Monday, 24 August 2015

One to note: 2012 Girt by Sea label Cabernet Merlot - Voyager Estate


ONE TO NOTE: VOYAGER Estate in Western Australia's Margaret River in 2012 had one of its warmest summers, earliest vintages, and highest fruit yields ever, and despite some challenges these threw up at winemakers, it's released an exceptionally smooth and moreish 2012 Girt by Sea label Cabernet Merlot.


Something of an unexpected attention-grabber, this most pleasant drop has layers of dark cherry and blackcurrant fruit flavours, hints of vanilla, spice and nougat, fine-grained tannins and nicely integrated French and American oak. At $28, a great match with barbecued steak, or lamb shanks cooked in a red wine sauce.


[] AN unexpected attention-grabber to enjoy with lamb shanks cooked in a red wine



for week beginning 24 August 2015

2015 Watervale Riesling - South Australia’s Clare Valley




David Ellis


ALTHOUGH they've been making wines in South Australia's Clare Valley since the 1850s, one little village that's particularly renowned for its Rieslings is Watervale – which all these years on, still has a population of under 250.


Jim Barry Wines is virtually synonymous with Watervale and premium Rieslings, and their now-released 2015 Watervale Riesling is another example of why the team there has such a well-deserved reputation, albeit 2015 wasn't exactly kind to them in many respects weather-wise.


We're talking about rain – firstly a lack of it, and then absolutely plenty of it, combined with unwanted extreme heat. In five months from early August 2014 to early January 2015, the Clare Valley got a mere 67mm, just enough as Peter Barry put it, "to wash the dust off the vines."  Then in three weeks of January down it came… 100mm of it, combined with that extreme heat in February.


But remarkably the vines came through well, and the 2015 Jim Barry Watervale is a great Riesling, with mouth-filling ginger and lime fruit flavours, crispy apple-like acidity and a nice varietal creaminess. Pay $18 and with Riesling being one of the most food-friendly of wines, match this one with anything from seafood to Asian, chicken, pork or vegetarian dishes.



[] A DROP to match with anything from seafood to Asia, chicken, pork or vegetarian



for week beginning 24 August 2015

Monday, 10 August 2015

One to note: Rymill Coonawarra Brut

FOR those next celebrations a great Aussie bubbly
from a French-born, Champagne-trained winemaker.

ONE TO NOTE:  A NICE bubbly to think about for any celebrations you have in the wind, is a 2012 Rymill Coonawarra Brut that's made from grape varieties used in the finest traditional French Champagnes – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

And who better to make it than Senior Winemaker at Rymill, Sandrine Gimon who is French-born and Champagne-trained… and for this drop changed the component percentages a little to reflect the exceptional 2012 vintage for Chardonnay in Coonawarra: she made this one with 90% Chardonnay fruit, and for sticking with tradition, equal parts of the two Pinot.

And although those two are just five per cent each of the blend, they're enough to give the wine a nicely subtle pink hue. With a nice creamy mousse, fresh fruit flavours (peach, melon and red berries mostly) and good acidity, it's a great drop for partying – or any time. And nicely priced too at $25.

for week beginning 10 August 2015

Grey Sands Tamar Valley 2008 Merlot


NO irrigation in the vineyard,
seven years in the cellar
– here's a Merlot that's all about
flavour, flavour and more flavour. 
David Ellis

BOUTIQUE Grey Sands Vineyard tucked away in Glengarry overlooking the Tamar Valley just north-west of Launceston, have just released their 2008 Merlot, and while  the results of its long seven years in the cellar must be enormously rewarding for owners Bob and Rita Richter, we're ready to say they're even more-so for buyers.

The Richter's have a philosophy of not irrigating their Grey Sands vineyard, preferring to sacrifice higher yields in favour of maximum flavour concentration in the resultant fruit. And it's certainly paid off in this case, with a drop that's got wonderfully concentrated dark fruit flavours (think mulberries and plums to the fore,) cocoa, spicy oak and nicely balanced tannins.

And it's equally rewarding for those who love to savour aromas out of the glass, all that fruitiness simply erupting from this one – almost like putting your nose into a rich plum pudding.

With those already seven years in the cellar, this 2008 Merlot still has plenty more years of life to come, but if you want to get into it now, enjoy with your favourite red meats – as we did, with a Winter-time's steak and kidney pie.

If you're planning a driving holiday in Tasmania, Grey Sands Vineyard is a half-hour north-west of Launceston with the Cellar Door, gardens and vineyard open from midday to 5pm the last weekend of every month from October to April (inclusive.) To order their 2008 Merlot ($40 cellar door plus freight) email

Thursday, 6 August 2015

The Argus Wine List Awarded 3 Glasses

Sommelier at the Argus Dining Room & Bar Jeremy Shiell received a golden tick of approval on Monday night at the Gourmet Traveller Wine Awards in Melbourne with the restaurant's wine list being awarded three glasses.

The accolade is similar to that of winning three chef's hats, so understandably Jeremy and The Argus team are thrilled with the recognition at these prestigious awards.

Jeremy, who has been with The Argus for almost 18 months says the wine list development has been highly interconnected with the restaurant's paddock to plate food offering.

“It is immensely satisfying to create a three-glass worthy list and to receive recognition from experts in the industry. My role has been to build a wine list that offers choices to complement and enhance the food experience and we have some great varieties on offer.

“The Argus has a strong commitment to great wine, including sustainable, low-intervention producers from around the world and local product as well. The last-few years have seen a dramatic sea-change in wine, and I'm proud to champion these changes in an approachable, educational manner,” he says.

The Argus Bar & Lounge wine menu offers an enormous 475 wines for guests to choose from, 15 of these are available by the glass and the selection includes a mix of local, interstate and international offerings.

The Gourmet Traveller Wine Award judges not surprisingly delivered a glowing review of The Argus wine selection.

“This is a list that cries from the rooftops with innovative, artisan, sustainable wine producers with rotating features on winemakers like benchmark Bindi of Victoria and fine Champagne grower-producer Ulysse Collin. It's a cutting edge selection that steers down the natural wine path, but doesn't forget to include fine examples of all genres. Wonderful stuff," it said.


Monday, 3 August 2015

Shottesbrooke 2012 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

FASCINATING history of an interesting label
to talk about over slow-cooked lamb shanks.

ONE TO NOTE: SHOTTESBROOKE Vineyard at McLaren Vale goes back over 30 years to when founder Nick Holmes planted his first vineyard, naming it after an estate at Berkshire in England where his granddad was vicar for 21 years from 1905.

Today Shottesbrooke is turning out some real classics under the stewardship of GM and Chief Winemaker Hamish Maguire, Nick Holmes' stepson.

His recently released 2012 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is a terrific drop that's all about the flavours a great Cabernet Sauvignon aspires to – toasty oak, blackcurrant, chocolate and hints of mint. And at $40 it makes for a marvellous match with slow-cooked lamb shanks, buttered baby potatoes and steamed beans.

for week beginning 03 August 2015

Fox Gordon 2014 Charlotte's Web Pinot Grigio

A PERFECT match with Italian-inspired
chicken dishes or shellfish.


David Ellis

SOUTH Australia's boutique Fox Gordon is winning growing numbers of admirers with its range of reds and whites out of the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills, with a 2014 Pinot Grigio from the latter a rewarding example of what a hands-on small family maker can achieve with a variety like this.

Winemaker Tash Mooney has crafted in this a wine that's got lovely varietal pear and apple flavours along with a captivating hint of lime, and one that's sure to appeal to the fast-growing ranks of Pinot Grigio enthusiasts in this country – as in so many others across the world as well, as the variety charges forward in its pursuit of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc to be the world's best-selling white.

Founded relatively recently in the 1990s, Fox Gordon is also well on the road to achieving its owners' dream to come up with premium Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills wines that will one day sit amongst the greatest of international brands as measured by value and enjoyment.

Pay $19.95 and match this very moreish Pinot Grigio with shellfish or Italian-inspired chicken dishes; available from select premium liquor outlets or check out for State distributors and cellar door contacts.


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