nice and dry with reasonably good length too.  I’ve made this sound like a simple wine, but it isn’t and not necessarily complex either.  It’s a genuinely good, very moreish Rosé, which about sums it up really.

Region: Geographe, Western Australia

Price: $30

Source: Sample thanks kindly to https://clandestinevineyards.com.au/ and https://savvycomms.ninja/

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2018 Carillion Origins ‘Block 22’ Wrattonbully Cabernet Sauvignon

The suburb I live in and the suburb next to it are divided by, literally, one street.  On one side of the street, the suburb where I live starts.  On the other side, the ‘other’ suburb ends.  Both are a very popular suburbs and for some reason, a few years ago, the suburb I live in was viewed as being a bit snobbish.  How things have changed!  The hidden qualities of the ‘other’ suburb are now well recognised and so it should be.

The reason I mention this is, Wrattonbully is 30 kilometres away from its more famous neighbour Coonawarra.  When you look at the list of wine producers that either produce wine in the region or source grapes from there you’d be wondering, like me, why it isn’t more on the wine drinker’s mind.  This terrific example has certainly reminded me of the quality of wines coming out of the region and I hope it prompts you to find this and other wines from Wrattonbully.

The lovely deep red colour kicked things off as I poured it into the glass and it didn’t take long for the aromas to make their way to my nose.  Hello to an array of dark fruits and a touch of dried herbs while there is a hint of oak poking through.  Tasting it was an absolute pleasure.  Rich, intense and delightful flavours of ripe, lush and juicy dark berries.  Can’t you just taste them?  Let’s not forget about the other contributing characters of this wine.  There are some herb notes doing their bit, creamy ganache like chocolate has a say, tannins don’t miss out on some attention either and the oak presents so well alongside the plentiful fruit.  What definitely got my attention was the excellent, long finish.  It stuck around for quite some time. 

I don’t know if you noticed, but I was very impressed with this wine.  It’s still very young and, as much as it will drink well with a good decant, it really deserves to be allowed to age gracefully in a cool, dark place.


Region: Wrattonbully, SA     Price: $50    Source: Sample courtesy of Carillion Wines and Define Wine

Origins 2017 'Block 22' Cabernet Sauvignon
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2018 Castle Rock Estate Great Southern Shiraz

The Castle Rock Riesling did it to me and now this Shiraz has done it to me as well.  By that I mean, much like the Riesling, I’ll get straight to the point and let you know my thoughts about it. In a nutshell, it’s pretty darn special.

It’s a lovely deep, shiny red colour in the glass.  Quite attractive actually and that attractiveness doesn’t stop there.  Aromatically it presents beautifully! Complex and generous with plums and dark fruits along with hints of pepper and herbs.  Rich and generous flavours of black fruits and dark cherries sit very nicely on the palate while plum characters fill out the mid palate.  Black and white pepper, a touch of spice and smooth tannins contributed to a terrific, balanced and textural finish.  This is a ripper of a Shiraz and, for the price, a bloody cheap ripper of a Shiraz!

Castle Rock Estate Website

Region: Porongarup, WA     Price: $25    Source: Sample courtesy of Castle Rock Estate and Define Wine

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2018 Clandestine Vineyards McLaren Vale Grenache

You’re not going to believe this, just like I didn’t when I read it; Grenache achieved the highest price per tonne in Australia for 2020 and one of only two that broke the $1000 mark (thanks Mr Halliday).  Considering it was the main subject of the vine pull scheme in 1987 and, before that, mainly used for the production of sort of out-of-favour fortified wine, I think this is somewhat of a damn good result!  This shows, quite pleasingly, as far as I’m concerned, just how deservedly popular Grenache currently is,  I can honestly say that. since I was introduced to it way back when, I have always been a fan of Grenache.  I just think it is an honest wine (don’t ask me what I mean by this, it’s just what I think about it) that consistently shows its best without having to do much.  Here is another to add to the list of go-to Grenaches.

Very inviting on the nose thanks to it being quite floral (I know, sounds strange for a red wine) with plenty of red berry freshness.  Tasting it was what got me in.  Gee it’s a good’un.  Those red berries are back along with some ripe cherries, some spiciness, pepperiness, a touch of sweetness and there’s a hint of oak (strangely maybe for a Grenache) and it is very nicely balanced.  It borders on medium bodied, which is not normal for a Grenache but it doesn’t distract from the wine at all and it finishes quite long for the variety.  This says a lot about the attention to the (very good) winemaking.  This has the ‘Yum’ factor and it’s because of wines like this that Grenache has become a crowd favourite as a table wine…again!

Region: McLaren Vale, SA

Price: $30 Source:

Sample thanks kindly to https://clandestinevineyards.com.au/ and https://savvycomms.ninja/

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2016 Salena Estate ‘BFR’ Riverland Touriga Langrein Cabernet Sauvignon

I don’t swear much.  Well, I try not to swear much.  However, when I pulled this wine out of the box and felt the weight of the bottle, saw BFR in big letters standing out like dogs you-know-whats on the label, I immediately wondered if the initials stood for Big F#*king Red.  Let me add though, it makes for a pretty impressive first impression.  I couldn’t help but wonder if the 750 millilitres of red wine contained within was going to be a Big (beep) Red.  So, let me tell you what I discovered.

OMG (that means ‘oh my god’ for you older folk), it is an incredibly deep, beautiful colour.  The aromas are a bit deceptive really.  It smells rich and there’s dark cherry aromas, yet a fresh red fruit like character as well.  I suppose I was expecting something more into the darker fruit spectrum but, don’t get me wrong, I was not disappointed, not by any means.

The array of flavours you cop when tasting it stimulate the palate in so many delightful ways.  Rich and fulsome flavours of juicy, plump, ripe blackberries and plums are the main attention grabbers.  It’s also a little licoricey, a little spicy and a little chocolatey but a lot of mouth coating wine with lovely, fine, powdery like tannins on the nice, lingering finish.

I thought I had moved away from this style of wine but I can honestly say this one may well have brought me back.  Very good gear!

Region: Riverland, SA

Price: $99

Source: Sample thanks kindly to https://www.salenaestate.com.au/ and https://savvycomms.ninja/

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2020 Clandestine Vineyards Margaret River Chardonnay

I read a newspaper article the other day about Verandas, the extension of our indoor living space that is attached to the outside of our homes.  A place to sit, enjoy the view and take in all that is happening around your home.  I haven’t lived in a house that had a veranda, but I have friends who do and, I have to say, it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing, it can be quite relaxing sitting, swapping stories, eating good food and sharing good wine with good people.  And speaking of good wine, you really need to check out this sitting-on-the-veranda-on-a-warm-sunny-day kinda Chardonnay.

I can see why many Chardonnays from Western Australia are regularly finding their way into wine glasses in other states of Australia.  The quality of almost all of the ones I’ve tried from our biggest State have been bloody amazing and this one can proudly sit amongst them.

The aromas were such that I knew I was going to love this wine (my wife said excitedly, “that smells like my kind of Chardy”).  It was certainly varietal with stone fruit aromas coupled nicely with some citrus character, a hint of herbs and a lovely buttery influence was present too.  It was similar when tasting it, and the generous fruit flavours were such that it was difficult to put down.  You’ll get peaches and cream, lemon tart, subtle oak characters, some delicate acidity and lovely texture, all coming together beautifully in the form of a truly delicious Chardonnay! 

Region: Margaret River, WA Price: $30 Source: Sample thanks kindly to https://clandestinevineyards.com.au/ and https://savvycomms.ninja/

Margaret River Chardonnay 2020 | Clandestine Vineyards

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2020 Clandestine Vineyards Adelaide Vineyards Pinot Grigio

While tasting this wine and making some notes, I got to thinking; when did I first consider this particular variety (I include the Pinot Gris style as well in that thought)? Having been involved with wine shows over quite a few years now, the only thing I could think of was there must have been a standout wine at the show that I just had to try.  The other thing of note when it comes to a Pinot Grigio is, my wife and I can be quite fussy.  We like the variety and I can happily report, this one received four thumbs up from the two occupants of the Peters household.

Bright, fresh and plentiful aromas of (pleasantly surprising) lemons and limes made me wonder what I as actually going to be tasting for a Grigio.  I say this only because (and I know it’s not a good habit to get into) I have come to expect certain aromas from this wine variety. 

Plenty of flavour to savour on the palate that’s for sure.  That lemonyness is present here as well along with some pear like influence and good taste-bud pleasing texture.  There’s a slight herbal influence too as it finishes crisp and dry with a longing for more.  The deliciousness dial has been turned all the way to the right!

Region: Adelaide Hills, SA Price: $30 Source: Sample thanks kindly to https://clandestinevineyards.com.au/ and https://savvycomms.ninja/

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2019 Salena Estate “ex-PRESS-ion” Shiraz

I always liked to be surprised by a wine, especially from a producer I am not familiar with. I have to say, it is moments like this that remind me just how much good wine is out there being produced by enthusiastic people for the enjoyment of others.

After pouring this wine, I asked myself, should I be posting a photo of the wine in the glass and not just the bottle? Gee it’s a lovely, glistening, deep dark red colour. It looks terrific as it sits in the glass. Also, as it was being poured, it was like it exhaled beautiful dark fruit aromas to tease the senses of what’s to come. The palate was a very pleasant surprise. It was rich, generous and flavoursome without going beyond the medium bodied spectrum. Juicy blackberries, plums and dark cherries fill out the palate, and on the finish there’s a touch of creamy oak poking through as do the smooth tannins. For a young Shiraz, this is nicely balanced, very approachable and easy to drink already. Impressive!

Region: Barossa Valley, SA Price: $30 Source: Sample thanks kindly to https://www.salenaestate.com.au/ and https://savvycomms.ninja/

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