2014 Grey Sands Pinot Noir

The words ‘Pinot Noir’ are pretty much part of the Tasmanian vernacular these days.  When Tasmanian wine comes up in a conversation, no matter who I speak with, Pinot Noir gets quite a bit of the attention over the other popular varieties.  There is so much good quality pinot coming out of the ‘Island State’ that even wineries on the big island are purchasing fruit to make a Tassie Pinot, buying vineyards or buying land and planting vines.  That’s a good sign don’t you think?

Well, Bob & Rita Richter saw the potential in planting a vineyard and growing grapes for wine production way back in 1989.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but foresight is what pays off.  Well done Bob & Rita I say.

It may well be five years old but it still has a lovely deep colour.  Now, the colour  may have you questioning its varietalness (I don’t think that’s a word) and origin.  Look past that and onto the aromas and the taste.  It is most definitely Pinot Noir, and Tassie.  No question.

Plums, dark cherries with a sweet red fruit influence sort of thing (sorry, I know this sounds odd) that adds a freshness or youthfulness if you like.  It’s quite mouthfilling, not in a rich or full bodied way but more of a plenty-of-flavour sort of way without taking away from that varietalness I mentioned earlier.  It’s lovely and smooth and little bit vanilla like on the finish that lingers very nicely indeed.  Tannins have almost integrated at this point of its development meaning you can tell they are present but don’t impinge on the enjoyment of drinking the wine.  To finish off, I’m going to sum this wine up in five words. Balanced with a bright future.

Grey Sands Website

Region: Glengarry, Northern Tasmania     Price: $55     Source: Sample thanks to Grey Sands

Grey Sands Pinot_Noir 2014

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2019 Castle Rock Porongurup ‘Skywalk’ Riesling

Riesling; described by Jancis Robinson MW in her Oxford Companion to Wine as “arguably the world’s most undervalued, misspelt, mispronounced variety … and could claim to be the finest white grape variety in the world on the basis of the longevity of its wines and their ability to transmit the characteristics of their vineyard”.  So apt when it comes to this wine, except the part that is more likely to be mispronounced would be Porongurup!

To get things started, it’s quite floral without being too much to be off-putting (I’m not sure I can explain it better than that but I hope you know what I mean) but it it has some lovely limey, citrusy aromas balancing it out perfectly.

The palate’s the place to be though.  Fresh with lots of flavour, those lovely lime characters appear again, and I just had to gently swish it around my mouth.  Not like it was a mouthwash, more to get the wine into every crevice possible.  Hello to crispy, mouthwatering acidity on the finish adding to the delightful length.  Beautifully balanced already and has a terrific mouthfeel too.  I could easily drink a lot of this Riesling.  Easily!

Castle Rock Estate Website

Region: Porongurup, WA     Price: $20 (An absolute bargain)     Source: Sample courtesy of Castle Rock Estate and Define Wine

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2015 Gartelmann ‘Jonathon’ Mudgee Cabernet Sauvignon

Worldwide there are apparently 341,000 hectares planted with Cabernet Sauvignon.  In Australia there are approximately 25,000 hectares of vines.  Clearly, when it comes to both of these figures, I have only tasted the tip of the Cabernet Sauvignon wine iceberg, around the world and, more so, in Australia.  I need to lift my game!

I couldn’t find out how many hectares there are in Mudgee, but it appears to be the most favoured variety, so I assume, the most planted.  I’ve been lucky enough to try a few over the last couple of years and there’s some impressive buggers coming out of the area.  I can see why they proudly put the ‘Mudgee’ stamp on the front label.

It’s a terrific colour this wine but then I took in the aromas.  It smells rich, robust, juicy and delicious.  It got me grinning.

Still plenty of fruit in this four year old, full bodied, Mudgee Cabernet.  Blackberries and blackcurrants play a major part in the flavour arena (gee these flavours turn up a lot in a the wines I’ve been lucky enough to try lately. It seems to be a full time job for them!).

Delicate herbs (those dried ones in a jar that everyone has in their pantry) are in and about as well and there’s a slight Chocolately note I liked too.

Drying tannins are present but by no means offensive. They add the ‘potential-to-age’ factor in a nice supportive role.

A good long finish is helped along by the abundant fruit which brings it home nicely.  This goes very well it has to be said.

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $35     Source: Sample courtesy of Gartelmann Wines and Define Wine

Gartelmann Website

2015 Gart Jon Mu Cab Sav

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2015 Levantine Hill Estate Mélange Traditionnel Blanc

Different, and many things make people happy regardless of their age.  My grandson smiles and loses his ability to speak when his mum buys him his favourite ice cream, my nephew wears a grin from ear to ear when he kicks a goal at footy and then there’s me.  Tasting and sharing a bottle of wine with family or friends is something that continues to make me happy.

My mother is getting on a bit in years and has some ailments that come with those years. Yet when I speak with her and visit her, she always seems happy with her lot regardless.  One of the pleasures she gets out of life these days is a glass of wine (or two) of a night.  Her circumstances are such that the quality of that wine can vary from one week to the next.  Each and every Sunday afternoon as part of our ‘family tradition’ (that I spoke about in this review) I take a bottle of bubbles and a white wine of which we share.

I had the pleasure of sharing a bottle of this wine with my mum.  The circumstances of doing so are quite interesting in itself I must say, but I’ll keep that to myself, sorry.  But her reaction was priceless.  With raised eyebrows, a bit of a cheeky grin and then the smile appeared followed by the words, “This has lots of flavour.  Oh mate, I like this.”

Great aromatic nose of tropical fruits and struck match.  The palate is rich yet delicate and fancy-like but not in a pretentious way, more of a you-deserve-this way, if you know what I mean.  There’s stonefruit (peaches and apricots) characters with subtle lemon influence as well.   It’s lovely and viscous, oily and creamy on the palate too as it eases its way to a slightly spicy, terrific, silky smooth and long finish.

Levantine Hill Website

Region: Yarra Valley     Price: $80 (Hurry, there’s not much left)     Source: Generous gift to my mum

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2017 Golden Grove SPV Sparkling Vermentino

It must be daunting to do a sparkling white wine with anything other than Chardonnay (Blanc de Blanc).  I only say that because of the reputation and expectation that the only white variety used to make a bubbles is, lets face it, Chardonnay.  Even in the usual Cuvée wine, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir make up the blend (sometimes with a bit of Pinot Meunier too).  I have to admit to trying sparkling Rieslings out there in the wine world, but not many other sparkling whites made from different varietals that I can recall.  I think it’s pretty cool that winemakers like Ray Costanzo have the confidence to bottle a bubbles made from a different variety like this one.

Things get off to a great start with lovely floral and citrusy notes combine with a toasted brioche bun character for a interest worthy nose.

Refreshing and lively flavours of lemons on the palate with hints of pear and melon playing a role.  There’s some nice texture thanks to the base wine spending time on lees while crisp acidity, and that toasty character I mentioned earlier, adding to a moreish length.  One thing that really got me about this wine was, as the fizz slowly eased, the flavours seemed to lift and present beautifully.  You can’t help but have more than just one glass!

Region: Granite Belt, Queensland     Price: $38     Source: Sample thanks to Golden Grove Estate

Golden Grove Estate Website

GG sparkling_vermontino

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2010 Grey Sands Merlot

Way back in 1975, the band Skyhooks released an album and a song called “Ego is not a dirty word”.  Well I’d like to take out ‘ego’ from the title and replace it with ‘Merlot’. “Merlot is not a dirty word.”  You see, back in 2004, the movie Sideways was released which somewhat damaged the reputation of Merlot (for a few years anyway) and the weird thing is, in the movie Paul Giamatti didn’t say a bad word about it.  All he said was, “If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving.  I am not drinking any Merlot.”  Mind you, it still seems to not have such a good name in the world of wine mainly because of some of the ones you see floating around the bottleshops that are green, lean and lacking personality.  Regardless, as far as I’m concerned, “Merlot is not a dirty word.”  This one?  Not by a long shot!

Goodness me.  I’m happy to bet London to a brick there is no way by looking at the colour would anyone, not even the wine critics, think this is a nine year old Merlot. No way! Lush dark fruits to the fore when it comes to your nose doing its job.

Drinking it and knowing what it tastes like is what most people are interested in, am I right?  So, let me tell you about the flavours.  The dark fruits (think blackcurrants, blackberries and perfectly ripe plums) are ever so plump and juicy, smooth tannins sit delicately on the palate albeit a tad drying, the oak has integrated very nicely, plus it has pretty good length too.  Actually, everything about this wine defies its age.

This should be the place to continue your Merlot appreciation journey.

Region: Glengarry, Tasmania     Price: $55     Source: Sample thanks to Grey Sands

Grey Sands Website

Grey Sands 2010 Merlot

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2019 Golden Grove Estate Rosé Brosé

I may be going over old ground here but, I think I’ve mentioned a few times now that, in my opinion, the best varieties to use for Rosé are Shiraz, Sangiovese, Grenache and Cabernet Franc.  How chuffed was I to read that three out of the four are featured in this Rosé.  It’s like Ray Costanzo, the winemaker, and I are Bro’s.

Right off the bat are aromas of bright and inviting red fruits that are the stars here and it’s already saying, “I’m your summer lunch time wine” even before we hit Spring!

Strawberries, red currants and some green apple like acidity combine for quite a mouthwatering palate.  The 34% Sangiovese and 23% Grenache happily lived in barrels while they fermented plus, with a couple of months on lees, there’s texture and a really nice dimension to the wine.  There’s a lovely dry but fruity finish to look forward to and, to cap it all off, it’s only 20 bucks!  You know what you need to do.

Region: Granite Belt, Queensland     Price: $20     Source: Sample thanks to Golden Grove Estate

Golden Grove Estate Website

GG rose_brose

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