It’s that time again.
These wines haven’t quite made a full write up this month. Odds and ends…
Sunshine Creek Yarra Valley Cabernets 2013
No back label. Feel the mystery! Not quite in the same realm as the very smart 2012, but still there is depth here. Deep ruby with a little mahogany with red and back berries on the obviously ripe nose, the warm vintage removing some of the varietal character. Indeed this feels a bit jammy in the cooked plum sphere. Still, this is nothing if not substantial, the palate length signalling obvious quality, though the warm vintage appears to have sapped the varietal and regional character. It’s really long, which pulls the score up substantially. Best drinking: 2016-2027. 17/20, 90/100. 13%, $45. Would I buy it? A glass would do.
Vinea Marson Heathcote Nebbiolo 2010
Nebbiolo is tricky, no matter where you are. Light ruby with orange edges. Red brick, dried fig and a little treacle, the palate very advanced with a contrast between dried fruit, red earth and a little cherry, dusted with some oak sweetness and then more earth. Authentic Nebbiolo, if quite advanced and a little light on the tannin. Best drinking – 2016-2025+. 16.8/20, 89/100. 14%, $35. Would I buy it? No.
Hentley Farm The Old Legend Barossa Grenache 2015
A change in style for this wine, no longer chasing deep colour and ripe flavours. 40% of the blend spent 50 days on skins. A second parcel cold soaked for 5 days pre ferment and the last portion was fermented with some whole berries. 10 months in 10% new French oak. 400 dozen produced. Curious wine though. Light ruby coloured, it’s driven by caramel red fruit sweetness. Seems very sweet and candied. For such serious handling this seems shrill and syrupy, despite the obvious fruit concentration. Not bad, but not great enough for high points. Best drinking: 2016-2026. 16.5/20, 88/100. 14%, $62. Would I buy it? No.
Sunshine Creek Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2013
Blood red with ruby edges, this smells of cask and raspberry syrup, reticent at first but building in its rich expression. Slightly raisined red fruit and rhubarb on the palate, but some nice redcurrant juiciness too, before a warmish, jammy finish. Good concentration, but the warm vintage is writ large and robs this of delicacy. Best drinking: 2016-2020. 16.5/20, 88/100. 13.5%, $45. Would I buy it? No.
Howard Vineyard Clover Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris 2016
The Clover name here is a nod to the fact that Amos William Howard found subterranean clover at the original his property (where the Howard Vineyard lies) in the Adelaide Hills in 1889, which stamped the area as good farming land. This Gris comes from Block K on the Schoenthal Vineyard. Green translucent, the nose has a breath of pear and green melon fruit before a palate that is lean and can’t work out whether it wants to be a lean Grigio or fuller Gris, the finish just a bit sour. Fair. Best drinking: 2016-2018. 16/20, 87/100. 12.8%, $25. Would I buy it? No.
Bird On a Wire Yarra Valley Marsanne 2013
Golden straw yellow. Cool lemon honey and yellow peach before a viscous palate with milky solids, a lovely textural creamed apricot flavour that is almost Viognier esque. All looks good. The alcohol, however, is OTT and ruins the finish. Nice start, alcohol makes this barely drinkable. Best drinking: 2016-2017. 16/20, 87/100. 15%, $35. Would I buy it? No.
Longview Devils Elbow Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
18 months in barrel. Maroon red in colour, it’s good to see varietal mint on the nose, though the warm vintage has also delivered plenty of blackberry jam to match the vanilla oak. Palate is more generous than expected, all red and black berries. The distraction here is the finish, which is warm, raw and a little lifeless. Hard going end makes this less fun than it should. Best drinking: 2016-2024. 15.5/20, 86/100. 14%, $27. Would I buy it? No.
Photo by Craig Moe