2019 Hastwell & Lightfoot Vermentino

I’m a creature of habit.  A bit of routine man.  I can’t help it, especially of a morning when I do certain things in a particular order.  One of those ‘things’ is to check the news headlines.  As we all know, lately it has been about that dreaded, life changing, virus and how many have died in this country and that country.  It’s pretty constant and I understand why we need to hear about it.  I just think we need to have the same amount of good news stories to balance out the bad news especially considering where I work, where there is rarely good news to share with my ‘audience’.

Recently I came home from work late…again, and found this wine in the fridge.  I’d had one of ‘those’ days and I have to say, I was so glad this was ready to be explored, examined and enjoyed!  It seemed to have such a revitalising and relaxing effect at the same time.  Not that wine is the answer to these sorts of situations all the time, but on this occasion, it was very welcome.

It starts off so so well.  Loved the citrus fruit aromas then everything seemed to ramp up on the palate.  So clean and fresh with ever-present juicy lemons and limes with a nice touch of fleshy tropical fruit-like characters adding texture and (just enough) palate weight.  Terrific yet soft and balanced acidity partner the fruit characters perfectly as it seemingly takes ages to fade from the palate.

My wife and I loved this wine.  It is a simply delicious, beautiful example of the variety.

Hastwell and Lightfoot Website

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

Hastwell & Lightfoot Vermentino 2019

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2019 Hastwell & Lightfoot Fiano

Unfortunately, these days there is no overseas travel occurring anywhere, or interstate for that matter.  You don’t even see any advertisements on television spruiking cheap flights or fancy holiday destinations, and definitely not cruise ship holidays!

Getting to taste a wine of this variety took me back to a trip we made to Campania, the primary region of Italy where Fiano is grown.  The Romans knew it as Campania Felix, meaning ‘fertile countryside’ or ‘happy countryside’.  I think the region fits both of these meanings.

Amalfi_panorama_I

It is a very pretty area taking in the Amalfi Coast (pictured above), including Sorrento and the island of Capri, very attractive places to international visitors.  Mount Vesuvius also looming large over the archaeological attraction of Pompeii. I distinctly remember when we stopped for lunch in Sorrento, the beautiful facades of the buildings, some of which had been around for hundreds of years, had been so meticulously maintained.  It was quite surreal making me realise, even now, how young our Country is.

This is a lovely, lovely wine from start to finish.  A beautiful, intense fruit driven nose, almost fruit salad like with just a hint of sweetness.  When I tasted it, that intensity was ever-present.  It’s lively and fresh on the palate where there’s stone fruits (think peaches and apricots) with excellent citrus fruit acidity together with a perfectly complementary, very slight, honey like sweetness.  The mouth filling flavours plus some good texture linger long on a very nice finish indeed.  I very much enjoyed this wine.

Hastwell & Lightfoot Website

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

Hastwell & Lightfoot Fiano 2019

 

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Huntington Estate New Release Mudgee Chardonnays

In this current COVID-19 crisis, I consider myself a very lucky man.  I have a secure job and therefore, a secure income.  I am guaranteed my pay will go into my bank account every fortnight and my superannuation is safe for when I retire.  I sincerely wish it were the same for many Australians.

For Tim and Nicky Stevens, even if this crisis was not happening, this is a tough time.  Due to smoke taint, they have had to drop all of their fruit for the 2020 vintage onto the ground which means no 2020 vintage wines will be coming out of Huntington Estate.  I feel so sad for these guys and it makes me appreciate my circumstances even more.

Here in the Peters house, we love Chardonnay.  When we were tasting these, we were trying to work out when we last had one we didn’t like.  Considering we have tried many from across this sunburnt country over the years, that’s a pretty good result.  I have to say too, if it wasn’t for Tim and Nicky Stevens and David Cumming (Define Wine Marketing) I don’t reckon we would have had the opportunity to try Chardonnays from the Mudgee region.  I’m so glad we have.  Here’s two mighty fine ones to get your mitts on.

2019 Barrel Ferment Chardonnay

Lovely and fresh on the nose, as expected, with stonefruits and a nice citrusy hit.  The palate is lively, youthful and fruit-full almost to a fault really and that is only because  of how good it tastes.  Juicy stonefruit dominant with a creamy sort of texture (thanks to the barrel fermentation, and then some lovely balanced mouth-watering acidity adds to the very good length.  I could easily drink this any time of the year!

Price: $27

2019 Special Reserve Chardonnay

The intense stonefruit aromatics make it difficult to move on to tasting it.  Gee it’s good on the nose.  The palate is then swathed in rich, inviting, chardonnay characters.  Peaches, a hint of pears and nectarines start things off as a lovely creamy texture spreads everything across the palate, and then smooth acidity shows up as it peters out to an excellent length.  Even in its youth, all of the components seem to have come together beautifully.  An absolute pleasure to drink.

Price: $35

Huntington Estate Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Source: Samples thanks to Huntington Estate

Huntington Estate Chardonnay

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2019 Huntington Estate Mudgee Semillon Chardonnay

While tasting this wine, I was trying to think of the last time I saw this particular white blend on social media, on a restaurant wine list or in a bottle shop.  I’ve seen ‘field blends’ and plenty of ‘Rhone blends’ about but few bottles of Semillon/Chardonnay.  After tasting it, I began to wonder why there isn’t more of it about, especially considering how delicious this one is.

Things started off very nicely with plenty of stonefruit and citrusy aromas causing some anticipation salivation.  It’s fresh, fruity and full of flavour on the palate, that’s for sure.  Lovely peach and nectarine characters to the fore with a nice lemon/grapefruit-like acidity adding freshness to a very good, persistent and dry finish.  I have to admit, I did ‘taste’ it many times just to make sure.

This is an absolute bargain and, considering Tim and Nicky Stevens won’t be producing any wines from the 2020 vintage due to smoke taint, wines like this one of theirs are going to be in high demand.  I can see the words, ‘sold out’ appearing next to this wine on the website so, get in quick.

Huntington Estate Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $25 (bargain)     Source: Sample thanks to Huntington Estate

Huntington Estate Semillon Chardonnay

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Huntington Estate New Release Semillons

I have two young grandsons and, as you’d expect, at ages (almost) 5 and (a little over) 2, both are full of life, energy and vivacity.  Even at such young ages and being products of the same parents, they already have their own lovable personalities and you can’t help but like the little blighters. I know this sounds a whole lot bias, but it’s easy to want to spend time with them.  As they grow up, I have no doubt they will mature into fine young men who will live very rewarding and productive lives.

Well, here are two Semillons that are no different to my two grandsons.  Both are lively in their youth yet with different personalities.  It’s clear even at this point in their life they are going to develop into fine examples of the variety as they mature and will make their ‘parents’, Tim and Nicki Stevens of Huntington Estate proud.

2019 Semillon

Juicy lemons yell an excited ‘HELLO’ to the nasal passages as a slight floral sort of note fights its way through that citrusy hit. An inviting entrée to what’s inside the bottle and it doesn’t disappoint. Fresh, zingy and citrusy with lovely acidity. There’s a very nice lemony tang complementing the great fruit flavours spreading themselves across the tongue.  It maybe young in both looks and taste but don’t let this stop you from opening a bottle.  As I said earlier, it doesn’t disappoint.

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $27

Huntington-Estate-Semillon-2019

2018 Special Release Semillon

The nose gets WOW number 1 for this wine! Like the 2019, it’s citrusy but with more complexity and a dried herb like character poking out amongst it all.  The second WOW for this wine belongs to the palate! Plenty of flavour to get your tongue and gums around.  There’s lemons and limes (I know what you’re thinking but it’s different to ‘that’ white variety) and  it might come as a surprise but there’s texture there too.  A lovely long dry finish where the acid sings just tops it off for me.  This is a purely delightful Semillon.  Respectworthy, ageworthy and yumworthy too!

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $35

Huntington-Estate-Special-Reserve-Semillon-2018

Huntington Estate Website     Source: Samples thanks heaps to Huntington Estate

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2019 Castle Rock Estate Porongurup Riesling & 2018 Porongurup Pinot Noir

Way back in 1616 Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog literally stumbled across the west coast of Australia thanks to some blustery winds in the Indian Ocean.  Along with other Dutch explorers after him, he had a bit of a look up and down the coast, but was not interested in claiming it in the name of a Sovereign leader from his home country or permanently calling the place home.  It took over 200 years for the Government of New South Wales to send a group of boats loaded with people to establish a settlement at King George Sound, just a mere 60 kilometres from Porongurup.  Rather than making the effort to walk to Porongurup, Major Edmond Lockyer, the leader of this band of curious east coasters, simply claimed the area for the British Crown and moved on. I wonder if his descendants are cursing him for not getting his boots dirty, wearing some of the leather away and scoping out Porongurup a bit more.  Who knows, there could’ve been grape vines planted long before it was eventually established in the 1970s.

Castle Rock were sort of one of the early pioneers, establishing itself in 1983 and takes its name from a popular climbing destination of the same name which is part of the Porongurup range of mountains.  I have to say, I’ve been lucky to try a few of their wines and they have been an impressive lot.  These two are no exception.  Here’s what I think.

2019 Porongurup Riesling

Beautifully floral and citrusy on the nose, limes for me here and fresh as fresh thing for sure.  The palate has delicate yet intense flavours of the ‘Riesling regulars’ such as lemons (but more so) limes with lovely acidity riding alongside.  It’s sort of minerally but not overly so which, for me is a good thing because I like to see the juicy fruit and acid shine with Rieslings which they do in this wine.  To top it all off, it has a terrific, moreishly dry, lively, inviting and long finish.  A gorgeous Riesling. This will be a sell out!

Price: $25

Castle Rock Riesling

2018 Porongurup Pinot Noir

This starts off so well.  Fresh on the nose, it is definitely varietal and lush with mouth-watering dark cherries and strawberries aplenty.  In a nutshell, the palate is excellent!! (it probably deserves more than two exclamation marks).  Those dark cherries are evident when tasting it (or should I say, “drinking it”) but more spicy-like, lovely fresh strawberries aplenty again.  The fruit concentration is terrific without impacting on the pinosity (is that a word?) of the wine if you know what I mean. Now, I have to mention the oak which is a bit of a constant yet in a complementary way rather than being intrusive.  The finish is long with lovely smooth tannins and that fruit just hangs with them beautifully to the end.  This may sound odd but for a young wine this is quite nicely balanced already. The fruit, tannins and acid have melded together very nicely but still maintain their individual impact on the overall deliciousness of this wine.  Loved it!!

Price: $34

Castle Rock PN 2018

Castle Rock Estate Website

Region: Porongurup, W.A.     Source: Samples courtesy of Castle Rock Estate and Define Wine

 

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Yalumba Y Series Whites & Rosé

On a beautiful day recently, I took the opportunity to go out onto my deck and take in as much vitamin D as mother nature was prepared to give me.  Looking over my gardens, I was taken by the amount of activity there was.  Over a period of about 15 minutes, an abundance of small birds came and went that seemed to enjoy flitting and flying about the gardens.  Among them was a beautiful black and blue Fairy Wren moving between different plants so delicately and quietly.  Following close behind was a Jenny Wren which was rather plain in appearance by comparison but still a delight to watch as it moved around quite busily but with just as much elegance.   I must mention the two pretty Finches that decided to check out the place and, although they didn’t stay long, also added some lovely colour.  There were so many different colours moving about my garden and there were certainly some standouts.  Okay maybe some were not as attractive but still vying for, and worthy of, my attention.

It was pretty much the same when it came to these Yalumba Y series wines when they were spread across my dining room table.  Hopefully, you’ll be able to tell by my notes that there were standouts, and others that will still garner attention because of the sheer value for money they offer because, let’s not forget, these wines can be found for around a tenner.

Riesling

Very good aromas that tell you it’s obviously Riesling.  The palate is such that you’ll be wondering why it’s regularly available for less than the RRP of $15.  Lovely, lively and fresh lemon and lime characters with a nice zing on the finish. I haven’t said much about it I know but the huge ‘Yum’ factor is there and can not be ignored.

Chardonnay

The aromas are quite subtle with peaches, flinty characters and a touch floral maybe.  The palate is much more expressive.  The stone fruit/tropical fruit salad type flavours abound and combine with a creamy-like texture and subtle spice notes.  I tell you what, it has pretty good length too where a touch of acid finishes it off nicely.  This will bring the Chardonnay doubters back to the fold.

Viognier

The pick of the lineup for me (I think the 2018 was my favourite too).  This is an excellent example of the variety at a ridiculous price.  Very aromatic, it’s floral and a little sweet smelling but wait until you try it.  Plenty of flavour that’s for sure.  Those familiar apricot characters dominate for me but there is a fruit salad of flavours in support too, it’s deliciously textural and it has a certain richness on the palate.  As you would expect for a young wine, the finish is fresh and vibrant and very moreish.  This is the wine to get people into the variety.  I loved this wine.

Sauvignon Blanc

It seemed a bit shy aromatically for me.  It was a little bit grassy, a little bit floral, a little bit citrusy, just a little bit of everything really at initial glance.  Totally different when it came to tasting and drinking it. Definitely fresh with some nice lemony notes. Herbal like characters (much preferred over grassy ones) with grapefruit/apple like acidity on the finish.  This will please the Savvy drinkers for sure.

Pinot Grigio

Apple and pear characters kick things off on the nose even if it was a little subdued to start with.  I have to admit, this was probably too cold to really appreciate it on first taste.  As expected, pear characters are the main player with spice like notes and a little sweetness seems to show itself on the finish and, on that note, it seemed to linger a little too.  A wine that is very easy to drink it has to be said and I reckon a lot of it will be.

Rosé

Quite aromatic, you’ll find it’s slightly floral with typical strawberry and raspberry like characters on the nose.  Flavours of bright red fruits (think raspberries, strawberries and the slight sweetness of dried cranberries maybe) fill your mouth while it is delicate and flavoursome at the same time with texture as well.  It has a very good clean, fresh and dry finish but I must advise to not serve it too cold.  Another crowd pleaser for a pittance.

Yalumba Website

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

Yalumba Y Series Wines

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2015 Levantine Hill Colleen’s Paddock Pinot Noir

I haven’t met the owner of Levantine Hill, Elias Jreissati, but I have read and been told quite a bit about him.  He is a self made man who worked bloody hard to get where he is today not withstanding a bump or two along the way.  Despite all of his success, he hasn’t forgotten from where it all began for him.  Talking to those who work for him at Levantine Hill, he is a kind and genuine person and the only reason they will leave is retirement.  I don’t work at Levantine Hill but I hope to be drinking Levantine Hill wines long after I retire.

If only you could see the colour of this wine.  It is truly lovely and beautifully burgundian in appearance.  It took some swirling to get the aromas up and going but, when it showed itself, it was extremely inviting with primary red fruits, cherries and a little bit herbal and stemmy (some whole bunch maybe?).

A paragraph for the palate I think.  It is gorgeous. Plain and simple.  It’s juicy, fruity (ripe raspberries and red cherries), a touch savoury, delicious and smooth.  It’s rich and powerful yet delicate, lush and incredibly mouth-filling.   It finishes a bit dry with lovely fine tannins picking up the terrific fruit again taking it on a lengthy ride for what seems like days.

An excellent example of just how good the 2015 Yarra Valley vintage was, and of how a winemaker let it show its best.

Levantine Hill Website

Region: Yarra Valley, Victoria     Price: $200     Source: Generous Gift

Levantine-Hill-Colleens-Paddock-Pinot-Noir-2015_1565317001-200

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2018 Gartelman ‘Benjamin’ Semillon

With summer pretty much telling us it’s here, we will be looking for fresh, fruity and zesty whites for warm nights and lazy weekends on the deck.  It’s completely understandable that some people go for the ‘mainstream’ whites but please don’t forget to add Semillon to your list.  Excellent ones like this at such a good price offers great value.  Get on it!

Loved the aromas, loved them.  It smells clean and vibrant with lovely zesty lemon freshness.  This love continued on the palate with terrific citrusy fruit intensity.  Lemons again, limes riding alongside with delicious fine and persistent acidity.  There’s a deft touch of texture then the acidity comes again providing a fresh, delightful finish.  I thoroughly enjoyed this wine regardless of its obvious youthfulness and I’ve no doubt it will bring enjoyment in a decade or so…if you can leave the screwcap in place for that long.

Not only will the price attract some immediate attention, winning the trophy at the 2019 Hunter Valley Boutique Wine Show will definitely shine a light on this little beauty.

Gartelmann Website

Region: Upper Hunter Valley, NSW     Price: $27      Source: Sample courtesy of Gartelmann Wines and Define Wine

Gartelmann 2018 Semillon

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2019 Angullong ‘Fossil Hill’ Rosé

As things warm up and we get deeper into the Summer season, we are going to see advertisments encouraging us to slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat.  Well, I’d like to encourage you to slip a bottle of this Rosé in the fridge, slop some into a glass, and slap your mate with a high five for doing so.  The Rosé train does not appear to be slowing down at all.

Made completely from Sangiovese, the nose reeks of strawberries and redcurrants luring you in and piques your curiosity to find out more.  Lovely flavours of cherries, cranberries and a dash of spice make this an extremely attractive proposition for the summer months ahead (or with Asian style food).  There’s something zippy, refreshing and acidic too as it finishes nice and dry, just how we like our Rosés.

Angulong Website

Region: Orange Region, NSW     Price: $26     Source: Sample courtesy of Angullong Wines and Define Wine

Angullong FH Rose 2019

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