It’s that time again – time to roundup a selection of wines that didn’t quite make it onto the site. Some because of time and space, others because they failed the grade, this January 2017 roundup is a biggun’.
Bremerton Selkirk Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2014
Lavish Langhorne Shiraz. It’s big, it’s vanilla-oak-rich, warm and just a little heavy, if smooth and alcoholic (did I mention that already), the oak filling in any holes, the alcohol warming, the acid biting. It’s an Aussie Shiraz archetype, and though I personally couldn’t drink much, this will win fans easily. 17/20, 90/100. 14.5%, $24. Would I buy it? No, but plenty would.
Pizzini King Valley Pinot Grigio 2016
Super delicate varietal style. Maybe a little green? Just on the border. Crisp and mouthwatering in its acidity. Lemon juice aplenty in a delicate style. Perhaps too green? A very easy drink and good value. 17/20, 90/100. 12.1%, $21. Would I buy it? I’d go a glass or so for sure.
Eldorado Road Perseverance Old Vine Victorian Shiraz 2014
Open fermented, matured in French oak and from a single old vineyard. though the region is not named (Glenrowan?). Eldorado Road is in the ‘name to watch’ bucket, even if this Shiraz didn’t do it for me. Framework is solid, even though it’s minty and shows some mixed ripeness, the fruit carrying a purple juiciness to it that is quite appealing, but the finish feels a bit scorched and drying. There is so much good here, but then it doesn’t quite convert. 16.8/20, 89/100. 14.3%, $60. Would I buy it? Not quite.
Even Keel Heathcote Sangiovese Rosé 2016
Savoury, drying, that interplay between red berry and leather. Lots of Sangio flavour! It’s a bit tangy and tannic, but the leafy chew bounces off the red candy fruit nicely. It’s a little green, but hey it’s rosé. Plenty drinkable on a warm day. 16.8/20, 89/100. 13%, $28. Would I buy it? I’d go a glass or three.
Even Keel Mornington Peninsula Pinot Gris 2016
Curious wine this. I wonder if it is just bound in sulphides? I looked over a few days and it struggled to get out of second gear, despite the obvious classiness underneath. Leesy, yet delicate nose with a light, apple pie and cream nose with a hint of funk, the palate serious and phenolic but seems to lack the fruit weight to pull things off despite a little warmth. It might well get better in bottle. 16.7/20, 89/100+. 13.2%, $29. Would I buy it? Not yet.
Hither & Yon McLaren Vale Shiraz Cabernet 2014
Warm hearted McLaren Vale red with bitumen and raspberry flavours, the bold and generous palate carrying just a smidgen dried fruit through the finish. Grunt and fruit generosity, but it’s just a bit too dry and boozy through the finish for greatness. Will improve with more bottle time. 16.8/20, 89/100+. 14.5%, $38. Would I buy it? Not quite.
Henschke Croft Lenswood Chardonnay 2015
Underwhelming. It smells high toned with ripe white peach fruit, but the palate has surprising breadth and warmth. The balance isn’t quite right here, with clumsy, sweet and sour flavours and a curious rough edge, even though length and flavour concentration is there. Another 12 months in bottle? 16.8/20, 89/100. 13.5%, $47. Would I buy it? A glass.
Mada Wines Canberra Syrah Nouveau 2016
Bright mauve coloured Shiraz meets Beaujolais. It smells wonderfully juicy with a cavalcade of purple fruit with some carbonic lolly fruit. Underneath it is much more serious than that, the fruit giving spiced raspberry jam, with some grippy tannins to finish. It’s not meant to be serious, more a fun early drink, but the fruit is clearly quality and packs some power. Good fun, but sort of stuck between light and juicy and then more grippy and serious. Fun intentions though. 16.8/20, 89/100. 13.5%, $30. Would I buy it? A glass or two.
Mada Wines Wamboin Canberra Pinot Gris 2016
From the Lambert Vineyards in Canberra. A portion is fermented in barrel. Light honeysuckle flavours but then defaults to phenolics. It’s a bit bland but has flavour richness, the pear flavours stuck between trying to be rich and full before then finishing hard and a little sour. Almost. 16.8/20, 89/100. 12.5%, $28. Would I buy it? A glass.
Marko’s Vineyard Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2016
The bright orange label is toned back this vintage, which is a good thing as it looked cheap IMO. This is a product of the old Hill Smith Sauvignon Blanc Vineyard and there’s some Shaw + Smith DNA here too. Handpicked and wild fermented, this is definitely ripe and juicy despite the low alcohol, though there’s none of the pyrazines of some Hills Sauv – just a vague suggestion of herbs. Underneath it’s juicy and generous – good to see real fruit, even if the finish is a bit grippy and over-firm. Plays a good enough hand, despite the sweet and sour finish. 16.8/20, 89/100. 12.5%. Would I buy it? A glass would do.
McWilliams Orange Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Super varietal Sauv. Obvious, fresh cut grass and citrus nose, the palate is fleshed out with fine texture before a tart finish. By the numbers Sauvignon Blanc, if with enough texture to take it beyond ordinary. Still harsh acidity though. 16.5/20, 88/100. 13%, $24. Would I buy it? No.
Mount Avoca Limited Release Pyrenees Lagrein 2015
Intrigued to see more Lagrein out in the wild, as Lagrein is tricky to get right even in its northern Italian home. There’s a juxtaposition here of red berry fruit, hint of sausage and then the Lagrein caramel. It’s a bit spicy and ferrous on the surprisingly warm finish, but there is clear life and drive here. Raspy tannins too. Not quite a charmer, but at least it’s varietal. 16.5/20, 88/100. 13.5%, $45.95. Would I buy it? Not quite.
Boree Lane Orange Cabernet Franc 2009
Cabernet Franc with a little Merlot. Mellow and soft hint of orange on the edges. Mulch, caramel and a light, leaf litter and caramel chew palate. Pleasant, spicy if quite advanced and mintyold school Orange Franc style, with a warm finish. A pleasant mature drink, if without much to bring you diving back in for more. 16.5/20, 88/100. 14.4%, $20. Would I buy it? I’d go a glass.
Longview Kühl Adelaide Hills Gruner Veltliner 2016
The only challenge here is that the young vine fruit lacks fruit weight. Super clear and vital style, with a hint of celery on the white pepper nose. Gently varietal. Palate starts tangy and spicy but falls away on the finish, that tang lingering but not much else. Pleasant but doesn’t set the world on fire – it lacks the depth for that. A better wine if picked later? 16.5/20, 88/100. 11.5%, $25. Would I buy it? A glass.
Mount Avoca Limited Release Pyrenees Nebbiolo 2015
So tricky to get Aussie Nebbiolo right. This looks rather red and rich for a Neb, the style very much about the Pyrenees rather than Neb, with red fruit, soil and just a suggestion of tar. Fruity and juicy, with plenty of coffee oak in the finish. Has reasonable Neb tannins, but a rather simple drink. 16.5/20, 88/100. 13.5%, $59.95. Would I buy it? No.
Mount Avoca Pyrenees Viognier 2015
Barrel fermented Viognier with extended time on lees. Orange and tangerine notes with viscous richness and a phenolic and slightly awkward finish. A good Condrieu play with richness and weight, but the lumpy palate – Viognier you bitch – fails to finish things off. 16.5/20, 88/100. 13%, $33.95. Would I buy it? A glass.
Nepenthe Ithaca Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2014
The top of the Nepenthe tree and surprised by how forward this was. Really caramel/nouguat oak richness really dominates, all toasted peaches with caramel vanillla sauce. Acid fixes up the finish but it’s a bit brassy and flat, despite the obvious length trying to maintain decorum. 16.5, 88/100. 13%, $35. Would I buy it? No.
Parish Hill Piccadilly Valley Amphora Nero d’Avola 2015
Parish Hill is a name to watch, even if this Nero doesn’t quite hit the highest notes. Light and juicy, the black jelly bean fruit is pleasant and fun, with some furry meatiness too, plus late bitterness. Has energy, but lacks power, a fraction underripe? Black jelly bean varietal palate shows promise, but needs more breadth. 16.5/20, 88/100. 13.5%, $35. Would I buy it? A glass.
Wirra Wirra Hiding Champion Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Ultra snappy and super fresh savvy style with a hint of celery and a slightly green and sour palate. Gives lots of faintly herbal, crunchy flavour but it’s also a bit sharp, the flavours (and acidity) almost abrasive. Does the job but feels like an attack. 16.5/20, 88/100. 13%, $24. Would I buy it? No.
Irvine Springhill Eden Valley Pinot Gris 2016
Forward pear juice in a broad and juicy package. Simple with plenty of pear fruit but not much else, and quite advanced. 16/20, 87/100. 13.6%, $22. Would I buy it? No.
View Road Wines Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2013
Golden yellow, the dark colour a hint to the oxidative style. Honey and cooked peach, the style forward, gentle and honeyed before a slightly warm finish. Prematurely aged, but has a pleasant golden creamy texture, before a short finish. Would have been a better wine a year ago. 15.5/20, 84/100. 13.5%, $37.
Tahbilk Cane Cut Goulburn Valley Marsanne 2012
Cane cut Marsanne. Stale smell – volatile and a bit forward, I thought this looked very flat and middling. Late sweetness the only saviour. 15/20, 83/100. 11%, $24.80. Would I buy it? No.