I'm a little slow in writing up these wines as I somehow managed to misplace the notes for them in the bowels of my iPhone. Smartphone notes 1 Andrew 0.
As for these new (or at least most recent) Best's releases there's no doubting their commercial appeal (even if I'm not wooed by all of the wines) which is a firm nod to the winemaking savvy of (now ex) Best's winemaker Adam Wadewitz. However it is a decidedly noncommercial red that is my pick of the wines, in particular a singular varietal that I'm intrigued with (in both still and sparkling form).
I'm talking about Pinot Meunier, a grape that I think believe Best's should make more noise about, particularly given both it's uniqueness and history with Best's. Forget Shiraz, Riesling et al. for in the context of Best's, Pinot Meunier is where it's at...
Best's Concongella Sparkling Cuvee 2005 (Great Western, Vic)
Largely reserved for the Thomson family though this also sees a limited release through the cellar door. Blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Clean dry and generous nose with plenty of bottle development. Generous palate with sherbety fruit and some bready lees driven richness. Off dry finish offsets slightly twingy acidity. Pleasant, if slightly broadish style, with plenty to like. Affable and well made. 16.8/89
Best's Riesling 2011 (Great Western, Vic) 11.5%
Again a move towards more sweetness in this wine, though the extra acidity in this 2011 iteration balances it out quite nicely. 10g/L residual sugar I believe.
That sweetness is obvious from first sip too, the wine limey and juicy with lemon sherbet residual sweetness and a real liveliness to proceedings. Generous, soft, off dry finish doesn't quite have the cut to deal with that residual sugar, but gee it makes for an attractive (well chilled) summer drink. 17.5/91
Best's Chardonnay 2010 (Great Western, Vic) 12.5%
Toasty, generous, slightly old school style this, with leesy, creamy, peachy/rice custard oak driven richness on both nose and palate. Soft and and expansive through the middle and then fresh to finish, this has has reasonable vitality though it's not pushing any boundaries. 16.5/88
Best's Pinot Noir 2010 (Great Western, Vic) 12.5%
Caramel, raspberry red fruit and mint. Raspberry red cherry palate. A tad warmish and flat on the finish. Note enough delicacy for mine. 15.8/86
Best's 'Young Vines' Pinot Meunier 2010 (Great Western, Vic) 12%
'Young Vines' in this instance refers to vines planted in 1971 (hardly young in the scheme of things) themselves drawn off cuttings from the original 1867 plantings. Style-wise this sits closer to cru Beaujolais than anything else, sharing Gamay's brightness and deft touch without losing that grip and loose-but-dry structure. A slightly ferrous note in there too only enhances proceedings.
Lovely vibrant cherry nose with some hints of cinnamon and white pepper. That cinnamon edge is really quite beguiling and unique. X-factor. Cherry red fruit palate is generous and Gamay like in it's roundness before finishing quite dry and savoury with a Pinot flick to the tail. Yes! All that is needed for this to vault into the superstar realm is a little more concentration. Big fan.
Bests Bin 1 Shiraz 2010 (Great Western, Vic) 14.5%
After the plushness of the 09 this returns to a much more classic persona (and is all the better for it). Carries the plum essence regional character nicely, if still looking a little sullen. There's even a hint of herbs in there too. The palate is a concentrated plum liqueur ball at present, the oak sitting on top of everything too, leaving just alcohol warmth to finish. Lots of latent power in this Shiraz! Grampians Shiraz fans can buy with confidence for this is a welll built. full bodied, modern Shiraz, if one in need of time. 17.7/92+
Bests Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Great Western, Vic) 13%
A lighter wine this year with signs of uneven ripeness - There's a certain blackberry fruit juiciness to the lightish palate but it becomes more angular and herbal before finishing with quite astringent tannins. There's length and more to come here, but not quite there for mine. 16/87
Bests Sparkling Shiraz 2009 (Great Western, Vic) 14.5%
Exactly as you'd want this style of sparkling Shiraz to be really. Big, chocolatey, brambly berry fruit with the dry and grainy Shiraz tannins offset by judicious dosage sweetness. It's surprisingly dry actually and dusty, that plum essence regional character working in the styles favour. A simple wine in the scheme of thing perhaps but in it's mode a pleasure vehicle indeed. Imagine this would be popular. 17.5/91
Bests Thomson Family Shiraz 2008 (Great Western, Vic) 14.4%
Drawn from the original 1867 plantings. 2008 was a heatwave vintage but the old vines coped particularly well. This very limited wine is already sold out I believe.
Minty, plum liqueur fruit echoes the Bin 1 style but deeper, richer and carries more limitless depth. Slightly roasted fruit elements are a little distracting but no questioning the joy of that intense purple fruit, the warmth of the vintage only serving to concentrate things (or at least that's the impression that I get). It's a sweetened
fruit entry to a dark black fruit palate, finishing with bitter tannins and a swish of spirituous warmth. A little sweet and sour perhaps but impressively concentrated. That slightly roasted fruit element is the only distraction.
Old vine Shiraz power the winner here, no question about it... 18.1/93+
2009/10 WCA Wine Journalism 'Young Gun; Wine Judge; Gourmet Traveller WINE and Breathe Hunter Valley magazine contributor; LattéLife & The Retiree columnist; National Liquor News tasting panellist and Chablis lover who fell into the liquor industry chiefly to buy cheap beer.
Nearing 15 years later and I'm still here, now finishing off a Masters of Wine Technology and Viticulture, and still spending all my money on beer and wine...
This site (Australian Wine Review or ozwinereview for short) is dedicated to talking about my obsession - everything vinous...