2017 Huntington Estate “Special Reserve” Semillon

I don’t know if this is possible but there should be a device that activates when someone is about to drink a wine when it is way too young.  I’ve no idea what form that ‘activation’ would take but it need only to be enough to have the person think twice about opening the bottle.  I realise there will probably never be such a device but if there was, devices attached to a Semillon screwcap would be the ones most commonly activated and, after having tried this one, only reinforces the need for someone to invent one.

Gee it’s got some interesting aromas.  Not one thing dominates from a citrussy note to a subtle herb character to a peek of pear and a slight ‘hello’ from some tropical fruits.  Thinking about it and looking over what I just typed, complex is probably the appropriate word but it doesn’t quite fit with this wine.  Sophisticated is probably a better word.  What I could tell from smelling it, I was certainly going to like this wine.

Delicious and juicy tropical fruits sit atop a nice citrus/acid foundation on the palate.  It’s quite delicate and refined but still has good palate presence and persistence.  I realise I alluded to Semillons being drunk too young, but in this case, for a wine so young and with a bright future, everything seems in sync already for immediate enjoyment…and that was exactly what we did!

N.B.  I tasted this over three days and it developed slowly and very nicely over that time.  These notes were made on day two.

Huntington Estate Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $35     Source: Sample courtesy of Huntington Estate and Define Wine 


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2017 Angullong Fossil Hill Barbera

Barbera (pronounced Bar-bear-ra) is a variety that is grown in Northern Italy.  It doesn’t get treated as well as another well known variety from that region which is a shame really.  I can’t say I have tried any European versions of Barbera but I don’t think I need to when there are Australian versions like this one that have a lot to offer and so conveniently close to home.

I must admit to being surprised to read that Barbera has been grown in Australia since the 1960s.  However, there doesn’t seem to be many plantings here, equating to (very roughly but it’s the best I can come up with) 0.15% of the total area of hectares under vine.  Tiny by any stretch of the imagination.

Colour looks good!  It’s like a deep, dark cherry with a slight purple edge to it.

Nose of dark fruits, dark cherries play a part…again, it has an earthiness to it that added some intrigue for my wife and I.

Delicious, juicy, medium bodied, balanced palate.  Wow!  Those dark cherry characters take it up a notch here, blackcurrants have a say, it’s a touch savoury I think too and density and texture finishing it off very nicely indeed.  Oak and tannin are both present but the quality fruit is doing a great job of not letting either of them dominate.

I know the Italians are big fans of food and wine so, throw together a charcuterie plate of meats, cheeses, olives, sun-dried tomatoes or whatever you want really, then gather around your family and friends because this wine is made for such a gastronomic gourmet gathering.

Angullong Website

Region: Orange, NSW     Price: $26     Source: Sample courtesy of Angullong Wines and Define Wine


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2013 Clemens Hill Pinot Chardonnay

It’s been quite a few years since producers had to stop using the word ‘Champagne’ associated with sparkling wine unless it was from the Champagne region.  I think this was a good thing.  It stopped Champagne getting credit for quality sparkling wines like this one coming out of Tasmania (I say with a cheeky grin and wink of the eye).  I can honestly say I have had people tell me they have moved away from the imported “stuff” to buying bottles of Tasmanian bubbles.  It’s music to my ears but comes as no surprise.

Straight up I was presented with an attractive bead of fine bubbles rested atop the pale straw liquid that was eventually exposed as the bead of bubbles slowly disappeared.  The first thing that struck me when I smelt it was an amazing aroma of a freshly cut loaf of just warm sour dough bread.  Don’t ya just love that?!  It gets me every time.

Now this is going to sound a bit of a contradiction in terms but, the flavours are quite delicate but plentiful and rich.  Citrusy/lemony characteristics appear and that sour dough bread returns with a smidge of butter.  It’s very lively, acidic (thanks to the cool/cold climate influence) and has a terrific, long textural finish.  Check out the price!  This is a bargain.

Clemens Hill Website

Region: Coal River Valley, Tas     Price: $38     Source: Generous gift.

Clemens Hill 13PC

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2017 Angullong Fossil Hill Sangiovese

I so admire the Italians when it comes to food, wine and life.  From what I have seen on telly, and having visited there, they always seem to know what they want, when they want it, how they want it and they don’t have to have a reason for it.  Whether it’s family, friends, neighbours or television show hosts, there is plenty of food, wine, animated conversation and frivolity.  Oh, and music too.  They have many of the ingredients for the recipe of life sorted.  I think Sangiovese would have to one of those ingredients.

It’s a beautiful glossy medium red colour.  It took it’s sweet time showing some aromas but it’s certainly worth it.  Hello cherries, beautiful blackberries and subtle herbs come together very nicely here.  Pretty much the same on the medium bodied palate but they became friends with blue fruits and delicate spices (food teased this out I think).  I expected the tannins to be more prominent but they were gentle, smooth and found their groove with the fruit.

Potrei bere questo per giorni!! (I could drink this for days!!)

Angullong Website

Region: Orange Region, NSW     Price: $26     Source: Sample courtesy of Angullong and Define Wine


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2017 Inverquharity Gewürztraminer

First up I’m going to say, it is much easier to drink this wine than it is to spell the above two words.  Just out of interest, Jancis Robinson said, “Gewürztraminer has the dubious dual distinction of being the easiest grape variety to recognize and the most difficult to spell.”  The Bulgarians like to call it Mala Dinka, a German term is Kleinweiner (sounds more like a variety of schnitzel) and in Czechoslovakia you’ll find the name Liwora used for the variety!

From the website, “Inverquharity (In-ver-kwa-ri-tee) is the original name of the farming property where the vineyard is located.  The property was granted to the Ogilvie family who arrived from Scotland and named the property after their family castle in Angus, Scotland.”

Inverquharity, IQ for short, is a 1.2 hectare vineyard about 25 minutes east of Hobart near the historic village of Richmond.  There are 10 rows of Gewürztraminer consisting of 4 different clones.  From the 2017 vintage, 2 tonnes were sent to Alain Rousseau to work his magic…and I reckon he did just that.

It has good Gewürztraminer aromatics without being too much so.  It’s floral with subtle rose petal and turkish delight aromas.  I prefer my Gewürz like that.  It’s a little bit lychee and a little bit peachy, it has a nice amount of texture with a slight hint of sweetness on the finish.  I realise I said “a little bit of this and a slight hint of that” but when you put them all together you get a wine with a great combo of flavours.  It’s very nicely balanced too and, without a doubt, would be the perfect partner with…anything you damn well like!  Well, maybe not red meat but certainly herbal inspired fish or a spicy chicken thingy (so says my foody wife).

This vintage isn’t on the website at the moment (the 2016 is and that’s a beauty too) so head there and send an email if you’d like some.  Otherwise, give Emily a call on 0420822276

IQ Wines Website

Region: Coal River Valley, Tas     Price: $32     Source: Cellar Door Purchase


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2017 Garagiste Merricks Pinot Noir

I reckon I could count on one hand the amount of Mornington Peninsula pinot noirs I’ve drunk over the years.  This is not because I’m not a fan, it’s simply because they don’t seem to be promoted that much and another region in Victoria gets most of the attention.  The other thing I must mention is this is the first Garagiste wine I’ve had the pleasure of trying.  I have to say, I’m impressed…mighty impressed.

It looks like pinot in the glass, so for me, that’s a good start.  From here on in, this wine got very interesting.  Talk about complex.  This has it in spades!

It smells herbal, stemmy (in a good way mind you), spicy, fresh and juicy fruity.  That good start I mentioned earlier just moved up a rung.  It’s so varietal and delightfully delicate on the palate.  Those herbs and spices are still there with some juicy dark cherry fruit, plums, tannins are super supportive (sounds odd but try it you’ll know what I mean) and it lingers long.  I couldn’t help but savour the flavours.  If there were two words I could use to sum up this wine they would be ‘complex’ and ‘complete’.

Garagiste Website

Region: Mornington Peninsula, Vic     Price: $45     Source: Wine tasting.

Garagiste Merricks PN


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2015 Serafino Bellissimo Nebbiolo

I don’t reckon Nebbiolo has many friends in ‘Winemakers World’.  From what I’ve read, it’s a temperamental bugger.  Difficult to grow (apparently), tight and tannic in its youth, loses its colour really early on in its life (because in its genes it has anthocyanins.  Thanks Wine Folly) and needs food to really show its best.

This has a terrific colour.  Pinotesque if you like.  The nose is pretty attractive to me with cherries, choc coated raspberries and a spicey sort of tone to it.  It was easy to get sucked into it from here.  Dark cherries, ripe raspberries (squishy in your fingers sort of thing) and sweet/savoury/spicy characters were among the flavours that came in thick and fast.  It’s medium weight on the palate with slightly drying but sleek tannins on the finish (tells me it wants to be sidled up beside food) and I underestimated the good length it provides.  It’s not for the long haul but why would you bother cellaring it?!  This is juicy, fruity and very inviting.  With a slurp factor of 10 out of 10, it is a very easy wine to like.

Serafino Website

Region: McLaren Vale, SA     Price: $22     Source: Retail Purchase

Serafino Neb

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