2016 Holm Oak Pinot Noir

Tassie Pinot Noir is so alluring no matter what form it comes in across all levels.  Entry level, Estate Range or Premium, the colours, aromas and flavours contribute to a cavalcade of the curious and connoisseur alike from far and wide wanting to see what all this fuss, or should I say class, is about.

When I started pouring this wine I wondered where the rest of the colour was, so I stopped, put the cap back on and gave it a swirl.  Maybe some of it had settled to the bottom or stuck to the side of the bottle.  Well, it made no difference (as expected).  It’s light in colour no doubt about that but it doesn’t prepare for what else it has to offer.

Hello to a bright and fragrant nose with cherries, red berries and spices then all of this glides effortlessly onto the palate.  Toss in some strawberries, herby/leafy notes, smooth silky like tannins and you have damn good, light to medium bodied, Tassie Pinot Noir that proved difficult to put away after one glass.

Holm Oak Website

Region: Tamar Valley, Tasmania     Price: $32     Source: Online Retail Purchase


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2017 Chapel Hill Shiraz Mourvèdre

The Two Ronnies, Simon & Garfunkel, Hawke & Keating, Hamish & Andy.  Famous couples that have gotten on so well together they have stuck in the minds and hearts of many over the years.  Okay, maybe there’s some doubt about a couple of those ‘couples’ but they are always remembered as famous or infamous.

Here is a couple that get on even better than Hugh Jackman and Debra Furness, and that’s saying something.

Shiraz and Mourvèdre (also known as Mataro and Monastrell) have been co-fermented to produce a very moreish wine indeed.  It’s a pretty picture in the glass.  Red/purple mainly but quite deep in the core of it.  Smells pretty too.  Blackcurrants, blueberries with a dash of herbs.  On the palate, bright as a button, plums with aplomb, benign blueberries, cheeky cherries and full of fun, frivolity and finesse.  So easy to enjoy and relax with but unfortunately sold out.  If you can find it in retail land, fill your basket or trolley.  They won’t be surprised at the checkout!

Chapel Hill Website

Region: McLaren Vale, SA     Price: $25 (Sorry, sold out)     Source: Swap



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2017 LiNO RaMBLe ‘Domino’ Montepulciano

Montepulciano! I love saying that word.  Try it.  Mon-ta-pull-chee-arno!!  And make sure you emphasise the ‘ar’ bit and use plenty of hand movements.  It’s quite invigorating, just like this wine.

How cool is it that you can get such an excellent example of a popular Italian variety in Australia?  Thanks to the crew at Chalk Hill for growing the fruit and the ‘cool as a cucumber Coppard’ at Lino Ramble for bringing it to the table, you and I get to enjoy it in the comfort of our own homes, in our favourite chairs and (may I suggest) a bowl of beef cheek ragout.

Pretty good nose for the intros.  Cherries, blackberries and cocoa powder kick things off.  Black fruits are loving the attention at the forefront of the flavours.  Juicy sweet/sour red cherries nudge in for a good look and the cocoa powder has turned into a lovely smidge of chocolate, filling out the palate.  The tannins are definitely not shy and why should they be.  They deserve to be a part of this show and they are there at the end while those dark fruits come back for an encore.  It’s pretty easy to want more of this wine as the night goes on.

Lino Ramble Website

Region: McLaren Vale, SA     Price: $40     Source: Sample

Lino Ramble Monte

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2014 Robert Stein The Kinnear

Many moons ago, English wine connoisseur, Professor George Saintsbury, stated that “Hermitage is the manliest wine I have ever drunk”.  What do you get when you add a small amount (3%) of the noble grape, Cabernet to it?  Well, let me tell you; it’s called the Kinnear.  This wine that is.

The Kinnear was actually a three mast barque (ship, to put it simply) that sailed one or more of the seven seas to bring Johann Stein, among others, to Australia in 1838.  Quite appropriately, and in honour of the year, there were only 1838 bottles of this flagship wine produced.

The excellent vintage is evident from the start.  It smells of class and precision if not a bit of smoky oak and dark fruits, but on the palate is where this wine shines for me.  I tasted it over two nights and it hardly moved in that time.  A dark berry basket of flavours with rich plums being the misfit that fits, strangely.  By this I mean they seem to add a platform of depth and width on which those dark fruits are able to be the main player. Then, some delicate spice and pepper add a nice dimension to the array of flavours.

It is clear this wine has seen a fair bit of oak, 18 months in new and one year old French and American oak to be exact.  However, the rich quality fruit has soaked it up to show that with time, this is going to be an absolute beauty.  Tannins were, thanks to the time I gave it, silky smooth and refined adding to the complexity of this wine.

If you buy some, by all means have a look at one now then put the others away for eons.  Your patience will reap rewards!  What an honour it was to try this wine.

Robert Stein Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $80     Source: Sample courtesy of Define Wine




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2017 Paracombe Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris

This may come as a surprise to some but, on the weekend I was speaking with a fellow who works in a Hobart bar and, dare I say it, the talk was about wine.  Something he said came as no surprise to me though.  Pinot Gris and Grigio seem to becoming more popular than SB (I don’t need to spell it out).  He didn’t hesitate to say how pleased he was that things were turning around.  I have to agree and the good thing is, there are some very good Pinot Gris (what’s plural for Gris?) around and the crew at Paracombe have this very good one in their stable.

It has a very aromatic and very varietal nose.  Pears aplenty and mouth-watering melons are offered up with a hint of spring flowers (very general I know, sorry).  Juicy delicious pears are obvious as the nose on your face when tasting it but this flavour is ably supported by some stonefruit characters, some pear skin texture and the faintest touch of spicyness.  A heads up; it’s menacingly moreish!

Paracombe Wines Website

Paracombe pinot gris

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2014 Gartelmann Wines ‘Jesse’ Shiraz

When it came to writing the review for this wine I realised when I see a person’s name on the front label, I’ve gotten into the habit of using ‘google’ to see if there is history or a story behind that name.  It was no different with this one, except after I did so, I thought I should really look to see if there is a Gartelmann family story or some history behind the ‘Jesse’ name.  As it turns out, it’s both.  Here’s how it goes.

Jorg Gartelmann is the owner.  His son is Phillip and Phillip’s son is Jesse.  Jesse is Jorg’s grandson.  On their website, young Jesse is affectionately described as “…a delightful handful”.  Mind you, I did find out that one of the biblical meanings of Jesse is, “God’s gift” and after having tasted this wine for the first time, I consider it god’s gift to the punters who partake in this delightful handful.

The colour didn’t really give much away but it has a pretty impressive start on the nose.  It made me think that the progression from step 1 (colour) to step 2 (aromas) was so good it could only mean the third and final step (taste) is going to be even better.  Answer, yes, definitely yes!

Tasting it, those softer, mid range berries are the go here.  Blueberries for sure, dark(ish) berries as well without dominating, plums too that seem to give it a nice fullness (or richness is probably a better descriptor but I’ll let you work that out).  There is a nice little touch of sweetness thereabouts, dark chocolate I reckon, that balances out all the fruit influence and does a very good job of it too.  The tannins are there but they are not nasty buggers.  They are there offering up some good support/structure so it will live for a few years benefiting the wine and ultimately benefiting you.

Gartelmann Wines Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $30     Source: Sample courtesy of Define Wine


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2015 Clemens Hill ‘777 Clone’ Pinot Noir

You’ll have to excuse me for being curious.  That’s just me and it’s part of my job.  The succession of numbers, 777, intrigued me so I googled it thinking it would return details about the Pinot clone in question.  Ummm, initially, no.

I bet you didn’t know that Lamech, the father of Noah (the bloke who built that big floating zoo that saved a heap of animals, except the Unicorn, called The Ark) lived to be 777 years old.  And 777 is used in most US slot machines to identify a jackpot.  When it comes to the significance of the numbers, the ‘jackpot’ wins hands down for me especially when it comes to this wine.

Getting back to the 777 Pinot Clone, I was under the impression it was always blended with other clones, not one to be bottled on its own.  I can only go on what I researched but it appears to me that, on its own, it can be a big version of the variety depending on how it’s treated.  Whoever makes the Clemens Hill Pinots knows exactly what they are doing and how to treat it.  Just my opinion of course but, spot on I reckon (bearing in mind this is my first straight 777 Pinot).

From top to toe it will have you more curiouser (excuse my english) than you have ever been before when it comes to this grape variety.  777 possibly like you’ve not seen it before.

Love the colour, not like your regular pinot that’s for sure thanks to some depth at the core of it.  Smells of dark fruits in the whole bunch style (?), stemmy/herbal which added so much interest for me.

Rich, intense, lush.  I certainly did not expect that from this clone considering what I had been told.  Tasting it; quite a medium weight wine, mid palate blackcurrants, dark cherry, Italian herbs and delicate spicy stuff going on.  It has a silky smooth, long finish too.  I really liked this.  I only wish I had had two of them!

(Image from the Pinot Shop Website )

Clemens Hill Website

Region: Coal Valley, Tasmania    Price: $55 (I think)     Source: Good Question


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