Monday 30 May 2016

Riversdale 2015 Roaring 40s Pinot Noir - Tasmania

ROARING success from
Tasmania's Roaring 40s,
and ideal with – what else? –
Tassie poached salmon
or a beef bourguignon.

ONE TO NOTE: A VARIETY that's played a key role in the development of Tasmania's modern-day wine industry is Pinot Noir, and just released from Riversdale Estate in the island State's south is a most delightful 2015 Roaring 40s Pinot Noir – so named after the howling westerly winds that play such a significant role in the make-up of Tasmania's climatic conditions.

Riversdale's owners Ian and Wendy Roberts planted their Pinot Noir a quarter of a century ago, and have their wine made for them by contract makers Frogmore Creek Wines just a couple of k's down the road from their vineyard. The 2015 Roaring 40s Pinot Noir is all about rich, smooth chocolaty/black cherry fruit flavours, and equally rewarding with (what else from Tasmania?) poached salmon, or a beef bourguignon.

Great value at $26 online at  or cellar door.

Briar Ridge 2015 Single Vineyard Dairy Hill Semillon - Hunter Valley

FROM challenge in the vineyard to
success in the bottle, enjoy this
one with any seafood.


David Ellis

WE never cease to be amazed at how winemakers can so often turn adversity in the vineyard to success in the bottle, the latest example coming our way a 2015 Single Vineyard Dairy Hill Semillon from the Hunter Valley's Briar Ridge.

For this very rewarding drop came from a vintage that winemaker Gwyn Olsen now somewhat casually shrugs off as "challenging," testifying what anyone who knows her will agree, that Gwyn has never been one to shy away from a challenge. "2015 was characterized by very dry conditions at the start of the growing season," she says. "Followed by those infuriating Hunter summer storms, prior to and leading into vintage, and making for some judicious picking decisions.

"But the juggling act in the vineyard paid off, resulting in low-cropping but fruit driven, precise and complex wines." And that includes that Dairy Hill Semillon with beautiful citrusy kaffir lime and lemongrass flavours so typical of Semillon from the Hunter's Mount View region

Little wonder it's a multi-trophy winner, and a wine to enjoy now or any time up to around the mid-2020's. At $35 it's a perfect match with all  seafood.

Monday 23 May 2016

Rymill 2013 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon

MADE to enjoy with a roast rib-eye
and good-old-style baked vegies.
ONE TO NOTE: WHEN they released their 2013 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, Rymill described it as "everything you would want to see in a Coonawarra Cabernet."

And according to winemaker Sandrine Gimon it was all because of a vintage she reckons "was one to get excited about," with weather conditions so ideal that all red varieties came up trumps in generosity of flavour, complexity and intensity, and with Cabernet yields slightly up on average across all the company's vineyards.

With its vibrant blackcurrant and blueberry fruit flavours and suggestions of dark chocolate, pay $32 and match with a roast rib-eye and good-old-style baked vegies.

Blass Noir Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2015

CHARDONNAY devotees will love
this one with hot smoked salmon and
blinis with chive crème fraiche.


David Ellis

WINEMAKERS can be a charismatic lot, and one whose charisma never fails to transfer through into his wines is Wolf Blass – born in Germany in 1934, coming to Australia in 1961, diving straight into work with several local wineries, and amazingly just five years later launching Wolf Blass Wines in 1966.

Forever ready to push winemaking boundaries, Wolf quickly made a name for himself, and fifty years on his successor winemakers at Wolf Blass Wines uphold his philosophy, including more recently launching a new label called Blass by Wolf Blass that includes a most-rewarding Blass Noir Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2015.

Crafted from fruit off low-yielding vineyards, it's also the result of a vintage that began with good winter rains, an unseasonably dry spring, and a summer and autumn highlighted by warm days, cool nights and without the Adelaide Hills' normally characteristic autumn rains.

And which has all come together as one of those charismatic Blass wines, a Chardonnay wonderfully rich and elegant with white peach and melon flavours, subtly integrated French oak, a beautifully creamy texture and a long and balanced finish.

Pay $35 and enjoy with hot smoked salmon with blinis and chive crème fraiche.

Monday 16 May 2016

Tim Adams 2010 Clare Valley Reserve Riesling

A CLARE VALLEY Riesling to think about with
fresh-shucked oysters now, or not again
until 2036 – and, yes, that is 20 years away.

ONE TO NOTE:  TIM ADAMS believes that Rieslings from the Clare Valley are most enjoyable when drunk young and zesty, or alternatively left until they've had five years or more in the bottle to develop almost-trademark complex toasty honey and bloom characters.

And while we're suggesting that a 2010 Clare Valley Reserve Riesling that Tim's just released is a wonderful drop to buy-now and enjoy-now, we're also right behind him when he says that here's one that's worth tucking away in ideal conditions to enjoy in anything up to 20 years down the track – yes, that's around mid-2036. But if that's too far away, pay $29 now and enjoy with fresh-shucked oysters or other seafoods.


Logan Weemala 2013 Merlot - NSW Central Ranges

A CLARE VALLEY Riesling to think about with
fresh-shucked oysters now, or not again
until 2036 – and, yes, that is 20 years away.


David Ellis

WE'VE long sung the praises of Merlot as a wine that goes so well with such a diversity of dining options, and one we had a few glasses of recently simply further furthered our love of this oh-so-enjoyable little drop.

Focus of that recent attention was a 2013 Weemala label from Logan Wines in NSW's Central Ranges, and made up of 60% fruit from the company's vineyards at Orange that gave it its juicy blueberry flavours, and the remaining 40% from Mudgee that added nice suggestions of boysenberry fruit to the glass.

Owner and senior winemaker, Peter Logan says he pruned developing fruit bunches early in the growing season to keep yields per vine low, being a firm believer that Merlot is one of those varietals that does not like being overcropped. "2013 was an ideal vintage in the Central Ranges for red wines generally," he says.

"Being sunny and marginally warmer than average with no excess rain, after what we'd had to do in the vineyards it resulted in full-flavoured fruit with ripe tannins – so that the wine essentially made itself out there in those vineyards."

With  those nice soft yet juicy blueberry and boysenberry characters, this is a lovely drop to enjoy with a quite diverse range of foods from roast pork loin, to even salmon or a lighter-style lamb-based shepherd's pie on a winter's night – and the more so with its $19.95 price tag.

16 May 2016

Monday 9 May 2016

2011 Margan Aged Release Semillon - Hunter Valley

MARVELLOUSLY rewarding drinking now,
and more so if you've the patience to put it
away in the cellar for another 10 or 20 years.

ONE TO NOTE:  THE Hunter Valley and the best of Semillon are synonymous, and a now-available 2011 Margan Aged Release Semillon off the company's Beltree Vineyard that was planted back in the 1930s by the Elliot family, is one that will have you coming back for more… and more.

Made from grapes off vines yielding less than a tonne to the acre, this is a wine of beautifully crisp citrus characters that finishes equally crisp and clean, and reflecting what top-notch Semillon is all about. And while making for marvellously enjoyable drinking now at five years of age, it'll reward even further with another ten to twenty years in the cellar (if you've the patience.)

Pay $50 and drool over this one's lovely aged characteristics with grilled fish or lobster, or again purely on its own.

D’Arenberg The Athazagoraphobic Cat, Sagrantino - McLaren Vale

A TONGUE-twisting out-of-the-ordinary drop
named after an out-of-the-ordinary moggy.


David Ellis

JUST as the ordinary winery moggy it was named after was anything than ordinary, here's a wine that when you pull the cork proves that it too is anything than ordinary.

And you may need to tear this page out to remember the name, unless you're pretty good with handling tricky words, because it's called The Athazagoraphobic Cat, the word meaning a fear of being forgotten. It was so-named in deference to moggy Audrey Hepburn (known generally as Ordinary) that forever trotted along in the winery at the heels of D'Arenberg's Chief Winemaker, Chester Osborn when he took over the job in McLaren Vale back in 1984.

Made from 95% Italian-origin Sagrantino and a 5% hint of French-origin Cinsault, the 2011 is a predominantly tannic drop but with suggestions of quite abundant flowery astringency, fruit flavours and some complexity from the Sagrantino, and with nice aromatics from the Cinsault that almost have one musing of a good Burgundy.

This unique ultra-premium $200 price-tag wine is available from the D'Arenberg Cellar Door in McLarenVale, or online at ;  you'll find it an ideal match with a Winter's braised lamb, pork roast or, as we did, purely on its own.

Monday 2 May 2016

Shaw's 2015 Estate Winemakers Selection Semillon Sauvignon Blanc - Canberra District

GREAT value result of little tricks that
keep down time and materials costs.

ONE TO NOTE: SHAW VINEYARD Estate's owner/winemaker Graeme Shaw reckons he's able to hold the price of his excellent Winemakers Selection range to a very reasonable $16 through what he calls "little tricks that keep down time and materials costs."

Whatever those tricks are, they certainly don't impact on the quality of this range, with a 2015 Estate Winemakers Selection Semillon Sauvignon Blanc a ripper white to enjoy with a whole range of seafoods or lighter-meat based dishes. Predominantly Semillon with just 10% Sauvignon Blanc, it's interesting that Graeme's Murrumbateman vineyards carry more Semillon than the rest of the whole of this area near Canberra combined.

One to truly enjoy with this easy $16 price-tag.

Rymill 2014 The Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon - Coonawarra

REWARD yourself with a bottle
of this easy-to-remember drop.

David Ellis

RYMILL Coonawarra's unusually-named The Dark Horse range takes its moniker from one of Judy Rymill's favourite nags, Adlai whose lively and colourful history included bucking a senior Victorian Police Commander off at a public parade, resulting in him being condemned to death and a horrible end in a knackery.

It was only Judy's intervention that saved Adlai – who with her care and understanding actually went on to be chosen in Australia's equestrian team at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

A Rymill 2014 The Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon that's just recently been released honours Adlai in appropriate form: it's a young, lively and memorable drop, offering buyers a wine that's all about juicy dark, and full-on blackcurrant, mulberry and dark cherry flavours, suggestions of chocolate and a hint of mint.

Maker, Sandrine Gimon likes to think of it as a "modern twist on Cabernet Sauvignon," and at $25 it's certainly value-buying and rewarding drinking now – we'd suggest with roast duck and cherry sauce – or for popping away in the cellar for around another five years of age and flavour development.