Monday 27 October 2014

2012 de Mestre Wines Shiraz - Matua Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc

David Ellis

BEST wine from the smallest vineyard
you've never heard of
SYDNEY lawyer-cum-weekend winemaker, Paul de Mestre likes to sum up the fruit of his hobby as "the best wine from the smallest vineyard you've never heard of…"

And while we think he's pretty much right, don't go rushing out trying to find a bottle. He makes just 800 a year, and these can be bought only from his little 16ha vineyard on Sofala Road at Ilford in the Mudgee Region of the NSW Central Ranges, or online. And even then that's if he's got any…

While not officially organic, Paul takes a minimalist approach to his winemaking, trusting nature, as he says, at every turn. The result is delightful cool climate varietals that can vary considerably from vintage to vintage, but which always deliver big on texture and flavour, be they his Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon or Viognier.

His currently available 2012 de Mestre Wines Shiraz at $30 is a corker, coming from a perfect vintage – and by adding a touch of Viognier he's achieved a wine that's nicely fragrant and has forward flavours of plum and black pepper that make it an ideal accompaniment with slow-roasted Greek lamb (how we enjoyed it.) Go to to organise a bottle or six, or to arrange a vineyard visit.

 LABEL helps you choose off the shelf
the style of Sauvignon Blanc
that best suits your palate.
ONE TO NOTE: NEW ZEALAND's Matua that can claim to being the country's first producer of Sauvignon Blanc 40 years ago, has now come up with an interesting concept with the release of three labels that give buyers some extra help in choosing off the shelf the style of Sauvignon Blanc that best suits their palate.

The label of their Matua Smooth describes it as "soft and elegant," and being from the warmer Hawkes Bay region more luscious, juicy and food friendly; a Matua Crisp as "fresh and tropical" with vibrant Marlborough tropical fruit and citrus fruit flavours and fresh, crisp acidity; and a Marlborough Matua Lighter as "cool and fragrant" with tropical passionfruit and gooseberry flavours and 25 per cent less alcohol/calories.

Each of these 2014 vintage wines is priced at $22 through BWS.

NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out We're also on Australian Good Food Guide  in main blog.


Monday 20 October 2014

Lindeman's value Chardonnay - Briar Ridge 2014 Single Vineyard Dairy Hill Semillon

David Ellis

GET the conversation going around a seafood
lunch or dinner with this great drop.
LINDEMAN'S Bin 65 Chardonnay has long been one of the best value-for-money Chardonnays in this country (and in international markets too,) one that at a current $10 never fails to satisfy for flavour, toss-it-down enjoyment, and price.

And interestingly while launched onto the market here 23 years ago, it had in fact been in production for six years before that – to supply the Northern Hemisphere that had taken with gusto to the drink's fruit-driven and easy-drinking style, and when eventually released in Australia in 1991 was an overnight equal  success here too.

The current-release 2014 made from fruit sourced across a wide area of South Eastern Australia maintains the tradition, with lovely fruit salad, fig, peach and toasty oak aromas that follow through delightfully on the palate. Enjoy it on its own pre-dining as the conversation gets going, in the party-room, and indoors or out where it makes for a terrific match at the table with all manner of seafoods.

And you'll notice that it's new label's got some changes to it, with a sketch of Dr Henry John Lindeman's 1885 Cawarra homestead set within a triumphal wreath featuring Australian native eucalyptus and gum nuts, and under these the Latin phrase 'Felicitas in Vitae,' meaning 'In Life Happiness' – from Dr Lindeman's own favourite quote "the one purpose of wine is to bring happiness." 

ENJOY this trophy winner with oysters
with Asian sauces, seafood salads or crab.
ONE TO NOTE: THE Hunter Valley's Briar Ridge has just released its 2014 Single Vineyard Dairy Hill Semillon that garnered a Trophy for Best 2014 Semillon at this year's Hunter Valley Wine Show.

A great coup for Chief Winemaker Gwyneth Olsen who joined the company only last year, this is a drop that came from low-yielding vines with wonderful concentrations of flavour, that in turn reward in the glass with elegantly crisp citrus and refreshing acidity, and with accompanying lemon and lime aromas.

At $35 a great partner with oysters with Asian sauces, seafood salads, or crab.

NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out We're also on Australian Good Food Guide  in main blog.


Saturday 18 October 2014

Mark Best's Pei Modern restaurant's new wines

Mark Best's new Pei Modern restaurant, recently installed in the space once occupied by The Woods in Sydney's iconic Four Seasons Hotel, is challenging guests' palates with an array of unusual wines to match his bold new menu.

Mark Best's Pei Modern comes to Sydney's Four Seasons Hotel

Think Young Vine Pinot Meunier and Barossa Savagnin to accompany his flavoursome meat and seafood creations.

Read the full report here.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

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Monday 13 October 2014

Rymill Cabernet Sauvignon - Fox Gordon Fiano

AS-LIVELY a character as the dark chestnut
thoroughbred it is named after.

David Ellis

HORSES whose careers put them out there in the public eye, can generally be considered to have a pretty short future if they continually buck their owners at the most inappropriate of public moments.

Such was the case with a steed named Adlai who – whilst considered the most-handsome in the Victorian Mounted Police at the time – unfortunately bucked overboard his commanding officer once too often, and with exquisite timing.

Instantly condemned to the knackery, Adlai was saved by Judy Rymill of Rymill Coonawarra fame who rescued him for a song – and responding to a female's touch, he went on to become a champion in Dressage, Show Jumping, High Jumping and 3-Day Events here, and represented Australia in some at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Although Judy and Adlai have both passed on, Adlai is now being commemorated in a wonderful new 2013 Rymill Cabernet Sauvignon 'The Dark Horse,' a wine with an as-lively a character as Adlai himself, and loaded with blackcurrant, mulberry and dark cherry flavours, rich chocolaty undertones and hints of mint.

At $23.95 reminisce about Adlai over this wine, roast duck and a cherry sauce.

GAINING popularity here and ideal
with pan-friend garlic sardines.
ONE TO NOTE: FIANO is a crisply dry white hailing from the Campania region of Southern Italy, and while not widely made in Australia it's loyal following is growing appreciably amongst fans of labels made here in mainly South Australia and Victoria.

Family-owned boutique, Fox Gordon has an enticing Fiano it makes from fruit from the Adelaide Hills, and with white peach, nectarine and citrusy flavours coupled with interesting minerality, is a joy with – what else – such Italian dishes as pan-fried garlic sardines, or gnocchi alla Sorrentina… gnocchi with basil, Mozzarella and tomato sauce.

A great drop at $22.95 from select premium liquor outlets.

NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out We're also on Australian Good Food Guide in main blog.


Monday 6 October 2014

Gruner Veltliner - Pinot Noir Domaine Chandon


THIS is a wine to match
with dishes as diverse as
white meats,spicy Asian,
seafoods and vegetarian.
David Ellis

DESPITE its enormous popularity in other parts of the world as one of the most food-friendly of wines, Gruner Veltliner has only been made in this country since 2009, Lark Hill pioneering it in the Canberra District that year, and twelve months later Hahndorf Hill Winery releasing South Australia's first-ever.

Since then around a dozen others have followed with plantings and releases of this wine, whose largest producing country is Austria followed by Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and to a far-lesser degree a number of regions in the USA.

Hahndorf Hill is the major player in Australia, it's Larry Jacobs a master in coaxing the best from the grape into the bottle – so much so that Austria's leading wine magazine recently hailed his 2012 as "the best Gruner Veltliner outside Austria."

Larry's latest release, from the 2014 vintage is another ripper drop that could probably best be described as akin to the finest Sauvignon Blancs, and with this one having a wonderfully full forward-palate that erupts with citrus, stone fruit and spice.

PERFECT match with Peking Duck
at your favourite Chinese eatery. 
Pay $28 and see why the variety's regarded so highly in other parts of the world for its food-friendliness: it's a marvellous match with anything from white meats (think pan-fried pork chops with plum sauce,) to spicy Asian, seafoods and vegetarian.

ONE TO NOTE: A 2013 Pinot Noir out of Domaine Chandon's vineyards in Victoria's Yarra Valley shows just how well this variety does in cool climates, and additionally in this case with the winemaking team able to go beyond the norm to get added flavour nuances by sourcing fruit from vines over a range of elevations from 80 metres to 400 metres above sea level.

The result is a wine with terrific varietal aromas and a generous and complex palate – dark plums and raspberries come to the fore and are complemented by nicely gentle tannins. Pay $30.95 and take it along to your favourite Chinese eatery to enjoy with Peking Duck.

NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out We're also on Australian Good Food Guide in main blog.