2017 Angullong Orange Region Shiraz

Word of advice.  Don’t ask someone if they’d like to try an Orange Shiraz.  I have no idea why I phrased the question that way.  Anyway, when I noticed the quizzical facial response, I quickly corrected myself and said a Shiraz from Orange in New South Wales.  Nonetheless, it still generated some questions from the person who was new to a Shiraz from the region.  The Angullong website got a little bit of a workout after that.  When I mentioned the price, it received an even better response!

The nose was a bit subdued to start with but, with a bit of a swirl, out came the fresh and vital aromas of a berry basket full of red and black fruits which was a good introduction to the flavours.  Cherries and blackberries are juicy and fresh on the palate as well, and hints of black pepper form part of the savouriness of this just medium bodied wine.  It certainly has a high drinkability factor and for the price, it’s a winner for sure.

Angullong Website

Region: Orange, NSW     Price: $22 (bargain)     Source: Sample courtesy of Angullong Wines and Define Wine


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2018 Golden Grove Estate Nero D’Avola

It gets pretty damn cold here in Hobart during the winter months, but temperatures can get even lower in Stanthorpe on the Granite Belt in Queensland.  Seriously!  As an example, about a month ago at 6.30 in the morning, it was -4 degrees in Stanthorpe compared to 10 degrees in Hobart (a rarity I might add).  When it comes to the warmer months, the gap is wider and massively in favour of Stanthorpe.

Nero d’Avola is one of the cool cats on the street at the moment.  There are a few examples floating around the Aussie neighbourhood (apparently 55 vineyards around the country) and I am yet to find a dud among them.  This one is a newbie to me and  I don’t mind admitting to keeping it all to myself (insert smiling emoji here).

Bright red fruits start the senses off making it seem so alive and inviting.  I do love this Italian variety.

The palate is full of flavour with slightly sweet darkish berries balanced by a subtle spicy tang of cherriness.  Medium bodied and so easy to drink, it seems to sit effortlessly on the palate, so much so you just don’t want to let it go.  The only reason you would swallow your first taste is knowing there is going to be another.  Tannins? Ha! Nothing to see here.  The finish is so smooth and long adding to the resultant delicious drink. Yes please!

Region: Granite Belt, Queensland     Price: $30     Source: Sample thanks to Golden Grove Estate (cheers Ray Costanzo)

Golden Grove Estate Website

Golden Grove Nero d'Avola.jpg


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2016 Grey Sands Pinot Gris

There is something to be said for consistency when it comes to producing wine.  That is why some wine shows have a ‘Wines of Provenance’ Class.  This class of wines is usually made up of three wines with a minimum of 10 years separating the youngest to the oldest and a minimum of three years between each vintage (I think that’s right and I hope that makes sense).

I realise not every winery is into the Wine Show thing but, if Bob and Rita Richter, owners of Grey Sands, entered this wine, there’s a better than good chance it would win the trophy hands down!  As much as this is one of our favourites, I can honestly say, it is consistently well made.

When it was poured in the glass I straight away thought, that’s freshly baked bread straight out of the oven.  A few swirls of the glass and I got honeysuckle and pear  aromas for days with just a hint of a citrusy character.  I just knew this was going to be yummy (a technical wine term of course).

Lovely texture almost macadamia nut like, those pears appear again but they have a more riper sort of richness about them without being overdone.  Hello to some suave spicy notes and the acidity on the persistent finish is delicate and fine, and just one part of the structure guaranteeing a very good future.

I’ve been a fan of this wine for a number of years and it never fails to impress.  This is one of those moments where you wish you had a magnum (1.5 litre bottle) of a wine.

Grey Sands Website

Region: Glengarry, Tasmania     Price: $45     Source: Sample thanks to Grey Sands


Grey Sands pinot-gris

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2018 Golden Grove Granite Belt Durif

For ages I thought Durif and Petite Sirah were one and the same grape.  Well, I was wrong.  Don’t I feel like an idiot.  Durif is a cross between Syrah and a grape variety I’ve never heard of, Peloursin (apparently there are some grown in Victoria).  We can thank Doctor Durif (yes, that’s his name) for bringing the two together way back in the 1880s.  I wonder if he knew at the time what he had created and the pleasure he would bring to the Australian wine drinker?

First up, I must say, the new labels on these wines are terrific.  Well done Ray and the team.  They depict certain stages of the vineyard and, not that I am into art but, I’d be interested to know if the artwork is hanging proudly somewhere on the Granite Belt.  I sincerely hope so.

Durif’s reputation is for being a big, monster of a wine.  Big everything from the fruit to the alcohol, to the headache the next day if you drink too much of it.  Well, this one is no different but, wait for it, there is a difference.  It has that ‘punch’ if you like but it seems more refined than your regular durif.

The colour is deep as you’d expect and the aromas are simply, sweet fruitfully, divine.

Bold as brass in the fruit area with blueberries, mulberries and a hint of dark fruit flavours greet you without an apology.  Then spices and some quality chocolate come knocking at the door and enter like they are part of the furniture.  The oak is not obvious even though there is 25% of the new American kind in there which speaks highly of the fruit winemaker, Ray Costanzo, has growing in his vineyard.  The tannins scream out for a chunk of red meat but hey, I’m comfortable with that.  An excellent example of the rich, robust yet juicy variety known as durif.

Golden Grove Estate Website

Region: Granite Belt, Queensland     Price: $30 (cheap)     Source: Sample thanks to Golden Grove Estate (cheers Ray Costanzo)

GG durif_bottle-2

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2019 Golden Grove Estate Granite Belt Vermentino

I’ve spoken to quite a few friends about the wines coming out of the Granite Belt and, not surprisingly, they were quite surprised to hear of the type of climate they have and how long they have contributed to the wine producing world.  I have to admit to being surprised about the alternative varieties they grow and bottle in the area.  If this example is anything to go by, Vermentino clearly thrives in the region, and winemaker Ray Costanzo knows exactly how to bring out its best.

I invited three of my wine mates over to try this for two reasons.  Firstly, because I know they don’t get to try wines from the sunshine state very often, if at all.  Secondly, it’s a variety that tends to not get much space on bottleshop shelves down here.

I’m going to get things started with a congratulations to the Golden Grove team on the new labels.  Very cool indeed.  I have to say (sorry guys), they are much more inviting than previous ones.

The aromas are very cool and inviting too.  Stonefruits and a slightly floral aroma are where this wine kicked off but the abundant flavours were what my mates and I were mighty impressed with.  Peaches and honeydew melon were the fruits to the fore for me, slight limey notes played a part and there’s like a spicy/savoury touch that I didn’t expect.  Nice!  A creamy ‘lees influenced’ textural dimension adds to the attraction of the wine, then acid doesn’t miss out on the show adding to the very persistent and long finish.

I’ve tried quite a few Vermentinos now and I could definitely drink a lot of this.  It’s a lovely wine.  Talk to your friends, family and work colleagues and order some of this in readiness for summer.

Golden Grove Estate Website

Region: Granite Belt, Queensland     Price: $30 (great value buying)     Source: Sample thanks to Golden Grove Estate (Ray Costanzo)

GG vermintino

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2018 Yelland and Papps Second Take Grenache

We have a lot to thank our forbears for when it comes to adages.  They came up with many a saying or two that are still used today.  One that I thought of straight away when I read the email from Susan Papps about the Second Take range was, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.  The reason for thinking this was, their motto of “New world wine done the old world way”.  Because of this range of wines, you could almost come up with a new saying of, “You can teach a new dog old tricks” because, from what I can tell, that’s what’s happened here.  The (almost) new dog, Michael Yelland, has adopted the old tricks (of the winemaking trade) and produced a bunch of wines that are quickly becoming crowd favourites.  You almost feel like you want to give Micheal a good scratch behind the ear and a biscuit to say, thanks mate.

I love the smell of this Grenache.  It’s a terrific array of fresh sweetish red fruits, attractive spicy notes alongside a dab of funky personality (yes, it’s an aroma in the context of this wine if you don’t mind).  Beautifully balanced on the palate thanks to characters of blackberries and blueberries which are lush and smooth.  Then there’s the slight hint of spices that comes as no surprise, yet nothing steals the limelight away from the fruit for me.  It really shines in this wine.  When it comes to the tannins, they are like vanilla ice-cream on a white plate (I can’t take credit for these words).  You know they are there but hardly noticeable and blending in perfectly.  Damn good drinking here!

Yelland & Papps Website

Region: Barossa Valley, SA     Price: $40     Source: Sample courtesy of Yelland & Papps

Y&P @nd Grenache

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2016 Hastwell & Lightfoot Cabernet Sauvignon

I love food.  Mind you, I don’t know many people who don’t.  When my wife is in the kitchen doing what she does so well, cooking (amongst other things of course), and working her magic, the aromas that spread throughout our home definitely make my mouth water, and I just can’t wait to see and eat what is going to be served up.

I also love wine.  When I poured this one, the aromas were such that they made my mouth water, honestly.  Fresh red berries and dark cherries are the attraction on the nose without taking anything away from the beautiful dark and glossy appearance in the glass.

Flavours are quite rich with lush dark berry fruits to the fore, there are some herbs in there too, creamy vanilla characters thanks to the expected time in oak (some new?) and the tannins are present but part of that which is the wine.  There’s no doubting the fruit is the star here and I’m guessing the wine has benefited from the vine reconstruction .

I can see why Hastwell & Lightfoot’s motto is “Wines Made for Eating”.  You could dine on this for days.  But if you have enough of it in the cellar, you could dine on it for a years.

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

Hastwell & Lightfoot Website

H&L CabSav

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