What a disappointment this lineup was. So many boring wines, with too many edging towards flavourless, acidic water territory. Obviously price plays an important part here, but that doesn’t excuse the boredom factor…
Ninth Island Tasmanian Pinot Grigio 2015
Grigio is so hard to get right. Water clear in colour, this has a clear and super fresh nose of pear and citrus. The palate, though, is tart and raw, the acid raspy and overly intrusive. Unbalanced and frustrating as it smells great. 15.5/20, 85/100. 13%, $22.50.
Artwine Prego Clare Valley Pinot Grigio 2015
Water clear, this is quite juicy and full for a Grigio with plenty of musky pear juice. Rather intense on the palate too; every bit the riper, richer Frulian style. Not bad at all, and succinctly varietal, if a bit chunky to be really refreshing, with acid that feels a bit hard too. 16.5/20, 88/100. 12.5%, $22.
Mud house The Home Block Waipara Pinot Gris 2014
Good packaging, nice price, not a bad wine. Nicely varietal pear aromatics over a tart, phenolic palate that has nice delicate flavours but just falls down a bit in the intensity, the phenolic finish lingering to bump up the points. 17.5/20, 91/100. 13.5%, $25.
Longview Kühl Adelaide Hills Gruner Veltliner 2015
Great packaging on this new Longview white. Once the vines get some age it should be a smart wine too. From vines planted in 2010 and three unique Austrian clones planted on own roots. Has some of the white pepper and celery of Gruner over a light, citrus and white peach palate. It lacks the varietal intensity and depth of flavour to convince yet, but signs are good for future releases. Just too simple for more points. 16.5/20, 88/100. 12.9%, $24.
Bimbadgen Hunter Valley Vermentino 2014
Still yet to taste many Australian Vermentino that convince (Sue Bell does one though). So far behind the Sardinians… Green straw coloured, this has a white pepper and cut grass nose. It’s otherwise all about acid, wieh a lemon citrus and grapefruit palate and shortish finish. Fresh, simple white wine, little else. 15.5/20, 85/100. 12.4%, $24.
Scarborough Hunter Valley Vermentino 2014
Peach and tropical fruity with a little sweaty passionfruit. Tropical! Really aromatic, the dry and quite heady palate is tropical, crunchy and phenolic. There’s a dash of Hunter Verdelho about this really, and provides some fruit juiciness if tart and raspy. Functional, but not quite the hedonist. Still more interesting than the Bimbadgen. 16/20, 87/100. 13%, $20.
Artwine Wicked Stepmother Clare Valley Fiano 2015
Young vines and it shows. Water clear, the nose is a little subdued, the lemony palate lacking much varietal character. Neutral white wine without much flavour. 15.8/20, 86/100. 12.5%, $22
Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes Marsanne 2015
It’s not the done thing, but I don’t enjoy Tahbilk Marsanne much as a young wine. It needs five years to come together for my tastes. Green straw coloured, this has a lemony and quite neutral nose over a lemon citrus. Slightly phenolic palate of simple fruits. It’s a light and refreshing simple wine but not much else. Time needed for this to become anything interesting. 16.5/20, 88/100. 12.5%, $18.86.
Artwine Vivacious Clare Valley Viognier 2014
Green straw coloured, the neutral nose here gives away little aside from a little peach skin fruit. Palate has almost no varietal character to speak of, save for a little faint peach whisper. Flavourless white wine. 15/20, 83/100. 12%, $22.
d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab McLaren Vale Viognier Marsanne 2014
RRP on this has come down quite a bit, and it’s now great value. Tropical and quite fat, there’s some welcome Viognier peach and red apple skin Roussanne character, with musk and then the round viscosity of ripe Viognier. This is so varietal and full for $15, if a bit blunt and fat. Great value drinking though. 16.5/20, 88/100. 13.2%. $15
Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes Roussanne Marsanne Viognier 2014
For a winery that can nail Marsanne and Roussanne seperately, there is no reason why this should be so overwhelming. Green straw, the nose is inviting if very lean with lemon, grapefruit and a little custard. It just tastes a little lean and hard, the lack of fruit richness or varietal character, just sharp, citrus acidity. Not enough joy for the moment, though it should look better in 12 months time. 16/20, 87/100+. 13%, $25.70.