Monday, 8 February 2016

Mistletoe Sparkling Mozcato - Hunter Valley


ONE TO NOTE: GOOD news for bubbly buffs who don't like having to wait for some special occasdion or event to pop the cork, Mistletoe Wines in the Hunter Valley have released a Sparkling Mozcato for virtually anytime enjoyment – because it has less than half the normal alcohol strength at just 5.8%.


Made from Mistletoe's own-vineyard Muscat Blanc a Petit Grains (arguably the world's greatest Muscat grape cultivar, and used in Italy for making Moscato D'asti,) this one's spelt Mozcato in deference to the oz for Australia.


With lovely crisp and fizzy tropical fruit flavours on the palate and not excessively sweet, its available cellar-door only at $22 a bottle, with discounts for 6- and 12-bottle buys.  Hop onto


[] CRISP, fizzy, not overly sweet – and with discounts for 6- and 12-bottle packs online. 



Rymill 2013 Sandstone Cabernet Sauvignon - Coonawarra

CRISP, fizzy, not overly sweet – and with discounts
for 6- and 12-bottle packs online.


David Ellis

WE read and hear plenty about Coonawarra, that small but extraordinary strip of vineyard country in South Australia that comprises limestone and terra rossa (red soil) layered over a deep, one-million year old sandstone ridge, and on which are produced some of the world's greatest Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

But what few know is that in the south of the region, that ancient ridge rises from the depths, and where it emerges on just one vineyard in all of Coonawarra, results in a Cabernet Sauvignon that can truly is incredibly unique.

That vineyard is owned by Rymill Coonawarra, and Winemaker Sandrine Gimon says of the company's recently-released 2013 Sandstone Cabernet Sauvignon that it is so distinctively different "it has made me fall in love with Cabernet all over again."

Created from low yielding, highly flavoured fruit so typical of Coonawarra, this is everything the Cab Sauv devotee could wish for, with a palate of lively fresh berry flavours with hints of licorice, cocoa and black olives all rolled into one.

Wonderfully elegant and refined, it's worth the $60 price tag with a family or friends' Sunday slow-roasted lamb lunch or dinner.

08 February 2016

Monday, 1 February 2016

Peter Logan's 2015 Weemala Pinot Noir - NSW’s Central West

RIPPER red to enjoy with rich game and meat
dishes or a summer's cheese platter.

ONE TO NOTE: FROM the high altitude, cold climate of Orange in NSW's Central West, winemaker Peter Logan has released a ripper 2015 Weemala Pinot Noir you'll find an absolute joy with a good summertime's cheese platter.

The result of mild, sunny and dry weather that characterised the 2015 vintage, this is one of those wonderfully food-friendly wines that you'll find that as well as with the cheese platter, with its delicate, light-bodied elegance it will also make for a great match with rich game and meat dishes.

At $19.95, beaut value with either choice.


Calabria 2015 Private Bin Vermentino - NSW Riverina

STRANGELY named but at $15 an enticing match
to crab linguine with chilli and parsley.


David Ellis

PUT your money on it, a variety to watch in this country in the not-too-distant future is Vermentino, a hugely popular drop in Europe where its somewhat bizarrely known under 41 different synonyms – including Favorita de Conegliano, that for probably good reason for those who fight them in the field, translates to "the rabbit's favourite."

And interestingly in some regions of Europe, it's proving the first wine in years capable of knocking Sauvignon Blanc off its perch.

The principal white grape of Sardinia and Corsica, Vermentino has only been grown in this country with any real intent since around the year 2000, which is a bit strange because it's a variety that can handle the extreme heat of some of our hottest vineyard regions with ease.

In the largest of these, the NSW Riverina, Calabria Family Wines at Griffith has just released a 2015 Private Bin Vermentino that's all about delightful lemongrass and lime zest, and a palate of green apple, lime and almond, and a racy acidity.

At an enticing $15, this is a great drop to serve chilled with bruschetta, tomato, basil and red onion, or with seafoods such as crab linguine with chilli and parsley.

for week beginning 01 February 2016

Monday, 25 January 2016

2015 Margan Family Winemakers’ Chardonnay - Hunter Valley

VERSTILE drop to enjoy with summery crab cakes and
salad, roast chicken, a chicken pie or Caesar salad.

ONE TO NOTE: A 2015 Margan Family Winemakers' Chardonnay is a triple whammee from winemaker Andrew Margan.

And that's because it's made from fruit off low-yielding 40 year old vines, those vines thrive in the renowned volcanic soils of the Hunter Valley's Broke Fordwich, and this great drop's just $20 a bottle.

Creamy textured with nutty oak aromas and a natural acid finish, this is a drop with all the attractions of the best of Chardonnays – and don't let us hear you say "Not another Chardonnay" – with an unusual mandarin after-taste.

Enjoy this versatile drop with a variety of summery dining ideas… crab cakes and salad, good old roast chicken or a creamy chicken pie, or a Caesar salad.


Banjo's Run 2013 Merlot - NSW Southern Highlands

PERFECT with tomato-based pastas or osso bucco
– the more so when you can save 

David Ellis

IT'S unfortunate that the NSW Southern Highlands' cool climate wine region doesn't get more recognition in our mainstream metropolitan media, because small as it may be it's an outstandingly beautiful area in which to have a few days touring its wineries and many other attractions.

And it absolutely delights with the many sensational reds and whites from its 60 or so vineyards and dozen wineries. Pioneer settlers actually dabbled in winemaking here as far back as the mid-1800s, but it was not until 1983 that vineyards were planted with serious intent, and 1999 before it was given Designated Wine Region status.

Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris do particularly well, but there are also many stand-out Chardonnays, Rieslings, Sauvignon Blancs, Shiraz and sparklings – and if you like Merlot, here you'll find its both rewardingly soft yet mouth-smackingly flavoursome.

The boutique Banjo's Run Vineyard at Exeter produces one of the region's best of the variety, their currently available 2013 an excellent buy at $30 a bottle in 6- or 12-bottle packs… and even more so if you mention this column, because vigneron Bill Hall will take $5 a bottle off the price if you do. With lovely red berry and blackcurrant fruit flavours and spicy tannins it's perfect with tomato-based pastas or osso bucco.

Delivery is free in the Highlands, to Sydney, Canberra, Wollongong and the NSW South Coast, and from $10 a case elsewhere. Ring Bill on 0408 228 724, email him on or have a look at


Australian Wine Regions. [infographic]

Australian wine grows in a range diverse climates, reflected in our many distinct wine regions.


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