2019 Huntington Estate Grand Reserve Basket Press Shiraz

When it comes to a combination lock, you have to get the numbers right and in the correct order, to release the lock and access what is being secured. If you don’t, it just doesn’t work and, let’s face it, you’re in trouble. Thankfully, most people select a combination that means something to them and is never forgotten.

This is a perfect example of a wine where every ‘character’ has lined up, combining perfectly to unlock the personality and quality that would have been hidden when it was first made.  Clearly, winemaker, Tim Stevens, knows exactly the right combination of aromas, flavours and characters to release the persona that is Huntington Estate…and that means a lot to him.

Delightfully aromatic, so invitingly fruity and slightly spicy, and it just got better with each swirl of the glass.  It was easy to tell I was going to like this wine.  The palate has lovely, ripe black fruits that link in nicely with a savouriness, a juiciness, a richness and a smoothness resulting in terrific mouth-filling flavours and characters and experiences that linger longingly.  Gee, I like this wine!

Huntington Estate Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $80    Source: Samples thanks kindly to Huntington Estate

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2019 Angullong Crossing Reserve ‘Harriet’

I remember watching a documentary about the Bee Gees.  One of the people being interviewed said, “When you have these brothers singing together, it’s like an instrument that no one else can buy.”  If you know the brothers Gibb, I don’t think I need to explain what he meant by this.  Individually, they each had terrific voices but, when they came together, each of the brothers contributed a different tone to whatever it was they were singing, and it was always harmonious, unique and such a pleasure to listen to.

I think it is very similar when different wine varieties get together.  For this wine, the three varieties brought together, Sangiovese, Sagrantino and Montepulciano, do not miss a beat. 

Very attractive and fresh aromas of dark fruits, a little spice and a touch of herbs that are quite the prelude.  The medium bodied palate is quite lively, youthful and smile enhancing.  It’s rich and plentiful without feeling dense or heavy.  Lovely juicy black fruits, dark cherry and plum, a little savoury and herbal like, a touch earthy too, and the tannins aren’t shy but sit nicely as part of the ensemble.  This was very easy to like and guaranteed to attract a good crowd.

Angullong Wines Website

Region: Orange Region, NSW     Price: $48     Source: Sample courtesy of Angullong Wines and Define Wine

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Huntington Estate 2021 White Wine Releases

I was listening to a podcast the other day about platypuses (yep, platypuses) and a fellow’s immense excitement about them.  He is quoted as saying, “If I sound excited about platypuses, it’s because I am.”  I think they are a pretty cool creature (did you know they are a mammal?) but can’t remember ever being excited about them.  However, I can definitely relate to what he is quoted as saying because, if I sound excited about Huntington Estate wines, it’s because I am!  And I’m not just talking about their terrific reds.  It includes their Chardonnays and Semillons as well, and you’re about to read why.

Huntington Estate Website

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

2021 Estate Semillon

This is the type of Semillon that will get more people into this under-rated variety.  It has all the hallmarks of a young, fresh Semillon with that citrus fruit acidity but has the addition of a nice, appealing, touch of texture across the palate.  But it’s all about the lemon citrus fruit providing a zippiness and mouth-watering freshness that had me diving back in. Nice! Price: $27

2021 Special Reserve Semillon

Fresh as a daisy from top to bottom.  Vibrancy is the key descriptor for this wine and there’s plenty of it, along with lovely citrusy feels as well. Lemons and limes keep showing their hand, a nice touch of texture and the acid carries everything to a good lengthy finish.  I can only imagine how much better this is going get with more time in the cellar…as good Semillons appreciate. Price: $40

2021 Estate Barrel Fermented Chardonnay

From an unashamedly Chardonnay fan, I very much enjoyed the immediate drinking appeal this wine possesses.  It has plenty of stone fruit flavour on the palate, a nicely played gentle creamy/buttery-ness to it with lovely acidity carrying the flavour across the palate to a really good finish.  Everything about this wine seems so balanced already.  A genuine crowd pleaser right here. Price: $27

2021 Special Reserve Chardonnay

Where the previous Chardonnay had immediate appeal, this one exudes ‘cellar me please!’  Not that it isn’t enjoyable now, it is.  As a matter of fact, my wife enjoyed this one more.  Initially, it presented more aromatically than it did on the palate where it eventually opened up to stone fruit characters with a nice ‘fleshy’ feel to it. Lemon tart like acidity and texture adding balance on the lengthy finish.  I sensed it appreciated being released from the bottle, allowing it to show its classy edge. Price: $40

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Hardy’s ‘Eileen Hardy’ 2021 Releases

I went to school with a fellow who is a fine furniture maker.  He is often commissioned to make specific pieces for people and price is never discussed. He sources the finest of Tasmania’s native species timbers he can, brings them together, the joins so precise, the finish so smooth and faultless.  The finished product highlighting the best natural timber our state can grow, constructed by a true craftsman.  And he doesn’t make it about him.  It is always about the timber and the exquisite piece of furniture, and the joy it will bring the owner for many years to come.

These two wines are no different.  Amazing fruit has been sourced from around Tasmania, seamlessly brought together, treated with respect, showcasing the two varieties at their very best, and made by an exemplary wine-making team.  The result being wines that will bring joy to those who drink them now, and those who have the patience and desire to cellar them.  Simply beautiful wines to experience.

Hardy’s Wines Website

Region: Tasmania     Price: ?     Source: Exclusive intimate pre-release tasting

2021 Eileen Hardy Pinot Noir

A terrific nose.  Delightfully perfumed with youthful, ripe red fruits and a delicate spicey note.  The aromas just keep pulling you back in and seem unforgiving for doing so.  The palate is something special indeed.  There’s intensity and richness while maintaining Pinot Noir elegance.  Dark cherry and ripe strawberry fruit, a little steminess (thanks to a percentage of whole bunch), juicy plums, delicate spice characters and lovely fine tannins.  The finish?  Incredibly persistent and so perfectly ‘Pinot Noir’. Thinking about it, I could’ve summed it up in one word.  Excellent!

2021 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay

Aromatically rich and alluring.  Lush tropical fruits, struck match, with a slight citrusy hit that tickles the nose hairs and a nice minerality characteristic too. The palate is also rich yet has delicacy and refinement.  It’s abundantly flavoured thanks to those tropical fruits, there’s a lemon sorbet like influence too and the quality fruit easily carries the 40+% new oak.  The acidity is so beautifully fine and, while having an impact on the structure of the wine, takes nothing away from the delicate, positively pervasive texture, and has terrific length.  It’s balanced and seamless and simply delicious.  This is a delight!

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2018 Huntington Estate Grand Reserve Shiraz Cabernet

I’m not a poet and I’ve never been that interested in poetry.  I also have to admit that, when I stopped and thought about it, only one poets name came to mind, and he’s very well known to Australians. 

The reason I mention this is, I did a search on quotes involving wine and one stood out.  It was by a poet who left this world 200 years ago.  I saved it in my phone and I’m glad I did because when I tried this wine, I immediately thought of it.  It is by English romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley.  I don’t know any of his poems but I’m guessing he enjoyed a glass of wine or two. 

The quote, “I have drunken deep of joy, And I will taste no other wine tonight.”

Beautiful looking in the glass, the colour so deep and lush.  Aromas burst from the glass.  Hello to dark fruits, spice and plums, and oak appears as part of the aromas not a dominant factor.  The palate is rich and plush and voluptuous and juicy and rounded, and the list goes on.  Terrific fruit presence courtesy of blackberries, dark plums and dark cherries, and an almost sweet fruit like character with a balancing savoury appeal.  The pleasure continues with a complementary touch of spice and oak while the tannins provide great support on the lovely, long finish.  This is a beauty!  Worth every dollar and then some!

Huntington Estate Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $100    Source: Samples thanks kindly to Huntington Estate

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2019 Carillion Wines ‘Fenestella’ Hunter Valley Shiraz

Sometimes when you say something, and/or how you say it, can completely change a situation, circumstance or decision.  Recently, on a Monday, my wife made the decision to have, “…no more wine until Friday.”  Fair enough, her prerogative.  However, when I opened this wine and enthusiastically uttered the words, “I like this,” guess what happened?  It only took those three words for her to change her mind.  She asked for a taste and, I can’t remember what she said but, she immediately went and grabbed a glass and asked me if she could have some. Of course, I said, “Of course.”

If this is anything to go by, I seriously need to get some Hunter Valley Shiraz into my wine collection. Lovely, juicy black fruits provide richness while it presents as nicely medium bodied.  It’s so smooth on the palate where a nice hint of spice comes through, a deft touch of herbs, a charry character is in there too and the tannins silky. The finish is flavoursome and long where the fruit continues to shows its class.   This is quite a wine, hence the previously enthusiastically uttered words, “I like this.”  I’d like to add to that with, “A lot!”

Carillion Wines Website

Region: Hunter Valley, NSW     Price: $60     Source: Sample thanks kindly to Define Wine and Carillion Wines

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Huntington Estate ‘Estate’ Range Red Releases

I can remember many years ago when I bought some road maps for a planned trip to ‘the mainland’ (Google Maps was a mere figment of somebody’s imagination back then). You know, those ones that folded out to the size of a small dining table and never folded back the same way.  I can remember knowing where I wanted to go and marking on the map how I wanted to get there, and the places I wanted to see on the way.  It was part of the fun of the trip.  Mind you, it was always handy if you had a navigator in the passenger seat.

These four wines seemed to take me vicariously, one after the other, firstly to Mudgee then ultimately to the Huntington Estate Cellar Door.  The aromas providing the start of the pleasurable journey and the flavours taking me to the final destination with Tim Stevens pouring the wines with the enthusiasm of a proud father telling me all about his ‘children’.

Huntington Estate Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $32 each     Source: Samples thanks kindly to Huntington Estate

2018 Cabernet Sauvignon

Very much enjoyed this wine.  What you got from the aromas, you taste on the palate, and youthfulness appears in both of these zones.  Dark fruits and berries coat the palate, tannins are ever-present but don’t detract from the terrific fruit maintaining its presence on the long finish.  Smooth with a ‘cool Cabernet’ feel about it.  Delicious!

2018 Shiraz

Such a lovely colour.  So lush looking.  Plenty being offered on the nose when swirled in the glass with rich black fruits and a slightly earthy note too.  Palate presence aplenty!  Generous and juicy dark fruits, there’s a sweet/savouriness appeal to it, oak and tannins show their hand but are not a distraction and finishes nice and long.  A good’un for sure.

2017 Bin 13 Shiraz

A lovely, fresh start to this wine.  Again, youthful in appearance and on the nose where it reminded me of a homemade dark berry compote.  As with the previous wine, plenty of flavoursome, primary fruit on the palate.  Rich dark cherry, a plum-like ‘fullness’ yet medium bodied in weight, there’s a delicate spiciness that runs nicely parallel with the lovely fruit characters and it has good length too. Mm, mmmmm!

2019 Cabernet Shiraz

Displaying a brighter colour than the previous three wines, it overtly shows its youthfulness.  Same on the nose where it seems more ripe red fruit dominate but with a richness to it.  Juicy, ripe berries of all sorts dominate on the medium bodied palate. A lovely delicate spicy note appears too while the oak and tannins aren’t shy as they make themselves comfortable without being a nuisance to the fruit.  ‘Unsettled’ was a word that came to mind when I first tasted this wine, but it certainly appreciated a good swish ‘n’ swirl in the glass, which proved to be very beneficial. Good gear. 

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2019 Moorilla Muse Chardonnay

When it comes to dancing, I have been gifted.  Gifted with three left feet instead of two.  However, I have to admit to enjoying watching professional dancers.  I know they’ve had plenty of practise and probably been doing it since they could walk (I bet they still join in the Nutbush at weddings too).  Anyway, the waltz, for instance, seems to be a fairly basic sort of dance but, professionals show just how elegant and flowing it is, and, they seem to project so much feeling and emotion while performing it.  They also have to ensure that their feet are always in the right spot, each step they take, during the dance.  If not, it could be disastrous.

With this Chardonnay, it is like the winemaker and the fruit are partners in a waltz that started the day the fruit was picked.  They knew what each other would bring to the dance, knew they’d bring out the best in each other, and that they’d achieve a high score when presenting to the judges.

Fresh, fruitful and full of finesse.  Perfectly ripe, juicy stonefruit to the fore coating the palate with smooth melon like feels, a lovely touch of cashew nut/almond texture and a nice crisp, pinch of acidity on the finish.  It doesn’t sit overly long on the palate but long enough to enjoy it until you go back again for more…which we didn’t have a problem doing.

Moorilla Website

Region: Tasmania     Price: $44     Source: Sample thanks kindly to Moorilla Estate

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2017 Levantine Hill Mélange Traditional Blanc

I’d say most people who pick up an acoustic guitar wouldn’t give it a thought as to the timbers that go into making one.  I didn’t realise how particular exotic timbers contribute to the sound a guitar produces. For example, the sound board (where the hole is) is almost always made of Spruce because of its acoustic and structural qualities. Rosewood is the main timber used for the rest of the guitar (Ebony is quite popular too for the Fret board). It’s quite remarkable how the timbers, along with the strings of course, contribute to the mellifluous sound a guitar can make.

Just like the timbers used to construct a guitar, the varieties of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Viognier have been beautifully tuned and balanced to produce this excellent white blend.  The aromas and flavours resonating melodiously from the glass.  So rich and complex, it’s all about tropical fruits, lovely citrus like acidity, a beguiling touch of spice, and texturally divine with terrific flavour persistence on the finish.  A wine that’s very pleasing to your sense of smell, your sense of taste and your sense of enjoyment.

Levantine Hill Website

Region: Yarra Valley, Vic     Price: $80     Source: Sample thanks kindly to Levantine Hill

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2021 Bay of Fires Sauvignon Blanc

Martin Luther King Jnr is quoted as saying, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, you just have to take the first step.”  Now, I have to admit to not knowing in what context this was said but, I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with Sauvignon Blanc.  There are those, and admitting I was one, who have an aversion to Sav Blanc, SB or Savvy (all of which it is affectionately known).  I can’t remember the first time I tried it, or who convinced me to try it, but I did, and I’ve been lucky enough to try some very impressive ones since.  This one, from the mighty fine Bay of Fires winemaking crew, easily sits in the ‘very impressive ones’ category.

Very aromatic with passionfruit, slightly minerally and fruit salad like aromas.  It may be a little peachy, a little limey and a little herbal and, although I’ve used the word ‘little’ here, they all contribute plenty of flavour to this fine example of Sauvignon Blanc.  It borders on medium bodied with lovely palate weight, is nice and textural with a fine touch of acidity and pretty good length too.

For those who are reluctant to venture into Sauvignon Blanc, this wine is the perfect first step up the Savvy Stairs.

Bay of Fires Website

Region: Coal River Valley, Tamar Valley & Derwent Valley, Tasmania     Price: $47      Source: Generous gift

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