2019 Serere Wines Beechworth Syrah

What a delightful wine.  Just delightful!  I realise this sounds odd, but it was more like I was meeting this wine and getting to know it rather than just tasting it.  I feel this wine has been so well ‘parented’ from the embryotic stage of the grape, to a youthful wine now in bottle. I was warmly introduced to aromas of mainly red berries with a small interruption by a savoury/spicy note. It’s like it has manners as it boldly presents the fresh blackberry, red cherry, blue fruit and spicy flavours on the palate, however in such an honest and polite way.  At the same time, there is poise and precision on the palate where the tannins are fine and oak is barely present as the ‘conversation’ continues long after the ‘meeting’.  You soon realise you’ve met a wine that is very likeable, amiable and with a bright future.  It was a pleasure to get to know this wine and I have a feeling we will be seeing more of each other in the years to come.

Serere Wines Website

Region: Beechworth, Vic     Price: $42     Source: Sample thanks kindly to Serere Wines.

Beechworth Syrah 2019
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Shanahans Wines 2019 Barossa Valley Shiraz Releases

One time, as part of my job, I had to do some door knocks (no, I’m not a Seventh Day Adventist or Mormon).  There was an address in the street that was a group of 10 stand-alone units all of which looked exactly the same. I’m guessing the same builder used the same floor plan for each one.  Anyway, long story short, when the door was opened, I could see just how different they were inside.  No two were the same.  Each of the occupants had made it their own.

These two wines have the words ‘Barossa Valley’ and ‘Shiraz’ on them and, yes, both were crafted by the same winemaker.  I have no doubt that, and no disrespect intended, the regular punter would see these as just a couple more Barossa Valley Shirazes.  What they need to do is look past the glass and the label, and look at what is under the screwcap.  They would see just how well winemaker, John Harris, has made these two wines, from Australia’s most famous Shiraz region, expressing their own individuality.

2019 ‘The Old Dog’ Shiraz

Glossy and inky in the glass, this looks like it has plenty of get up ‘n’ go.  The aromas give me that impression as well.  Fresh and juicy dark fruits leap from the glass.  This theme continues on the palate where there is plenty of flavour but without being too full bodied, if you know what I mean.  Dark berries galore, mid-palate plummy richness, a little spicy and savoury balanced by a slight sweet fruit like character too with a really smooth, long finish.  This is a lovely wine that I really enjoyed and great value too!

Price: $23 (A bargian)

The Old Dog Shiraz

2019 ‘Silence is Golden Shiraz

As with the previous wine, this looks great in the glass.  So youthful and vibrant in colour.  This is no shrinking violet on the nose let me tell you.  It’s pretty rich but not scary rich, more elegant rich, if you know what I mean.  There’s plenty of blue fruits and plums showing the way with just a hint of oak showing itself.  This is terrific on the palate!  A bold, bolt upright, chest out sort of wine yet approachable and generous at the same time.  It’s more ripe black fruits here with blackberries, blackcurrants and dark plums plus dark chocolate, liquorice and spice like notes.  It’s lovely, smooth and mouth-filling and has great persistence on the finish.  The pure elegance of this wine reminded me more of an Eden Valley or Adelaide Hills shiraz rather than Barossa Valley. 

Price: $30 (Also a bargain!)

Shanahans Wines Website

Region: Barossa Valley, SA     Source: Samples thanks kindly to Shanahans Wines

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2019 Glen Garvald (by Levantine Hill) Shiraz Marsanne

Now, I would have thought that, if the blended variety of a wine was as little as 1% it would not need to be included on the label.  However, when that 1% adds to the sum of the whole of a wine, it needs to be front and centre with the main contributor.  In this case, Marsanne may be a drop in the Shiraz ocean when it comes to this wine, but it adds to the ripple effect of flavour.

This is a lovely wine from head to toe.  Starting from the nose, both red and black fruits provide plenty of mouth-watering aromas with just a hint of pepper and spice.  Silky smooth on tasting where dark fruits and plums are rich and abundant, and white pepper adds to the medium to full bodied palate.  It’s elegant too, as it moves across the palate with ease.  Balanced?  Sure is.  On its toes ‘pointe technique’ style.  There’s no doubting the tail on this beauty either.  It’s long…very long.  Find this wine is my advice.

Levantine Hill Website

Region: Yarra Valley, Vic     Price: $60     Source: Sample thanks kindly to Levantine Hill

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2020 Shanahans ‘Evergreen’ Eden Valley Riesling

For those who don’t already know, I landscaped our front yard late last year.  It must be said, I put quite a bit of thought into the type of plants I wanted. With that in mind, I selected plants that were, in a way, evergreen.  Yes, some produce flowers but that was to attract birds.  The greenery of the leaves vary in appearance from glossy to matt to variegated types.  What this all means is, our garden always looks green, attractive, but most of all, alive!!  It will also last many years to come…with the right care and attention of course.

This Evergreen Riesling is similar to the plants in my garden.  Meticulous care has gone into putting it together.  It’s youthful, it’s attractive, it’s alive and it will develop even more in the coming years.

Beautifully aromatic and unmistakably Riesling. Vivacious on tasting it thanks to lively citrus characters of lemons (mainly) and limes, lemon sherbet, crisp fresh and mouth-watering acidity, a nice little bit of texture too and excellent length.  Deeeelicious!!

Shanahans Wines Website

Region: Eden Valley, SA     Price: $23     Source: Sample thanks kindly to Shanahans Wines

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2016 Huntington Estate Block 3 Cabernet Sauvignon

I have a lot of books, many of which are biographies.  I can vividly remember buying the first volume of a particular book about a famous individual, and not putting it down until I’d read it from front to back (obviously,  back to front would’ve been weird).  It was about his youth, his enthusiasm for life, him slowly growing up, reaching puberty and leaving home.  Then my patience was tested.  I had to wait for volume 2 to be released!  I feel it’s the same with this wine.  It seems to me I have been lucky enough to read volume one of its life while volume 2 waits within its great fruit, obvious but balanced tannins and terrific structure.  I’d better get me a bottle and put it away so I get to ‘read’ volume 2 in a few years and see where life took it. 

A beautiful dark red colour as it settled into the glass.  I know people talk about flavours lingering but, believe me when I say, the aromas seem to linger long with this wine.  It was like the black fruit and slightly spicy aromas hung around the olfactory senses refusing to leave.  This was pretty exciting, an excellent prelude into what was about to happen on the palate, and let me tell you, it was an absolute pleasure.  Rich and bold dark fruits, a touch of liquorice, creamy dark chocolate, slightly savoury/spicy, a hint of oak, obvious but balanced tannins (as mentioned previously) and very good length.  That sums up the palate perfectly for me.  This is a lovely wine that will require patience to see just what ‘volume 2’ will reveal. 

Huntington Estate Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $75     Source: Sample thanks to Huntington Estate

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2015 Brand & Sons Sanctuary Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon

I am a music fan.  I would even go as far as to say that I listen to music more hours in the day than I do watching the nonsense box (television for those who are not familiar with this term).  And, let’s face it, it is almost everywhere these days.  Lifts, shopping centres, at the start, during and after movies, and the list goes on and, who doesn’t have it on in the car when they are cruising around.

I think, when drinking this elegant, sophisticated and powerful wine, it deserves some accompanying theme music.  It would be orchestral, of course, beginning with the string section; violins, violas and cellos begin proceedings as the palate distinguishes the flavours as fruits, herbs and oak present themselves.  The quiet rolling of the Timpani drums join in as the flavour density builds to black fruits and berries, dark plums, subtle mint and herbal characters.  The rolling of the drums slowly intensifies in unison with the increasing fruit concentration.  Other supporting orchestral instruments chime in like the subtle oak and silky tannins that add to the terrific length. 

The winemaker, Sam Brand, has performed like a conductor with this wine.  He has brought everything together beautifully in this classic Coonawarra Concerto.

Winery Website: https://brandandsons.com.au/

Region: Coonawarra, SA     Price: $130     Source: Sample thanks kindly to Brand & Sons and https://savvycomms.ninja/

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Bloodwood Rieslings. Old and New

Comparing old with new can be a bit unfair at times.  I know my 1996 Toyota Hilux flat-tray 2-wheel drive ute does not compare with today’s model.  It would have been like comparing mine when it was released with the 1971 model.  There is constantly so much advancement in the motor vehicle industry, it is pointless doing those sorts of comparisons.  And it is not just motor vehicles.  Televisions, mobile phones, toasters and the list goes on. 

Comparing old and new wines, however, is a totally different thing.  I really like comparing old wines with their current releases and, when I get that opportunity, I grab it! Unlike my old ute, wine can and does change over time, and most of the time for the better.

2018 Bloodwood Riesling

I realise it is only three years old but the colour is such that you’d think it was barely a year in bottle.  It’s young, fresh and vibrant on the citrus dominant nose with just a hint of floral like characters.  Mostly limey on the flavoursome palate but again it’s the freshness and zingyness that I love about this wine.  There’s a lemon sherbet like texture as well, juicy acidity that makes your mouth water and excellent length. I loved this wine.

Region: Orange, NSW     Price: $32     Source: Sample thanks to Bloodwood Wines and Define Wine

2010 Bloodwood Riesling

Let me start by saying, the general consensus among some wine appreciative friends who tried this was, it was five, maybe six years old…not eleven!!  It still has some primary citrus notes on the nose coupled with subtle honey and floral like characters. Still with some citrus brightness on the palate, the acid still holding its own, honey characters just starting to show and really good length.  What a treat!


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2018 McLean Bay Pinot Noir

If you didn’t know, our newly elected Premier is Peter Gutwein.  Pretty much all of us down here in Tassie pronounce it as Gutt-wen.  As it turns out, and how cool is this, in German it means ‘Good Wine’!  Considering he is our Premier, and we have great wine in Tasmania, I think he should consider changing his name to Peter Großwein (that’s German for ‘great wine’).  I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it.  I go as far to say that I would probably vote for him next time if he did (tongue in cheek moment).

This is a lovely, elegant Tassie Pinot Noir that could easily be a contributor to the Großwein tag.  It’s a terrific pinot colour and the varietal characters don’t stop there.  It spreads to the nose and palate so easily.  The aromas are so subtle but present (if you know what I mean) with dark cherries, ripe strawberries and a little bit leafy.  The flavours are such that, yes it’s Pinot Noir as I mentioned earlier, but there is that little more ‘something’ to it, but what that something is escapes me.  The cherries and strawberries are here too.  Add a touch of spice, a hint of oak, silky tannins, good persistence and that ‘something’ I mentioned earlier, and it equals a mighty fine, gold medal winning (2019 International Cool Climate Wine Show), Tassie Pinot Noir.  It’s a gutwein and it gets my vote!

Maclean Bay Wines Website

Region: East Coast, Tasmania     Price: $37     Source: Self Purchase


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2019 Serere Beechworth Shiraz Viognier

My wife and I are searching the market for a good SUV.  What I didn’t realise until we started looking was, there’s a plethora of them to choose from.  It’s like every single motor vehicle manufacturer has one in their range.  You can’t blame them, they are very popular.  Some are more powerful, some have a few little extras, some more attractive, some look streamlined, some have great colours and, not forgetting, there are some better than others.

Shiraz Viognier blends are almost the SUV of the wine world.  There seems to be many of them available from many different producers these days.  The only difference is, you’d be hard pressed to find a not-so-good Shiraz Viognier produced in Australia.  We have winemaker, Joe Warren, to thank for this delicious one.

It’s a lovely colour in the glass and very aromatic and perfumed right from the get go, with ripe red fruits and delicate spice notes to the fore.  The palate is quite something.  Elegant springs to mind, medium bodied too, mouth filling juicy blackcurrants, black cherry and blueberries are the flavoursome fruits.  It has a terrific textural mouthfeel to it and, while it’s moderately+ long on the finish, the flavours hang around long enough for you to know you’ve tasted, and are drinking, something pretty special.

Serere Wines Website

Region: Beechworth, Victoria     Price: $52     Source: Sample thanks to Serere Wines

Beechworth Shiraz Viognier 2019
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2019 Glen Garvald (by Levantine Hill) Merlbec

Merlot and Malbec together, in a bottle, under a screwcap, would have to be a rare occurrence surely?  Normally they form part of the famous Bordeaux blend quintet with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  Could you imagine Angus Young and Brian Johnson taking a break from the other three members of AC/DC and releasing an album?  As much it is highly unlikely, it would be popular with fans regardless.  Just like these two varieties coming together, it is a rarity but I think this will be a very popular wine.

It sits very pretty in the glass and things start off very juicy, fruity and eye-brow raisingly attractive on the nose.  This is a lovely, fresh and juicy wine on the smooth, medium bodied palate too where it is also very appealing.  Plenty of flavour thanks to blackberry and plum, a touch of dried herbs with a good long if slightly drying finish.  I very much enjoyed this wine and I sincerely hope Levantine Hill continue to include it in their portfolio of wines. 

Levantine Hill Website

Region: Yarra Valley, Vic     Price: $50     Source: Sample thanks to Levantine Hill

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