2021 Clandestine Vineyards Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir

I have a mate who is not like anyone else I call a friend.  I always know exactly where I stand with him and there’s no doubting his thoughts on something.  Honesty is his best asset.  Not everyone he meets likes this of course but he’s not fussed.  For him it’s about being unashamedly genuine and true to himself.

I feel this Pinot Noir is doing exactly that.  It’s not like other Pinots and it’s not hiding the fact.  Almost like it has a ‘take me as you see me’ attitude.

It’s a bright, pretty and juicy colour. That’s a no-brainer for me. I love the colour of young Pinot Noir; gets me every time. Fruit-full aromas, that’s for sure, thanks to ripe strawberries and a little plummy character too.  No beg your pardons on the medium bodied palate. Dark cherry and plump plums speak loudly.  There’s texture and some spiciness too as the tannins say ‘hello’ on the good length finish.  I quite enjoyed this even if it did lack the finesse and elegance I normally expect as part of a ‘Pinot package’.  I reckon a couple of years under its belt and those qualities will emerge.  I like the price too.

Region: Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale, SA     Price: $24     Source: Sample thanks kindly to Clandestine Vineyards and Savvy Comms

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2021 Clandestine Vineyards ‘Hearts and Minds’ Grenache

I don’t know how many parents expect much from their new born child in the first year of its life. Yes, putting on some weight, reacting to its environment, stimulated by sounds and certainly getting attention. 

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I think the proud parents of this baby of a Grenache needed to keep friends and family in suspense for another year before showing it to the world.

The colourful introduction gives an indication of what to expect.  It’s a lovely dark cherry skin colour and sits in the glass with a nice sheen to it.  It has pleasant perfume, almost floral like yet bright raspberry, cherry and spicy characters shine through.  Everything is singing out for attention on the medium bodied ‘plus’ palate (unexpected for a Grenache).  Plenty of spiciness, really good bunches of fresh, ripe red fruit and, as strange as it sounds, fat juiciness (sorry, don’t know how else to describe it).  Oak is gentle, tannins tamed and it certainly has a finish that give you something to think about.  While it is quite delicious I sense it’s still crawling so, give it time to get on its feet.

Region: Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale, SA     Price: $48     Source: Sample thanks kindly to Clandestine Vineyards and Savvy Comms

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2017 Levantine Hill Katherine’s Paddock Chardonnay

A small part of my morning walk takes in a track that winds through a bush area and overnight rain released an array of aromas from the eucalypts, wattles, native flowers and grasses. It was truly invigorating.  I decided to change my normal path home and walked through this area again, this time slower. I just wanted to take it all in again. It was like the air had been refreshed and renewed.

Pouring this wine in the glass had a similar effect in that it released an abundance of fresh, clean and captivating aromas. Pausing to take it all in before picking up the glass and swirling it.  This time it was like a tropical fruit forest.

Tasting the wine made the aromas more tangible, more real, giving a sense of actuality to the sensory arousal provided. Palate stimulation created a fascination in the flavours that coated and caressed every part of the mouth. This wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry either. It dawdles across the path of persistence and presence that seems like an enchanting eternity and you just have to take that walk again. An absolutely beautiful Chardonnay for all the senses.

Levantine Hill Website

Region: Yarra Valley, Victoria     Price: $125     Source: Generous Gift

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2020 Clandestine Vineyards Margaret River Shiraz

Margaret River is not the only wine region on this big island continent of ours where Shiraz plays second fiddle to an apparently more ‘noble’ grape, Cabernet Sauvignon.  It’s a shame really.  I say that only because it’s almost a bit of a slap in the face to those who had the confidence to plant the variety in Margaret River knowing it was suited.  For fear of stating the obvious, they wouldn’t have wasted their time planting it if it wasn’t going to produce quality grapes for quality wines like this one.

It’s a youthful, rich purple colour in the glass and this youthfulness is evident right across every facet of the wine.  The aromas are abundantly fruitful, a little spicy and very inviting. A generous, fresh palate of juicy dark berries present immediately, complimented by smooth tannins and a gentle oak influence.  It has a nice little savoury edge, a textural feel and good carry on the finish.  This is good…really good!

Region: Margaret River, WA Price: $30 Source: Sample thanks kindly to https://clandestinevineyards.com.au/ and https://savvycomms.ninja/

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2020 Clandestine Vineyards Mount Barker Cabernet Sauvignon

How could you not like the colour of young red wine. It’s a shame you can’t see this one. It is such a deep, lush and appealing purple colour. Even the fruitful and slightly herbal aromas reel you in because of the youthfulness and freshness it exudes.  The palate is plentiful, plush and persistent. Lovely dark fruits to the fore combined with a nice textural and elegant feel across the palate, even if it is more towards being full-bodied, and tannins arrive late on the scene adding to the Cabernet culture.

Don’t be concerned about drinking this wine in its youth.  Yes it will age but it has much going for it now, and is so well priced, that it will easily sit alongside your lump of lamb roast.

Region: Adelaide Hills, SA Price: $30 Source: Sample thanks kindly to https://clandestinevineyards.com.au/ and https://savvycomms.ninja/

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2018 Patina ‘Sticky Tea’ Riesling

I’m not sure what you would call this but, what I am about to tell you is bizarre, spooky even.  Firstly, a confession, ‘sticky’ wines are not my ‘thing’. So, when I received this, I have to admit to not being sure how to approach it.  Conversely, I have a mate who is a big fan.  I contacted him and told him I had a wine for him to try and suggested he buy a cheese to have with it.  Long story short, when I arrived at his home, he had purchased a terrific blue cheese, not knowing what the wine was, however a perfect accompaniment to this wine. I’m not sure what you would call this ‘occurrence’ but clearly the stars aligned for the perfect wine/cheese combination.

This was nothing like I expected.  It’s like a sticky tea and quite light, refreshing and delicious as opposed to similar wines that tend to be cloyingly sweet and a bit heavy on the palate (don’t get me wrong, wines like this have their place). There’s an abundance of flavours making it quite complex, not confusing, meaning it has you excited about what they are. It has lovely texture and balance too. There are delicate citrus characters that are in tune with, not dominating, the sweet side to this wine and it all finishes lovely and clean.  A very pleasant surprise and it has changed my view about this style of wine.

Patina Wines Website

Region: Orange, NSW     Price: $25     Source: Sample courtesy of Patina Wines and Define Wine

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2016 Levantine Hill Colleen’s Paddock Pinot Noir

I’ve no doubt everyone has heard of the Rolls Royce motor car.  Between 1908 and 1928 there were almost 8000 of the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost built and they were handmade.  Every…single…one of them (that’s why to buy one in 1921 would’ve set you back US$11,000+).  If something wasn’t precise, it was filed or cut or machined until it fitted perfectly.  They were so well built, of those almost 8000 vehicles produced, there are still about 6000 still in existence and in working order.  Clearly luxury and longevity were the ethos of the Rolls Royce company.

I feel this wine has had the same treatment as the Silver Ghost.  There seems to be the same hands on treatment and perfect attention to detail. The resulting wine that is structurally sound, so precise with its flavour profile, so luxurious in its palate presentation and just a pleasure to experience.  It is plush, comfortably rich and generous yet perfectly tuned, in balance with exquisite Pinot Noir characters and has longevity on the finish. 

I have to be honest and say, sure, the price is up there for a bottle of wine but, in saying that, you get what you pay for and this is in the category of the Rolls Royce of Pinot Noirs and deservedly so.  As a Pinot Noir, this may not survive as long as the Silver Ghost but it will reward those who can garage it for a few years.

Levantine Hill Website

Region: Yarra Valley, Victoria     Price: $200     Source: Generous Gift

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2020 Clandestine Vineyards Malbec

You know when someone gets really excited about wanting to tell you something. They tend to talk flat out like there is only a set amount of time to tell you before it becomes old news. I tend to let them go for a bit before I suggest they calm down. It is usually after this they tend to revert back to speaking normally and make much more sense.

This Malbec is similar in a way.  Skipping past the colour and aromas (which are excellent by the way), it seemed a bit nervy, like it wanted to give me everything it had in the flavour department in the first couple or so tastes.  It was pretty full on and I used the words, “Woh” and “Crikey”. So, I gave it some time to calm down a bit, take in some air and gather some composure.  Sure enough, plush dark berry flavours presented along with a touch of plum-like mid-palate richness and it became much more affable, approachable and delicious.  Tannins aren’t shy on the finish but in a good, complimentary way.  I like this Malbec and I have no doubt it will attract many fans.


Region: Adelaide Hills, S.A. Price: $30     Source: Sample thanks kindly to Clandestine Vineyards and Savvy Comms 

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2021 Clandestine Vineyards Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio

A lot of people have 9-5 jobs.  They rock up, do their job and go home.  I’m not saying it’s a boring thing because I have no doubt there are those who know they have done an 8 hour day by the time they have taken their shoes off at their front door.  I also know there are those who, because of their personality, just seem to add that little bit more to their 9-5 day at the office.  The type of person who brings a positive vibe, the cool calm collected one, the colourful clothes wearing one…you know what I mean?

This Pinot Grigio is similar to your ‘9-5’ grigio but it brings more life and interest to a person’s day (not before midday of course).  It has a vibrancy that appears when it’s poured, and the aromas of fresh pears and citrus fruits are released.  A calmness takes over as you taste the flavours of those fresh pears, delicate acidity, lovely texture and carry through the palate.  At the end of the day, this’ll make you kick your shoes off, put on your sloth gear and slump into your favourite recliner.  A second glass is a given.


Region: Adelaide Hills, S.A. Price: $25     Source: Sample thanks to Clandestine Vineyards and Savvy Comms 

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2021 Clandestine Vineyards Tempranillo Rosé

I’m sure I am not the only one who is not happy with how summer has been for the last 40 days.  There doesn’t seem to have been enough sunny summer days.  I mean, yes, plenty of warm-ish days but there seemed to have been more cloudy and rainy periods don’t you think.  So, what do we need to do to prise some ‘summer’ out of the remaining 49 days of the season?  Well, after tasting this delicious wine, this is a good place to start.

Bright, fresh and ready to go, this delightful Tempranillo rosé offers plenty, from the attractive aromatics to the bountiful palate, right down to the lack of impact it has on your bank balance.  Aromas and flavours of ripe strawberries and red cherries with the addition of a sprinkle of herbs, lovely texture and delicate acidity on the palate adding to the all-round drinkableness of the wine.  Open one of these and I reckon warm, sunny, summer afternoons will follow.


Region: Geographe, W.A. Price: $25     Source: Sample thanks to Clandestine Vineyards and Savvy Comms

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